Miniature Magnetic Robots For In-Pipe Locomotion
Mills, George H
Liu, Jason H. W.
Kaddouh, Bilal Y.
Jackson, Andrew E.
Richardson, Robert C.
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Inspection of both small and large diameter bore pipelines for pipe integrity and defect identification with a single system has previously been impractical; especially using wall-press locomotion methods with low adaptive range. A miniature magnetic wallclimbing robot has been developed as a robotic solution for the inspection of 50mm bore diameter pipelines which can scale in-pipe geometry obstacles to access larger connected pipelines. Using magnetic arrays directed through steel flux plates within the wheels, the robot uses magnetic forces to adhere to the pipe. The system is 3D printed and includes soft printed material rubber wheels. The robot prototype is wirelessly driven, controlled remotely through serial Bluetooth communication radio at 2.4 GHz rated up to 100m. The robot’s unique compact geometry and magnetic design allows it to scale concave rightangle wall cases in just a 50mm diameter bore. By entering pipe networks through these small existing access points the robot removes the need for expensive drilling procedures required to fit launch vessels.