Wall Climbing Robot for Thin Surfaces

The robot described here was designed for inspecting gas tanks that are made out of thin metal sheets and are installed in huge ships. From time to time, they have to be analyzed for leaks, especially at the welds. For doing this, helium is injected n the surrounding structure from outside. A sensor that can detect this helium then is move to all places inside the tank to find the position of the leak. Until now, this sensor was carried by a balloon that was operated manually, using some ropes. As this method was very slow and imprecise, a better inspection system, preferably consisting of a climbing robot on magnetic wheels, had to be developed.

As the environment can not support much force, the main goal was to make this robot as light as possible. And other consideration is the surface also considered to be very fragile. To simplify the control and increase the reliability, another method was using only few actuators. To ensure a correct functionality, the most critical risks were analyzed. This analysis does not only incorporate the possibility of some components within the robot breaking down. It also account for the risks of plastically deforming the environment, falling or slipping.

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