Autonomous Inspection and Maintenance (AIM) Crawler for Nondestructive Testing and Evaluation of Cu-Ni Piping System in Highly Corrosive Environments
In this paper, we describe the design, control and experimental validation of a new robotic pipe crawler for autonomous inspection of remote-to-access piping. The majority of current in-pipe inspection robots are primarily designed and suitable for large diameter pipes and unreliable for pipes less than 5 inches (12.70 cm) in diameter. The small size of the robot gives rise to problems with insufficient power, propulsion, structural integrity and difficulty of control, guidance and navigation. To address these
challenges, a modular design of the crawler with a hybrid, legged-peristaltic movement has been designed and developed with the capability of navigating, inspecting and carrying additional sensor payloads and mechanical equipment. The objective of this paper is to present the development of the crawler prototype and the results of experimental testing and validation. In addition, it will explain the sensor-less control systems used to grip variable pipe diameters and the development of a new mechanism to actively navigate through pipe branches. The innovative hybrid design of the modular robot offers a unique combination of payload carrying and coping with pipe diameter varying and capability of clearing obstacles that does not exist in current in-pipe inspection robots. These attributes are essential for small diameter yet complex piping configuration applications for example in nuclear submarine trim and drain systems and for identifying and localizing various pipe damage through conducting proper nondestructive testing techniques.
Fekrmandi, Hadi. “Autonomous Inspection and Maintenance (AIM) Crawler for Nondestructive Testing and Evaluation of Cu-Ni Piping System in Highly Corrosive Environments.” DOI Link
Page Author: Samuel Irwin, BS student Mechanical Engineering, SDSMT