Home / VertiDrive Cuts Down Labor Costs And Safety Risks




Tank 32001 at SunocoLP’s fuel distribution terminal in Linden, New Jersey, stands as a critical component in the gasoline distribution network fueling New York City. Despite its unremarkable appearance, the tank’s role is essential, and its upkeep is paramount. When the tank was due for its API 653 inspection in early 2023, it was discovered that the interior lining was failing, necessitating a comprehensive refurbishment. The project required strong teamwork, innovative technology, and effective material selection to meet the owner’s tight deadline.

Scope of Work: Tackling Pitting and Corrosion

The refurbishment scope included decontaminating the substrate, abrasive blasting the interior floor and lower shell, and applying multiple coatings to ensure long-term protection.

Key tasks involved:
– Solvent cleaning per SSPC SP-1.
– Abrasive blasting with coal slag media to SSPC SP-10 standards.
– Applying Carboline’s Phenoline 311 as a holding primer.
– Using Phenoline Tank Shield FP to fill and seal pitted areas.
– Stripe coating weld seams, corners, and edges.
– Finishing with Phenoline Tank Shield.

Innovative Approach: Robotic Abrasive Blaster

To enhance safety and efficiency, the team considered using a robotic abrasive blaster. BlastOne International introduced the VertiDrive M2 remote blaster, which traveled across tank surfaces with a long extension arm holding the blasting head. This robot reduced manhours and minimized the need for direct human contact with the tank surface, significantly lowering safety risks.

Calvin Woodruff, General Manager of Water and Blasting Solutions, remarked on the robot’s efficiency:  “It’s not fast but it’s efficient. Current blasters would typically get fatigued and have to change out often. The VertiDrive M2 doesn’t get tired.”

Results: Safety and Cost-Effectiveness

The robotic blaster not only improved safety but also proved to be cost-effective. Calvin noted, “The biggest surprise was the cost-effectiveness. Not only did we cut down on labor costs but also on safety risks.” The job was completed with minimal interference to the refurbishment crew, demonstrating the potential of robotic systems in the industry.

Future Prospects: Embracing Automation

Brian McHale of Carboline emphasized the importance of safety in tank cleaning: “When we think of tank cleaning, we think of safety first. By reducing human exposure, we’re paving the way for a new standard in tank cleaning.” The success of this project highlights the potential of robotic blasters like the VertiDrive M2 in ensuring safe and efficient operations.

Looking ahead, innovations such as improved vision systems and AI integration are expected to enhance the performance of robotic systems further. Brian continued, “I foresee that the future is definitely going to be automation with robotic painting and blasting.”

Conclusion: A Job Well Done

Following the successful application of the lining system, Tank 32001 underwent routine inspections, DFT tests, holiday tests, and cure tests, with minimal touch-ups required. The project was completed in less than two months, earning praise and appreciation for its efficiency and safety.

The refurbishment of Tank 32001 not only met the high standards of SunocoLP but also received technical support and recognition from the Association for Materials Protection and Performance (AMPP). With its new lining expected to last two decades, Tank 32001 stands as a testament to the benefits of incorporating robotic technology in industrial maintenance, setting a new standard for safety and efficiency in the field.

Considering the VertiDrive for Your Projects?

Learn how the VertiDrive Abrasive Blast Robot can streamline your surface preparation projects.


Contact BlastOne

We love to talk to customers and help them make the best decisions when purchasing equipment.
You can reach us via our Live Chat, Email, Phone, and Online Form.

Add to quote:

Registration is required to create a Quote.

Click Here to Login or Register.

Add to existing quote:

Add to Quote

Add to a new quote:

Send the request

BlastOne says
Thank you for submitting your quote. A sales representative will follow up with you asap.
Share Quote via Email