Smart Tooling project results shown and demonstrated

Launched in 2016, the Interreg Smart Tooling project in which Sirris was also involved, was recently finalised. The innovations which were developed to significantly increase the efficiency and safety of maintenance, inspection and industrial cleaning in the process industry were shown and demonstrated at the closing event in November 2020.

Within Smart Tooling, SMEs and service providers from the Belgium-Netherlands border region were brought together as partners to develop robot technology for maintenance and inspections in the process industry. The aim was to strengthen this industry by means of more cost-efficient and safer operations. Sirris was involved as one of the project partners and participated in the 'leak detection', 'augmented reality' and 'workplace robotics' themes, as part of the 'workplace' cluster.

All eight Smart Tooling work packages have produced concrete results, from working prototypes to innovative working methods. Smart Tooling gave asset owners an insight into new technology that will enable service companies to maintain their installations more efficiently in the future. SMEs and knowledge institutions managed to increase their knowledge and improve their market position by implementing the practical innovations. By drawing up competence profiles for the new developments, which can be fitted into new or existing educational pathways, all knowledge will remain permanently available.

Demonstration of developments

The closing event included a virtual demonstration of the applications developed in the Interreg Smart Tooling project:

  • Drones for confined spaces: an externally controlled drone can measure and inspect wall thicknesses with ultrasonic technology in areas inaccessible to humans.
  • Drones for outdoors: visual inspection of high installations with an industrial drone via a 3D path.
  • An inspection ball: to check pressure vessels and pipes for corrosion, even in extreme conditions, during operation, without downtime.
  • A 'snakebot': fully automatic inspection of horizontal and vertical pipes on the inside.
  • A cleaning robot: for the autonomous cleaning of tank walls, to replace high-pressure cleaning by people in these confined spaces.
  • Smart glasses: remote and hands-free support in the workplace find their way to the process industry.
  • A cobot: for repetitive, monotonous and sometimes dangerous jobs in the workshop, such as cleaning flanges by grinding down flange connections.
  • A test cobot: for the safe leak detection of installations under simulated process conditions.

Sirris cooperated on these last three developments. You can read more about the cooperation and the results in the following Techniline article (in French and Dutch).

You can also watch the video about the developments Sirris was involved in:

Project completed, support continues

The project may end in 2020, but Sirris will continue to support businesses. In recent years Sirris has built up a lot of expertise with cobotics and digital work instructions and is convinced that these elements have an added value for maintenance and inspection in the process industry. Are you a company in the process industry and do you have any questions about automation or digitisation on the shop floor? Contact us!

The Smart Tooling project was financed within the Interreg V programme Flanders-Netherlands, the cross-border cooperation programme with financial support from the European Regional Development Fund.