A newly developed new robot, tentatively titled Crawler Bot, has passed its first test of functionality. The robot’s task is to inspect the integrity of concrete structures.
Maria Guimaraes, Senior Project Manager (EPRI, USA), says the demonstration of the robot outside the laboratory was successful. Testing was conducted at a dam near Niagara, NY. The robot, passing along the concrete walls of the object, successfully examined the integrity of the structure and the structure as a whole..
According to the developers, there are many dangerous structures in the United States, such as nuclear reactors, that reach the age of design service. Many dams have already reached the end of their design life, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. Testing for structural integrity and damage levels is key to maintaining safety in these structures. The Search Bot is designed to take on some of the manual labor in checking such structures and automate such processes..
The Crawler Bot is a special version of the commercial robot developed by International Climbing Machines. The robot is equipped with a 110-volt device to hold the robot on a vertical surface. It’s powerful enough to carry 40 pounds of weight with it and even climb over nuts and bolts and damaged concrete. Maria Guimaraes says that she tried to unhook the working robot from the wall manually and could not, so tightly he holds himself.
The robot is equipped with special sensor sensors that detect damage. In the Niagara test, sensors were used to check delamination. In future tests, the team plans to equip the robot with other sensors to check the integrity of the reinforcement and the level of moisture in the wall. Once the desired sensor is selected, the bot follows a preprogrammed path, recording information about those areas where problems are found in the structure.
The project team hopes that the commercial version of the robot will be ready by 2016.