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CROMSCI: development of a climbing robot with negative pressure adhesion for inspections

C. Hillenbrand (Robotics Research Lab, University of Kaiserslautern, Kaiserslautern, Germany)
D. Schmidt (Robotics Research Lab, University of Kaiserslautern, Kaiserslautern, Germany)
K. Berns (Robotics Research Lab, University of Kaiserslautern, Kaiserslautern, Germany)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 2 May 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The non‐destructive inspection of large concrete walls (e.g. dams, bridge pylons) with autonomous systems is still an unsolved problem. One of the main difficulties is to develop a very flexible platform, which is able to move and inspect horizontal and vertical surfaces safely, and which is fast and cost‐efficient. The purpose of this paper is to present a climbing robot designed with these attributes in mind.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents the Climbing RObot with Multiple Sucking Chambers for Inspection, which is designed for inspection of concrete walls. The propulsion system consists of three omnidirectional‐driven wheels for high maneuverability. The adhesion is performed by a vacuum system of seven controllable vacuum chambers and one large reservoir chamber. Pressure sensors and valves are integrated for controlling, which allows fast reaction on changing conditions.

Findings

The comparison of simulated results and a simple prototype indicates that the developed physical model is exact enough to estimate the efficiency of the proposed adhesion mechanism. The propulsion system has been tested extensively and allows high maneuverability on reasonably flat ground.

Originality/value

This paper introduces a climbing robot which will allow higher objectivity and reproducibility of inspections as well as safe working conditions for technicians. With such a machine one can check the building via remote control or semi‐autonomously.

Keywords

Citation

Hillenbrand, C., Schmidt, D. and Berns, K. (2008), "CROMSCI: development of a climbing robot with negative pressure adhesion for inspections", Industrial Robot, Vol. 35 No. 3, pp. 228-237. https://doi.org/10.1108/01439910810868552

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited