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Development of a climbing robot for inspection of long weld lines

Jianzhong Shang (London South Bank University, London, UK)
Bryan Bridge (London South Bank University, London, UK)
Tariq Sattar (London South Bank University, London, UK)
Shyamal Mondal (London South Bank University, London, UK)
Alina Brenner (London South Bank University, London, UK)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 2 May 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The project Climbing Robot Cell for Fast and Flexible Manufacture of Large Scale Structures seeks to modernise and take into the future the technology of the manufacture of large fixed welded structures. It creates a transportable manufacturing cell consisting of a team of cooperating climbing robot work tools whose activities are coordinated and integrated through a central intelligence. The purpose of this paper is to present a wheeled robot, called NDT robot, designed for the real time inspection of long weld lines simultaneously with the welding process.

Design/methodology/approach

Neodymium permanent magnets are used for adhesion, which are capable of producing a maximum adhesion pressure of 4 × 104 Nm−2 at a 20 mm air gap. The strong neodymium magnets give the robot a high payload carrying capability. The arrangement of the magnet array increases its performance at large air gaps so that the robot has excellent capability to overcome obstacles, such as weld caps. The design of the wheeled robot with two sections jointed by a hinge joint has the advantage of high speed and good manoeuvrability, as well as working on curved surfaces and transferring between angled adjoining surfaces.

Findings

The NDT robot has been developed with the capability of climbing on steel walls carrying the specified payload and the ability to overcome the obstacles. The robot is also able to climb on curved surfaces with excellent manoeuvrability, and transfer between angled adjoining surfaces.

Originality/value

The arrangement of the magnet array enables the robot to retain a strong holding force at big air gap, so that the ability of the robot to overcome obstacles and work on curvatures is strengthened. The two‐section design improves the robot's performance on curvatures and enables it to transfer between angled adjoining surfaces.

Keywords

Citation

Shang, J., Bridge, B., Sattar, T., Mondal, S. and Brenner, A. (2008), "Development of a climbing robot for inspection of long weld lines", Industrial Robot, Vol. 35 No. 3, pp. 217-223. https://doi.org/10.1108/01439910810868534

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited