Combining inspection expertise, technology and the principles of design thinking, we customised the PU12, a remote inspection tool for safer, cheaper and faster inspection of complex on-plot piping.

Applus+ PU12 remote inspection tool

Applus+ provides remote visual inspections and non-destructive testing as a safe, flexible and cost-effective alternative to conventional inspection methods. In an increasingly competitive sector, with growing challenges, we work together with our clients to create innovative solutions for real inspection problems. Our goals is to increase safety by using technology to significantly reduce the number of hours of working at height. We focus on remote inspection tools that improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness of an asset management program.

Our clients often come to us with challenging inspection problems. They always need solutions that make their assets safer while reducing costs. Often these are not commercial off -the-shelf inspection solutions. Besides inspection drones that have well known capabilities, remote inspection tools for different oil & gas assets are yet to be created.

For example, complex oil & gas plants have areas in which maze-like piping structures pose considerable inspection challenges. These areas are rarely accessible in person and often involve pitch-black warrens of piping and steel structures which implicates considerable safety risks for inspectors. Thus, our team employed a design thinking process and customised a new tool for the inspection of complex on-plot piping: the PU12.

The PU12, an inspection pole cam is tailored to inspect maze-like piping that is inaccessible or too complex for manned inspections. Besides its zooming capabilities, it is equipped with a powerful LED light for clear imagery in dark areas. It gives 95% accessibility, up to 12 m, while being considerably faster than conventional inspection methods. It significantly improves the inspection efficiency for on-plot piping.

Like all remote visual inspection services, the PU12 generates a vast amount of digital visual information. This is transformed into invaluable data that helps our clients to set their long-term maintenance (and sometimes production) strategies so as to maximise resources.

In April 2018, less than six months after its creation, the PU12 won the Commercial Success Award at Shell Pernis, one of the largest integrated refineries and chemical manufacturing site in Europe. The win was on foot of the PU12 being faster than conventional inspection methods, resulting in considerable cost savings to the client.

This was the second consecutive win for our team, which also won the Commercial Success Award in 2017, with the CU24 tool. The CU24 win was due to the team’s deep understanding of the client’s needs and working together with their team to solve inspection problems one step at a time, combining inspection expertise with up-to-the-minute technology and the principles of design thinking.

Design thinking is a creative approach to product development whereby products are designed from a clients’ needs perspective. At the heart of design thinking is an emphasis on the user experience, with users being involved from an early stage. Here, our team used design thinking in their strategy to create innovative remote visual inspections.

Once our team identifies a need for remote inspection solutions centered around the user, design thinking process is then applied to develop remote inspection tools that decrease costs and optimise compliance.

During the development phase, the team starts with an assessment of the client’s inspection problem, then generates ideas, one of which is tested and implemented. During the implementation phase, service procedures are designed according to the client’s asset requirements and inspection needs. Then they are approved and certified. Newly developed tools can also be adapted to other clients’ premises and inspection needs.

Applus+ PU12 remote inspection tool

The client is involved right from the beginning, receiving relevant information in real time during every stage of the process, from initial assessment to implementation.

Our mission as a leading inspection and testing company is to revolutionise our visual inspections by using automation to make operations faster, safer and more cost-effective. Our tailored remote inspection solutions increase the effectiveness of your integrity programme while minimising risk to health and safety and maximising resource use.