printer friendly version
Underwater inspection on 12 wheels
1st Quarter 2013, Pneumatic systems & components
Inspecting flooded pipes in power plants requires skilled, high-precision handling, and robotic vehicles play an important role. In robotics, manipulators enable physical interaction with the robot’s surroundings. The seawater manipulator is capable of manoeuvring underwater in pipes, where it can be used to perform inspections with the help of high-performance cameras.
The German company Ibass develops, manufactures and distributes manipulators for various in-pipe applications; these include inspection, grinding, welding, retrieval and suction. The manipulators consist of a driving unit, work module and camera. They are operated electrically and pneumatically and therefore drag along lines behind them. These small robotic vehicles are used in power plants and refineries, as well as by pipe manufacturers and assembly fitters of pipeline systems. “For example, we make perfectly executed welding seams possible during assembly,” explains Michael Strasser, managing director of Ibass. RE motors by maxon motor are responsible for the dynamic drive of the robots.
The seawater manipulator developed by Ibass can manoeuvre and inspect pipes with inner diameters of 550 to 780 mm. This pipe diameter range accommodates the axial stroke of the pneumatic cylinder and the deflection of the scissor-type mechanism.
The scissor drive works with a total of 12 wheels, two each per scissor side and drive motor. Their variable contact force gives the vehicle a firm hold, even in coated pipes. For the drive a total of six powerful RE motors are used in combination with planetary gearheads – one per wheel pair. The DC motors are characterised by an efficiency of more than 90%, resulting in low energy consumption and a very high torque. These are important prerequisites for this type of application. The motors furthermore are equipped with ironless windings and neodymium magnets, which enable maximum performance packed into a minimum size.
High motor robustness is vital as the manipulator has to withstand the on-site conditions. It can handle a pressure of up to 2 bar, so can dive up to 20 metres deep. It provides a tractive force of about 2,5 kN and the robot can drive a distance of up to 200 metres into the pipe. The manipulators are equipped with lights at the front and back. At the front, there is a high-quality camera with pan-tilt head and a 10x zoom; at the rear a single-head camera is mounted. From grinding and testing to inspection and retrieval, the seawater manipulator can be fitted with all Ibass work modules and can overcome up to five pipe bends with ease.
The robustness and long service life of the maxon motors were decisive criteria when Ibass chose maxon motors. Motors and gearheads by maxon are not only used to drive the seawater manipulator. The Ibass work modules are also equipped with maxon RE motors, for example for rotation and axial adjustment of the dye penetration units. During the dye penetration test, the inner pipe surface is checked for cracks by means of a special technique.
Other applications of the seawater manipulator include visual inspection of power plant coolant pipes that cannot be emptied. They are also used for applying inner coatings to pipelines, as sealed wheel units are absolutely mandatory for this application. These in-pipe manipulators are important tools, and contribute to safety and reliability in installations such as nuclear power plants and offshore wind parks.
For more information contact Hans Burri, DNH Tradeserve, +27 (0)11 468 2722, email@example.com, www.dnhtrade.co.za
- SMC is here to stay
Third Quarter 2019, SMC Corporation South Africa, Pneumatic systems & components
SMC has been making its presence known in the South African market since 2015. Motion Control’s editor paid a visit to incoming general manager, Peter Findlay, to find out more about the company’s progress.
- How the latest pneumatics can reduce plant costs
Third Quarter 2019, Parker Hannifin - Sales Company South Africa, Pneumatic systems & components
Growing demand for greater functionality and capability means that the latest pneumatic components are becoming increasingly complex. Plant engineers seeking cost-effective solutions need to know the ...
- Suction cup for sheet metal handling
Third Quarter 2019, Tectra Automation, Pneumatic systems & components
Tectra Automation has introduced the new SAX bell-shaped suction cup from Schmalz to its range of vacuum components. This is a single-piece suction cup with a vulcanised connection nipple made of reinforced ...
- Air-operated diaphragm pumps
Third Quarter 2019, Bearing Man Group T/A BMG, Pneumatic systems & components
BMG has been appointed by Ingersoll Rand as distributors of the ARO Pro series diaphragm pumps. ARO air-operated diaphragm pumps have been designed to pump virtually any type of liquid with ease – ranging ...
- Valve island for end of arm tooling
Third Quarter 2019, Metal Work Pneumatic South Africa, Pneumatic systems & components
The Metal Work EB80 BOXI Valve Island, now also available with IO-Link, is a suitable candidate for end of arm tooling (EOAT).This is an integral part of robotic technology. It refers to the equipment ...
- New docking system for space rendezvous
Third Quarter 2019, DNH Tradeserve, This Week's Editor's Pick, Electrical switching & drive systems & components
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working on a new system to enable easy docking between two spacecraft. maxon motor developed two special drive systems for this purpose. Even though it has been done ...
- Long-term equipment hire is a cost-saver
2nd Quarter 2019, Pneumatic systems & components
A factor in favour of long-term rentals is that the mine does not have to employ skilled people specifically to service and maintain compressors or generators.
- Refrigeration compressed air dryers
2nd Quarter 2019, Artic Driers International, Pneumatic systems & components
The R Class range of compressed air refrigeration dryers and RSXW chemical adsorption dryers have consistently low dew points, with an attractive entry price and a low cost of ownership once in operation.
- Ready for smart manufacturing
1st Quarter 2019, Metal Work Pneumatic South Africa, Pneumatic systems & components
Metal Work’s new EB80 is an electro-pneumatic system consisting of a solenoid valve assembly with fieldbus or multi-pin control, and modules to manage analog or digital input/output signals.
- How to select an air motor
1st Quarter 2019, Parker Hannifin - Sales Company South Africa, Pneumatic systems & components
To maximise the gains made available by leveraging the benefits of the simple design principle and the low number of moving parts, selecting the correct air motor for the application is paramount.
- Support for new space telescope
1st Quarter 2019, Tectra Automation, This Week's Editor's Pick, Pneumatic systems & components
Tectra Automation designed and supplied a purpose-built assembly tower to integrate and align the telescope lenses for a new space telescope, using the Bosch Rexroth range of heavy duty modular aluminium profiles and accessories.
- The first Mars helicopter will fly with maxon motors
1st Quarter 2019, DNH Tradeserve, This Week's Editor's Pick, Electrical switching & drive systems & components
The Mars helicopter technology will lay the way for many future scientific and exploratory missions to Mars.