Journal article Open Access

reconfigurable inspection robot for industrial applications

A. Pistone; C. Canali; C. Gloriani; S. Leggieri; P. Guardiani; D.G. Caldwell

Abstract The power generation industry, due to its importance in both general public and industrial applications, requires high standard of reliability. In the electrical power generation processes, the inspection and the adequate maintenance of the power generators are extremely important. Currently these inspection procedures are performed by dismounting the generators after a predetermined amount of operating hours. Due to the huge size and the complexity of such machines, these operations other than being time-consuming are sometimes source of mechanical and electrical damages. Furthermore, several analyses are carried on by use of manual instrumentation operated by expert workers. Consequently, a series of important tests and structural analyses other than being very expensive are highly subjective and could lack on repeatability and reliability. Moreover, not all the results of these analyses are logged or electronically stored. Following the current trend of automation under the Industry 4.0 framework, an automated robotic vehicle has been designed with the aim of addressing the above-mentioned issues. The main features of such robot are the small dimensions, a magnetic coupling that gives the possibility to move on ferromagnetic surfaces, a reliable mechanical assembly and a wide reconfigurability in terms of mechanical add-ons and plug-and-play sensors. The housed sensors could be optical or IR cameras, ultrasonic scanner, surface analyzer, eddy currents detectors and even more. The tests conducted so far in realistic environments show that the presented system can be used to perform standard and reproducible inspections of complex machines like power generators. Moreover, due to its reconfigurability this vehicle can easily extend its range of application and be used in the inspection of other machines and infrastructures such as windmill blade, cranes, bridges beams, vessels and similar.

Files (1.0 MB)
Name Size
1.0 MB Download
Views 18
Downloads 41
Data volume 41.4 MB
Unique views 17
Unique downloads 40


Cite as