Pipe networks provide an important infrastructure for the transport of liquids in industrial production. It is thus very crucial for the reliability andsafety of production plants to monitor the pipe system. In case of detectedleakages it would be advantageous to quickly repair the pipe system withoutmajor interruptions of the production. For this purpose a new generation ofmobile inspection and repair robots, based on advanced microsensor systems, is to be developed. Departing from an already existing repair robot product of thecompany Streicher Maschinenbau, this project will investigate innovativeimprovements to increase the robot's capabilities as well as the applicationareas. - by the use of micro-sensors to navigate and accurately position therobot for inspection and repair, as well as to monitor the actual status of therepair process, - by implementing a robust, but very flexible milling cutter toprepare the leakage area for the repair, - by adapting the robot for navigationand uninterrupted operations in curved pipes of small diameter beyond adistance of 100 m, - by pipe failure recognition, based on data base and expertsystem technics, - by remote access to the service station via modem link to a central station in order to provide technical assistance in robot operations byspecialists. As Streicher GmbH has its main emphasis on manufacturing, theparticipating SMEs have not an adequate R&D-infrastructure to perform thesenecessary development efforts and product innovations in-house. The envisagedimprovements would significantly increase the application spectrum of piperobots in industrial production environments and thus support the SMEs positionin the market. The available experiences of the partners in similar micro-robotprojects encourages the team to judge the challenging R&D-objectives of thisproject as realistic and achievable.
Funding SchemeEAW - Exploratory awards