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Designing arm length of a screw drive in-pipe robot for climbing vertically positioned bent pipes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 June 2014

Atsushi Kakogawa
Affiliation:
Department of Robotics, Ritsumeikan University, Eastwing Building 5F, 1-1-1 Noji-Higashi, Kusatsu, Shiga, Japan
Taiki Nishimura
Affiliation:
Department of Robotics, Ritsumeikan University, Eastwing Building 5F, 1-1-1 Noji-Higashi, Kusatsu, Shiga, Japan
Shugen Ma*
Affiliation:
Department of Robotics, Ritsumeikan University, Eastwing Building 5F, 1-1-1 Noji-Higashi, Kusatsu, Shiga, Japan School of Electrical Engineering & Automation, Tianjin University, China
*
*Corresponding author. E-mail: shugen@se.ritsumei.ac.jp

Summary

This paper presents a method for designing the arm lengths of a screw drive in-pipe robot with a pathway selection mechanism to pass through bent pipes. The robot comprises a front-rotating unit (rotator), middle-steering unit, and rear-supporting unit (stator). Each unit has elastic arms, which can be elongated by springs and can be pushed against the inner wall of the pipe. The robot can travel and steer not only in straight pipes but also in bent pipes and T-branches. When the robot passes through such pipes, its mobility depends on whether the arms can touch the inner wall because the robot will lose the driving force if one of the arms cannot reach the inner wall. This is especially important in vertically positioned pipes, where the robot will fall down if it is unable to reach. In this paper, we focus on the cross-section of the bent pipes, arm length, spring stiffness, and mass of the robot to clarify the mobility of the robot in these types of pipes. A method for determining the initial arm length on the basis of simple quasi-statics is proposed and experimental verification is conducted.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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