The world’s first fully design-approved EX-rated robotic camera inspection device – Magneto-EX – was officially unveiled in Perth, Western Australia, yesterday.
The brainchild of Western Australia-based robotics firm Nexxis, the spider-like device with its magnetic feet is the first developed system suitable for use in hazardous area inspections, according to Nexxis.
Nexxis’ managing director, Jason De Silveira, says Magneto-EX is a game changer for any industry where there is a need for hazardous, confined space inspections.
“Whether it’s operating at heights, deep underground or in the presence of toxic chemicals, industrial worksites are dangerous places,” he said. “And confined spaces pose the biggest risk in terms of death or injury. Anything that can be done to keep humans out of these environments is a great step forward.
“Until now, robotic inspections haven’t been possible in confined and hazardous spaces due to the risk of ignition. But Magneto-EX changes all that. With its design approved, EX-certification, our prototype can work safely and reliably in the most extreme conditions, alleviating the risk to human operators.”
Working in conﬁned spaces is estimated to be 100-150 times more hazardous than operating on an open site. By their nature, confined spaces are not designed for people to work in with poor ventilation allowing for hazardous atmospheres to quickly develop.
“With its stable navigation and seamless movement, Magneto-EX can place its feet in small gaps and on narrow beams, adapting its body configuration to navigate complex geometry and through narrow apertures,” De Silveira says.
“We’re confident Magneto-EX will not only save lives but will also dramatically reduce downtime costs at an industry-wide level.”
Western Australia’s Minister for Innovation and ICT, the Hon Don Punch MLA, said the state government was a proud supporter of the Western Australia-based robotics firm.
“Nexxis’ Magneto-EX is a prime example of how the Western Australia’s robotics sector is thriving and competing globally,” Punch said.
“Innovation has an important role to play in growing and diversifying the state’s economy, and the Western Australian Government is committed to nurturing local innovators.”
Western Australia Chief Scientist Professor, Peter Klinken, added: “Nexxis is a prime example of how innovative and technological expertise can be found right here in Western Australia. It’s fantastic to have a world leading robotics company based in Western Australia and I look forward to seeing Magneto-EX make a real difference to safety levels in the resources sector and beyond.”
Magneto-EX has been developed with the financial assistance and industry support of NERA (National Energy Resources Australia) as well as CSIRO’s Data61 and SixDe.
NERA’s CEO, Miranda Taylor, said it had been exciting to help Nexxis on its journey.
“NERA’s support of Nexxis dates back to 2018 when they were a team of just eight, and it’s been wonderful to have been able to provide that early support to them as they have grown,” Taylor said. “We’re so excited about the Magneto-EX project which we think can both help cut costs but more importantly save lives.
“The next step is for Nexxis to partner with some early adopters in industry and trial and refine the device, all leading to a commercially available version sometime next year.
“Nexxis is helping to position Australia as a world-leader in automated robotic inspection research and manufacturing. They’re already exporting robotic parts to help with the clean-up at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Magneto-EX is a major step forward in safer inspections in the industry.”