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Robotic test facility opens in the Netherlands

Unique testing facility accelerates progress of robotics for inspection and maintenance

Quasset Test Facility has opened in the Netherlands to facilitate the experimentation and validation of robotic solutions for inspection and maintenance.

The 600-square-meter testing facility offers a highly flexible and controlled environment, housing a range of decommissioned assets which serve to test crawling, flying and swimming robotic systems.

As an independent facility, QTF provides third-party assessments of technology for robotic and inspection systems. From start-ups to leading oil and gas companies, service providers have the opportunity to work in consultation with QTF’s specialist robotics staff.

QTF is an initiative of Quasset, a privately-owned Dutch company which provides modern asset management solutions for managing capital-intensive infrastructure.

Through the company’s own innovation initiatives and domain knowledge, Quasset is uniquely positioned to support the innovation process of robotics from concepts to solutions.

Quasset CTO Dr Timothy Black has been tapped to lead the new testing facility. Active in robotics for almost 20 years, Dr Black has extensive expertise in oil and gas innovation projects and has been a part of various joint industry and EU projects in the non-destructive testing and robotics fields.

Dr Black says: “Robotic and sensor technology are evolving at a very rapid rate. Quasset Test Facility offers a place to test in a safe setting which is close to a real-world industrial setting.

“This facility bridges the gap between the laboratory environment and the onsite industrial facilities and enables concepts to be validated against close to realistic situations.

“We design specialized tests and validation programs which tie into relevant business drivers, helping companies assess the readiness and potential application of the technology; an example is our validation programs for robotic inspection technology.

“We would be interested to hear from companies throughout the value chain, from technology start-ups to major oil and gas companies, to see how QTF can facilitate the progress of technology for the petrochemical industry.”

QTF is based in Huizen, which is conveniently located in the vicinity of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The facility features a seven- by four-meter water basin, suitable for testing swimming and submerged robotics systems.

On site are also a decommissioned pressure vessel, piping and elbows, and tank floor plates, which serve as a valuable source for real-world testing and experimenting.

The ceiling height of QTF is seven meters, providing ample space for testing indoor drones.

In addition to robotic testing and validation, service providers can utilize QTF for operator qualifications as well as testing workflows and operational processes.

QTF includes an elevated enclosed office, kitchen and conference space that faces the facility, ideal for full visibility during trials in a safe and controlled environment.

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