Development of an autonomous in‐pipe robot for offshore pipeline maintenance

Zhongwei Wang (Research Institute of Robotics, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)
Qixin Cao (Institute of Welding Engineering, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)
Nan Luan (Institute of Welding Engineering, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)
Lei Zhang (Institute of Welding Engineering, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Publication date: 8 March 2010

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a novel autonomous in‐pipe robot to perform the preventive point reparation for long‐distance offshore oil pipelines.

Design/methodology/approach

The autonomous in‐pipe robot performs online ultrasonic inspection for pipe wall thickness, and the original inspection data are stored in large capacity hard disk. Through the offline data analysis by the data analysts and the software tool, the pipeline health status is known. If server defects lie there, the in‐pipe robot is introduced into the pipeline once more to indicate the defect's location to the maintenance ship.

Findings

The laboratory tests and the field tests prove the feasibility and validity of the developed autonomous in‐pipe robot. Furthermore, the application of intelligent control techniques ensures the mission completion by the autonomous in‐pipe robot, which worked in the awful pipeline environment.

Practical implications

The developed autonomous in‐pipe robot helps eliminate lost production costs and pipeline downtime caused by leakages and guarantees the safe run of offshore oil pipelines.

Originality/value

For the application of the autonomous in‐pipe robot, there are no special requirements for maintained pipelines themselves, so it is applicable to the point reparation for most long‐distance welded offshore pipelines.

Keywords

Citation

Wang, Z., Cao, Q., Luan, N. and Zhang, L. (2010), "Development of an autonomous in‐pipe robot for offshore pipeline maintenance", Industrial Robot, Vol. 37 No. 2, pp. 177-184. https://doi.org/10.1108/01439911011018957

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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