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Qlayers’ automated solutions for anti-corrosive coatings

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Picture of Molly Cooper

Molly Cooper

Journalist at Tank Storage Magazine.

Dutch robotic manufacturer, Qlayers has developed an innovative automated solution for applying anti-corrosive coatings on large-scale oils and gas and chemical storage tanks. Its robotic solution enables contractors to carry out tank coating projects with higher safety, efficiency, and precision.

Storage tanks’ durability and total lifecycle are often influenced by the degradation caused by the corrosion. Corrosion is the leading cause of the failure of aboveground storage tanks, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Storage tank corrosion damage

Most storage tanks are made from steel, an alloy susceptible to corrosion damage. Steel tanks are prone to rusting in the most vulnerable areas without the proper protection mechanisms in place. This can cause leakage and spills that contaminate the surroundings or the stored materials inside the tank, posing a significant threat to the environment and public health and safety.

To prevent these risks, EPA regulations require industrial tank owners to take the necessary corrosion prevention measures. This includes regular inspection and maintenance plans to detect the corrosion.

Storage tank corrosion-related issues

Corrosion-related issues can cause significant financial burden for asset owners as they often require major repairs and asset downtime. But, a coating failure can cost thousands more in asset downtime, repair or replacement, and a violation of environmental regulations for contamination in case of leakage. The current coating methods cannot guarantee consistency as well as the quality of coating layers.

The primary function of protective tank coatings is to create a barrier that prevents natural elements such as water and dirt from coming into contact with the metal substrate. However, improper coating application and inconsistent paint layers can cause the surface coating to fail, resulting in localised corrosion on the tank.

Qlayers’ 10Q robot

Qlayers’ 10Q robot is the industry’s first automated coating crawler to apply high-quality anti-corrosion coatings on storage tanks with high speed, precision and no contaminating overspray.

The 10Q robot consists of a magnetic crawler and a trailer. The crawler is equipped with a unique spray shielding system that allows coating in a consistent manner while preventing contaminating overspray from being released into the environment. The trailer is the smart link between the crawler and the operator. It includes the paint systems, a 2k pump and a control panel allowing the user to set painting parameters and monitor the process.

Qlayers’ spray shielding system allows a high-quality and efficient paint application, saving up to 20% of paint. Moreover, automating the process improves working conditions and reduces the need for access equipment such as scaffolding, saving costs and shortening asset downtime. The high coating speed of up to 200 m²/h is multiple times faster than manual rolling, allowing the completion of more projects with the same number of workers.

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