SPHERA Crawler

SPHERA (Sonomatic’s Portable, High-Resolution, Efficient, Remote-Controlled, Autonomous crawler.) is a Sonomatic RAIS developed, semi-autonomous weld inspection tool for the internal and external inspection of spheres and other carbon steel vessels.

SPHERA is the result of our creative and innovations team at Sonomatic RAIS. Our engineers, technicians and industry experts worked together to create a concept that paves the way for a safer, more effective and economical approach to inspecting inside confined spaces. Changing the way the data is collected, significantly increasing the quality and quantity of the data and ultimately reducing confined space entry, costs and the impact on our environment.

Key Features

A close-up look at the Sonomatic RAIS SPHERA Crawler
  • Data captured by SPHERA in an inspection program, phased array and TOFD inspection detects surface and subsurface breaking defects, including traverse cracking.
  • 16 element ACFM probe capable of scanning up to 90mm in a single scan, scanning for surface-breaking defects.
  • 3D profiler takes a detailed image showing height, depth and width of the defect initially identified by ACFM or phased array inspections.
  • High definition video and lighting systems – allowing us to accurately view the weld and surrounding areas.
  • All footage is captured, recorded and sent to the client for analysis.
  • Supported by the HALO – Safe fall system/rescue plan.

Health, Safety & Environment

Ensuring the reliability of inspections through a steadfast commitment to integrity, high-quality standards, and consistent result verification is paramount. Adhering to regulations and best practices is essential for instilling confidence in the inspection process. This approach not only significantly diminishes the inspection duration, resulting in

substantial savings by minimising production downtime, but it also limits human entry, thereby reducing health, safety, and environmental risks. As a result, the overall cost of inspection is lowered, and the environmental impact is reduced, reflecting a pioneering commitment to innovation in inspection practices.

An image of the Sonomatic RAIS SPHERA Crawler performing a surface inspection

SPHERA means there is no longer a requirement for a large number of operators to continually work inside a confined space. The health and safety benefits of using SPHERA include:

  • Provides a semi-automated inspection, once the calibration and set-up checks have been completed.
  • Various disciplines of people working together in a confined space are no longer required.
  • Working at height inside a confined space for prolonged periods of time is no longer required.
A zoomed-out image of the Sonomatic RAIS SPHERA Crawler performing a surface inspection, including the Halo system
  • Over-reaching and stretching when doing manual inspection methods such as MPI is no longer required.
  • Working with abrasive cleaning methods such as wire brushes is no longer required.
  • All technicians and the pilot are located externally, monitoring the inspection from a safe distance – where possible, inside our purpose-built vehicle equipped with monitoring and communication equipment.
  • Inside the sphere, The HALO is deployed to support SPHERA and the umbilical as the crawler maneuvers around the welds – if the crawler detaches, the HALO system immediately arrests the fall, bringing the crawler and umbilical to a controlled stop.
An image of multiple screens showing data taken from a robotic inspection
  • Sonomatic RAIS offers an option to add our patented laser to the crawler if there is a concern of rust or debris existing in the sphere.
  • Our carbon footprint is reduced because we only require a team of 3, whereby the existing system can have up to 12 + people inside the sphere at any one time.
  • Commuting efficiently - transportation is a major source of CO2 emissions and accidents. With the significant reduction in personnel required for the project, we reduce our emissions by using only one vehicle for the project.
  • We are working with our supply chain partners to identify products that are harmful to our environment and where possible, replace them with sustainable use products that are energy efficient and reusable to the maximum extent.
  • Replace any aggressive and damaging methods with alternative less impactful techniques, ideally, clean, green energy.

See the SPHERA in action

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