Dust Extraction System

Dust Extraction System

Manual Inspection of Overhead Dust Extraction System

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Project Overview

Situation

The GE risk mitigation team sought an alternative inspection method to replace the process of having employees on a scissor lift manually reach into ducts to inspect them

Objective

Reduce the time and risk of putting employees on lifts to examine ducting Inspect Dust Extraction System for dust and debris to plan for removal

Challenges

Current inspection process required employees to work at heights. Results were incomplete as access limitations meant employees couldn’t reach the entire lengths of duct work, or couldn’t access tight, small, spaces

Results

The Sarcos Guardian™ S inspection robot successfully navigated the Dust Extraction System 4K video and images captured in real-time allowed GE to experience the inspection as it happened Labor hours reduced from 448 to 24, 1½ week inspection completed in 1½ days Cumulative manufacturing downtime reduced from 8 to just 2 days

Team Seeks Safer Inspection Method

The company’s risk mitigation team was looking for options to potentially replace the manual inspection process of having two employees on a scissor lift to examine the Dust Extraction System ducts. Every 30-50 feet, employees would have to open hatches in the ducts and use a flashlight to inspect the current section. The lift had to be moved to the next hatch opening for each subsequent section. The process was lengthy and meant that employees had to be working at heights in potentially hazardous conditions. In addition, the inspection results lacked quality due to the manual process and the access limitations.

First Look

The Sarcos Guardian™ S robot was chosen to determine the levels of debris and potentially hazardous material in the overhead dust extraction systems, spanning almost 3,000 feet. The results of the inspection would be used in the plan for safe removal of the debris.

In addition, the company would also be able to determine if the Guardian S would be effective in increasing the quality of regularly scheduled inspections while reducing the need for employees to work on lifts.

High Quality Data

The Sarcos Guardian™ S robot was inserted into the long lengths of ducting through a single insertion point. Traveling through debris, dust, rough metal edges and exposed sheet metal screws, the robot was able to negotiate tight turns and move forward and backward for a comprehensive inspection of the ducts.

The team experienced the inspection in real time, as the Sarcos Guardian™ S robot captured high-quality 4K video and images, revealing unexpected volumes of potentially combustible dust and debris collecting at the duct seams due to the design of the ductwork. The findings prompted updated design criteria for future installations.

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Significant Labor Savings

More than 400 labor hours were saved by completing the inspection in 1½ days instead of 1½ weeks. This reduced the typical cumulative manufacturing downtime from 8 days to just 2.

The Sarcos Guardian™ S robot inspection gave the company additional insight into confined spaces that it was not able to fully access previously. The robot also proved its ability to perform quality inspections which will help the company mitigate future risk by reducing the time that employees worked at heights during inspections.

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