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New Possibilities – Next Generation Robotic Systems for Inspection and Maintenance Operations

New Possibilities – Next Generation Robotic Systems for Inspection and Maintenance Operations

Category
D3 Other publications
Abstract
This paper presents a selection of novel robotic systems with the potential of significantly improving environment, health, and safety (EHS) issues during inspection and maintenance (I&M) and fire fighting operations, in addition to offering new possibilities and increased quality and efficiency of such operations. The desired range of applications for the robots targets operations which are dirty, dull, distant and dangerous (4D). The robotic systems considered in this paper have been developed by the Norwegian research organization SINTEF. The paper gives an overview of concepts and implementations of these robotic systems and considers their possibilities, limitations, and benefits. In particular, four robotic systems will be presented, each with its targeted I&M application area. First, we present a concept and a prototype for a slim robotic arm custom designed to operate inside heat exchangers. The task of the arm is to inspect thousands of small pipes one by one in order to look for possible weaknesses and also to flush them clean. Today, this is a labour-intensive and repetitive operation performed manually. Second, a snake-like mobile robot energized by high-pressure water is presented. This robot is intended for fire-fighting in environments less accessible to human fire-fighters, and is currently the biggest and strongest mobile snake robot in the world. The robot is essentially a fire hose capable of moving by itself. This system is also very relevant for maintenance operations where cleaning with high-pressure water in confined areas is necessary. Third, a novel mechanism in the form of a highly-articulated wheeled mobile robot is presented for I&M in ventilation systems, sewer systems, and pipe-structures in industrial plants. The prototype presented in this paper is able to traverse horizontal and even vertical pipe-structures. Such a robot concept can be used for, e.g., moving around in ventilation systems while cleaning them thoroughly from the inside or inspecting them for cracks and corrosion. Finally, we present a robotic system for remote I&M of unmanned oil- and gas platforms located offshore. The system will allow onshore operators to monitor and control all processes on offshore platforms, thereby improving EHS and reducing investment and operating costs of the platforms. The presented robotic systems for inspection and maintenance operations have the potential of raising competitiveness of I&M companies while improving EHS and reducing manual work in 4D operations. To this end, this paper serves as an overview and discussion of the possibilities, limitations and advantages of these robotic systems.
Keywords
9023MC; robotics; inspection; maintenance; snake robot
Language
English
Year
2010
Published in
EUROMAINTENANCE 2010 : XX International Maintenance Conference, May 12-14, 2010 - Fiera di Verona - Italy : Conference proceedings
Place
Italy
Publisher
EuroMaintenance / EFNMS vzw / A.I.M.A.N.
ISBN
(Trykt utg)
Page(s)
229-232
Document link
Publication ID
SINTEF S15890