Eye-catching Dutch robotic innovation services for water infrastructure at Aquatech
Quasset, a Dutch company exhibiting at the Netherlands Pavilion at the Aquatech Amsterdam 2023 trade fair, has a robot walking around the Pavilion that immediately catches the visitors’ eye. Quasset developed a process for the robot to inspect water installations. It can smell, hear, take hi-res photos and has an infrared camera.
Quasset advises asset owners and operators of large infrastructure how to use robots for inspection and maintenance purposes, by testing, validating and embedding robotic solutions in their water installations.
The Netherlands Pavilion has several exhibitors specialised in asset management in the water sector. If you are attending Aquatech Amsterdam 2023, you can meet them in Hall 7, booth 07.328.
Following the introduction of robotic units in the energy sector, Quasset is launching its groundbreaking Robotic Innovation Services for the water sector. Robots are becoming increasingly advanced and useful in carrying out precise and repetitive tasks. For the water sector, continuous data collection on the condition of the infrastructure enables water services improvement and cost reduction. Unmanned aerial vehicles, and even drones, are already inspecting sewage systems and drinking water distribution networks on the inside. What is new, and on display at Aquatech Amsterdam, is a robot that can walk around the water infrastructure premises and detect changes in smell, noise and generates visuals.
European research project
Quasset collaborates closely, but independently, with asset owners and the leading robotics manufacturers to develop bespoke robotics solutions that cater to their specific inspection and maintenance needs. These tailored solutions leverage cutting-edge technology to increase productivity and safety. “Our company specialises in introducing innovations,” explains Niels Westendorp, Chief Business Development at Quasset. “We advise companies on how to innovate in asset management. We also started offering robotic services for the energy sector. We are introducing this innovative asset management tool to the water sector at Aquatech.”
According to Westendorp, the robots that are currently on the market are advanced enough to be used for various types of inspections. His company is involved in an EU research project on using robotics to digitally assess ageing infrastructure in the European oil and civil infrastructures.
The four legged robot at Aquatech is from ANYbotics and it uses off-the-shelf technology, Westendorp explains. “The robot is pre-programmed to move around a water facility for surveillance. We gained much experience from the inspection of energy facilities. It can replace people from hazardous environments, do dull routine work and collect better data. This data is compiled in a 3D point cloud, and we can visualise any changes observed in a dashboard. Experience in the energy sector proves that digitalised asset management can be a powerful tool in investment planning.”
Robotics is already being used in the water sector for sewer inspections. In the drinking water sector, the first floating robots to inspect the water pipes from the inside are being developed. One of the pioneering companies is the Dutch firm Acquaint. It designed a probe that can be routed through a distribution system and collect data on the status of the pipes. The data collected can be used for preventive maintenance. Acquaint showed its latest innovation at the Netherlands Pavilion: an inline inspection dashboard that visualises thickness degradation, ovality, angular rotation and pipe deformation.
Also in the Pavilion is the Dutch company HULO. It developed special sensors that can accurately measure flows and pressure changes in the distribution network. These changes indicate a possible failure or breakage. This reactive way of asset management can be used to prioritise pipe repairs and reduce the biggest leakages first.