Mechanisms for the Movement of Piping Inspection Robot with Magnetic Elements

T. Yukawa, H. Okano, and S. Komatsubara (Japan)


Magnetic wheel, Neodymium magnet, Electromagnet, Pipe inspection, Obstacles, Distance sensor


The present study examines a mechanism that allows a piping inspection robot [1] to move automatically along the outside of a pipe [2]-[5]. Robots designed to inspect the surface of piping have recently been realised by various enterprises. The UDP made by Kansai-X-rays Co., Ltd. is a piping inspection device that is currently in practical use [6]. This is a self-propelled inspection robot equipped with ultrasonic diagnostic equipment that can measure the thickness of a pipe in two dimensions. This method differs from the manual, one-point method used in the past, and has improved reliability in detecting local thin areas in a pipe. However, this device cannot be applied to pipes with flanges and valves, etc. It has been impossible for a robot to automatically inspect the surface of a piping system with any complexity due to obstacles such as flanges, valves, curves, etc. We have designed a mechanism that enables the robot to move to traverse flanges, and to rise along vertical flanges. Our robots move by means of magnetic elements (magnetic wheels or electromagnets) and are composed of three connected units.

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