NDT Inspection of Water Tank Using SKYRON

NDT Inspection of Water Tanks Using Intelligent Flying Robots

Water tank’s geometry makes UT inspection challenging

The Rotary Arm adjusts to match the tank’s angles

64 minutes

of flight time

Non-destructive testing (NDT) of water tanks is a challenging task, as conventional inspection methods, such as rope access or scaffolding, can be time-consuming, expensive, and risky. Water tanks are often large and complex structures with curved and angled surfaces, making it difficult for inspectors to access many areas. Additionally, conventional methods can be obstructive, causing disturbances and limited mobility, making it harder to get a complete view of the tank’s condition. SKYRON offers a more efficient, cost-effective, and safer alternative for this kind of inspection. 


Using an intelligent flying robot for NDT inspections of water tanks helps to access hard-to-reach areas, providing an unobstructed view of the entire structure for inspectors, significantly reducing the cost and risks associated with conventional inspection methods. Although challenges exist, careful planning and operation can overcome obstacles to ensure that the inspection process is successful, allowing for quicker detection of potential damage or corrosion using advanced sensors and providing real-time data for analysis. 

The unique shape of the water tank poses a challenge for the inspection by blocking the line of sight. However, using SKYRON for the inspection helps to overcome this challenge. The intelligent flying robot is equipped with an HD camera system that provides a near-zero latency HD video feed to inspectors, enabling operations beyond line of sight. The FPV view camera ensures a clear view of what’s ahead of SKYRON for precise and efficient inspections. 


Additionally, SKYRON’s strong wind handling capabilities aid in overcoming the challenge of high winds during flight, ensuring successful inspections. During a recent inspection, winds reached 30 km/h, yet SKYRON’s advanced technology facilitated a successful two-man operation, accurately inspecting the tank shell and legs while improving safety and time management. 

UT tank inspection drone UAV

The intelligent flying not only overcame the challenge of low visibility; also tackled another challenge by adjusting its Rotary Arm to match the different angles and complex geometry of the water tank during the inspection. Specifically, the Rotary Arm can be attached to flat, angled, or vertical surfaces by rotating its orientation to mimic the contour of the attachment point. After being attached to the surface, the intelligent flying robot applies couplant to ensure unobstructed measurements, then uses an integrated gauge to perform ultrasonic thickness (UT) measurements. The robot captures the data and transfers it through the Smart Tether System, which automatically generates a report containing thickness data and an overview of the inspection, including A scans. The results demonstrate SKYRON’s high efficiency and accuracy, with 50 UT readings taken in only 20 minutes of flight time. 


Implementing SKYRON’s advanced technology for inspecting water tanks represents an efficient and cost-effective solution for the unique challenges presented by the size and geometry of these assets. The success of this inspection highlights the potential of intelligent flying robots to be utilized in inspecting other assets, leading to a safer and more efficient inspection process.