Hands Free™ Refinery Tank Cleaning

Gator™ Tank Cleaning Case Study Header


Refining-Gator™ Tank Cleaning
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One of Veolia's refinery customers in Louisiana began the process of cleaning a 120 foot diameter closed top black oil storage tank only to discover that the integrity of the roof legs and supports was compromised. The poor condition of the internal structure of the tank prohibited manned entry. 

Veolia was challenged to implement an automated solution that would complete the tank cleaning process without manned entry to protect worker safety from being compromised. The tank still had a significant amount of sludge inside of it that could not be removed with a vacuum truck while workers remained outside of the tank. 


Veolia implemented their proprietary unmanned cleaning technology, the Gator™. The remotely-controlled Gator™ was able to make entry without anyone breaking the plane of the tank, removing all personnel from the line of fire and the tank's structural hazards. During the cleaning operation, one of the tank's support beams fell, which could have seriously injured workers if they had been in the tank. 

The Gator™ is fitted with a sophisticated 4th generation infrared camera technology. The lighting system and camera mounted on the Gator™ gives the operator the ability to see and record exactly what's going on inside the tank at all times. This allowed the Gator™ operator, working safely from a remote, air-conditioned trailer, to move the Gator™ and swivel its high pressure and high volume cannon to every area of the tank needing cleaning, maximizing the efficiency of the sludge cutting and removal operation. Most importantly, Veolia was able to operate the Gator™ throughout the operation with no manned entry into the tank. 


With the Gator™ technology, Veolia was able to complete the tank cleaning project when a previous contractor could not. The Gator™ successfully made entry into the tank and was able to power wash and move the remaining sludge to the peripheral suction points. 

The customer also saw tremendous value in the Gator's™ camera technology, which allowed them to monitor Veolia's cleaning progress. The camera system also provided a safe method for the company to assess the internal structural issues with the tank, which helped them plan for a future structural rehabilitation project. 

"Veolia's automated Gator™ technology kept employees out of harm's way while producing exceptional cleaning results that other contractors couldn't deliver."
-Chris Hutchison, Business Development Manager