Developing novel techniques to exploring unknown environments

Smarble Project

Pipe networks for both industry and utilities face a major replacement investment over the next decennium as many of these networks are reaching the age for which they here build. Without proper inspection techniques however, we may be replace perfectly good pipes and leaving bad ones as we simply do not know their state.

Industrial mixing tanks are heavily used in the process industry and are a major energy user in plants as larger masses have to be brought into motion. Optimizing this process could improve the quality of the mixing process and lower the energy usage.

Both cases would benefit from enhanced inspection methods and the floats from the Phoenix project are already making their way to these systems. Within Smarble we want to show that these inspections can benefit from more technologies from Phoenix. Phoenix floats are inserted in operational pipe and tanks and measure their own interal movement. After extraction, this data is analyzed and the results can be used for extracting information about both the process and the environment through which the motes move. The floats move have no propulsion or steering and thus essentially operate while the system is in normal operation.

In the Phoenix project two additional technologies have been developed, ultrasound measurement for both ranging between motes and to walls, and, based on the ultrasound measurements, and modelling of the environment. In Smarble we want to create and show the business case for bringing these technologies to market. Through two pilots and market analyses we want to assess the technology, its economic and societal potential.


The future of inspection

Twice a year the business line Environment organizes an inspirational afternoon for its clients and of course Smarble was present to show its technology. Complete with pipeloop we could to show to client how the future of the inspection of their underground infrastructure may work.

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