Square Robot: Designing Tough Robots that Go Where No Human Can

As one can imagine, in a business where corrosion or integrity flaws must be snuffed out very early, timing is incredibly important.

Square Robot needed to accelerate the development of its special robots used to inspect and repair autonomously; drastically reducing the human labor and costs associated with inspecting and maintaining the fuel storage tanks. It’s essentially a Wall-E for the inside of petroleum tanks! However, in order to successfully create an autonomous, solo piece of technology to explore the dark and dangerous crevices of these tanks, Square Robot leaned on various SOLIDWORKS Solutions.

Square Robot found it easier to communicate with one another about key strategic changes, design flaws and challenges, and much more via the cloud-based collaboration solution; 3D Component Designer. Square Robot worked with SOLIDWORKS CAD and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to use the data and lifestyle management solutions available to facilitate remote design and collaboration.

“With the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, we are well on our way to developing a fleet of robots that can inspect fuel storage tanks across the country and world – one tank at a time.” Said Charles O’Connell, a Senior Mechanical Engineer.

Because 3D Component Designer and SOLIDWORKS desktop software work together flawlessly, it enabled Square Robot to manage important documents and designs from within the desktop authoring application. Collaborating within a single program versus hemorrhaging from costly IT overhead gave engineers, managers, and key stakeholders flexibility, time, and accelerated development cycles to push their revamped product to market.

“The solutions enabled us to improve communication within and efficiency across the development team, eliminated the delays that were previously encountered, and helped us accelerate development,” O’Connell adds.

Leveraging the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to accelerate development and certification of its first robot in May 2019 was a huge milestone for the start-up.

Square Robot was then able to marker its first task of completion for in-service inspection of the interior of an aboveground, diesel storage tank for Phillips 66, a leader in aviation and one of the largest refiners in the United States. The company is also among one of the major contract jet and avgas fuel suppliers to private, commercial and military aviation.

On top of the remote capabilities of the robot, it captures high-clarity visual images of the tank interior and provides engineers with detailed insight into the tank’s sediment and coating levels and condition.

With SOLIDWORKS, Square Robot was able to advance and expedite manufacturing of its specialty robots, reduce errors via remote controllability, improve communications between internal teams, and develop a certified robotic system for inspection within the hazardous conditions C1D2 fuel-tanks inhabit.

To read more about how Square Robot tapped the power of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to bring its innovative line of specialty robots to market faster than ever, watch the video below or click here for the full case study.


Sara Ghattas

Sara is a passionate global and cultural communicator working as a Social Media Specialist for SOLIDWORKS. Her targeted experience surrounds international media, digital marketing, customer success and team management.