Robotic tank cleaning system and method

  • US 5,293,887 A
  • Filed: 03/09/1992
  • Issued: 03/15/1994
  • Est. Priority Date: 03/09/1992
  • Status: Expired due to Term
First Claim
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1. A robotic cleaning system for hydrocarbon storage tanks, comprising:

  • (a) a light-weight, collapsible frame having robot articulation means mounted thereon for moving said frame within said tank, said tank having a floor;

    (b) nozzled articulatable washing means mounted on said frame for spraying a petroleum-based solvent on a surface to be cleaned;

    (c) waste removal means removably connectable to said frame for removing waste material comprising hydrocarbon sludge and expended solvent from said tank and transferring said waste material to waste fractioning means;

    (d) hoisting means operatively mounted on said frame for picking up, transporting and dropping off said waste removal means within said tank;

    (e) hydraulic power means operatively connected with said robot articulation means, said waste removal means, and said articulatable washing means for articulating said frame and said washing means and for powering said waste removal means;

    (f) hydraulic control means operatively connected with said hydraulic power means for regulating the operation of said robot articulation means and said articulatable washing means;

    (g) solvent supply means operatively connected with said washing means for delivering said solvent to said washing means;

    (h) waste fractioning means operatively connected to said waste removal means and said solvent supply means for receiving said waste material from said waste removal means, allowing said hydrocarbon sludge to settle below said expended solvent, and delivering said expended solvent back to said solvent supply means; and

    (i) sludge return means operatively connected between said waste fractioning means and a refinery pipeline for returning said hydrocarbon sludge to said refinery for further refinement.

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