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Sky-Access: Synergy In Inspections

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Picture of Anamika Talwaria

Anamika Talwaria

Editor & Head of Content for Tank Storage Magazine & StocExpo and Chair of Women in Tanks.

Marin van Oorschot, technical director at Sky-Access explains how the right skills are key to tank maintenance challenges


Maintaining storage tanks in various industries is a significant yet essential event for any facility. Downtime, production losses, costs, risks, and the strain on operations and personnel can have a considerable impact. Recognising the importance of effective planning and teamwork can mitigate the impact of maintenance on operational efficiency and ensure a smoother and more successful outcome. Sky-Access is committed to providing tailored solutions that minimise disruptions and enhance the overall effectiveness of storage tank maintenance across diverse industries.

Sky-Access’ strength lies in deploying specialised teams with extensive experience and technical qualifications, using accessibility systems developed in-house, and collaborating with reliable specialised partners.


Unlocking Efficiency

In the realm of gas storage tanks, the need for internal inspection, wall thickness measurements, assessment of support legs hidden behind fireproof protection, coating restoration, and exterior fire protection maintenance is inevitable. Sky- Access provides the ability to combine the actioning of these tasks efficiently. By deploying multiskilled teams equipped with various techniques, including rope access, all these intricate operations can be seamlessly integrated, drastically reducing the overall turnaround time. This not only saves valuable facility time but also marks a significant impact on safety and costs.

The use of rope access and diverse skills minimises technicians’ exposure to heights and confined spaces compared to conventional methods. This results in reduced labour requirements and enables a quicker return to operation for the installation. The combination of tasks, facilitated by skilled teams and advanced methodologies, stands as a testament to the effect that strategic planning and comprehensive execution can have on storage tank maintenance.


The Importance Of Skilled Teams

In the realm of challenging inspections, relying solely on rope access techniques and clever accessibility solutions falls short. True success lies in the fusion of these methods with multiskilled teams, where every required specialty is not just accounted for but integrated. An example of this is when a team of two inspectors/technicians were examining the welds inside a gas sphere. Here, one inspector focuses on cleaning the welds, while the NDT inspector promptly follows up with magnetic testing. Upon detecting any anomalies, this same team can instantaneously, in accordance with predefined specifications, gouge out and re-weld the identified joint.

The pre-planning of these inspections are important as the inspectors must anticipate potential scenarios, ensuring that equipment, tools, and organisational aspects are covered in advance. This strategic combination of rope access and a diverse skill set within a cohesive team showcases the transformative power of synchronized planning and execution in industrial tasks. Sky-Access is dedicated to demonstrating that the future of efficient and effective operations lies in the seamless collaboration of advanced techniques and skilled personnel.


Are Drones & Robots The Future?

The relentless progress in the technical development of robots and drones for inspections and maintenance tasks signals a transformative era. An increasing array of tasks can now be performed without human intervention which is a commendable stride forward. While embracing this technological evolution, the team at Sky-Access remain believers in the profound value that well- trained technical professionals bring to the forefront. The ability to swiftly adapt and seamlessly switch between tasks while handling activities concurrently are where human capabilities will always shine. Striking a balance and making informed choices for the right solutions is paramount.

For example, a substantial external roof structure, fortified with fireproofing, underwent an initial visual inspection conducted by a drone. The subsequent report pinpointed locations where potential fireproofing damage was identified. These specific areas were then meticulously examined and repaired by rope access specialists. This strategic collaboration not only minimised the exposure of specialists to working at heights but also exemplified the efficiency derived from a targeted approach, as opposed to a climb-and-inspect methodology.

As the industry moves forward, the integration of robotics, drones, and human expertise emerges as a potent force in industrial operations. The balance and thoughtful combination of these elements stand as the linchpin for achieving optimal outcomes in a rapidly evolving landscape. At the core of Sky-Access’ mission is the commitment to assist its clients in overcoming technical challenges in a safer, more efficient, and cost-effective manner by combining expertise, cutting-edge accessibility solutions, and strategic partnerships.

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