Title: Basic characteristics of a novel in-pipe helical drive robot

Authors: Ren Tao; Liu Qingyou; Li Yujia; Chen Yonghua

Addresses: School of Mechatronic Engineering, Southwest Petroleum University, Chengdu, 610500, China ' State Key Laboratory of Oil and Gas Reservoir Geology and Exploitation, Southwest Petroleum University, Chengdu, 610500, China ' School of Mechatronic Engineering, Southwest Petroleum University, Chengdu, 610500, China ' Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong

Abstract: In recent years, long-distance pipeline grids are widely used in transporting the exploited and processed water, oil and gas resources. In order to deal with the frequent inspection and maintenance in pipelines, a new concept of novel in-pipe helical drive robot is proposed to adapt a diversity of pipe size and materials. And then, we design two prototypes, one with independent passive wheels and another with pulleys synchronised by a timing belt. The obstacle negotiating capability and the tractive force of two kinds of helical drive in-pipe robot has been analysed as well. We carry out the experiments of overcoming an obstacle and measuring the tractive force in a transparent plexiglass pipe. The experimental results showed that the obstacle negotiating capability of the belt type robot is better than the wheel type robot. Furthermore, the belt robot can get more stable performance and bigger tractive force than the wheel robot, which will play an important role in pipelines' inspection field.

Keywords: in-pipe robots; helical drive robots; timing belt; obstacle negotiation; tractive force; obstacle avoidance; pipeline grids; pipelines; pipeline inspection; pipeline maintenance; pipe materials; pipe size; passive wheels; wheeled robots; robotic inspection.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMA.2014.062340

International Journal of Mechatronics and Automation, 2014 Vol.4 No.2, pp.127 - 136

Received: 28 Sep 2013
Accepted: 13 Jan 2014

Published online: 17 Jun 2014 *

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