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Semester Thesis

Magnetic wheeled climbing robot


passing corners and sharp edges
Lorenzo Bagutti

Wolfgang Fischer
Adviser

Prof. Dr. Roland Y. Siegwart


Autonomous System Lab (ASL)
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH)

2009-05

Contents

Contents
1 Abstract

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2 Introduction
2.1 Motivation and Business-case . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.2 Specification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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3 State of the Art


3.1 Wheels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.2 Magnetic wheeled vehicle with 2x2 wheels
3.3 MagneBike . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3.4 Wheel inside the wheel (Kawaguchi 1994)
3.5 Limitations of current robots . . . . . . . .

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5 Fundamental parameters and decision


5.1 Morphological box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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6 Dimensioning
6.1 Wheel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6.2 Motor Torque and Friciton Coefficient . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6.3 Belt gears . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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7 Detailed Design
7.1 Structure, wheel
7.2 Bearings . . . .
7.3 Axes . . . . . .
7.4 Final Model . .

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4 Basic Idea
4.1 Wheel parallel to wheel (WpW) . . . . . . .
4.2 Double-Tail-Structure (DTS) . . . . . . . . .
4.3 First proof of concept . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.4 Compatibility to MagneBike (Goal Project)

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parallel to wheel and lifter arm


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Contents

ii

Implemanetation and Testing


8.1 Implementation . . . . . . . .
8.2 Wheel unit: final assembly . .
8.3 Testing . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8.4 Further Improvement . . . . .

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9 Conclusion and Outlook

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References
A Appendix
A.1 Motor . . . . . . . .
A.2 Planetary Gearhead .
A.3 Belts and gears . . .
A.4 Ball bearing . . . .

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B Appendix
B.1 List of components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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C Appendix
C.1 WpW gear calculation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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1 Abstract

iii

Abstract

The Autonomous System Lab (ASL) in collaboration with Alstom company have
successfully developed different concepts in the field of inspection robots. They
especially made progress in the concept of magnetic wheeled robots and the main
aim is to reduce the complexity and maintain a low number of DOF. With this
thesis new concepts are been applied and developed to solve the drawbacks of
the previous version of the MagneBike. The prototype is able to pass corners
and sharp edges with only 5 DOF and is compatible with the old design.

2 Introduction

Introduction

2.1

Motivation and Business-case

Nowadays, there are going on a lot of studies in the field of robotic for inspection. One of many environments where the robots are used is pipe inspection for
instance steam chest plants. In this sector the maintenance and inspection are a
main issue. In fact, this helps to guarantee high standards of safety and performance. The conventional inspection methods require to disassembling complex,
large and heavy parts and not always all the spots are easily reachable. Moreover
all the operations need days or even weeks to be executed, this means high cost
for the company and gas turbine power plant is unusable. After these considerations it is obvious that a company has huge interest in a better and faster
inspection procedure. Inspection robots help to guarantee this aim. They can be
placed in specific points to detect defects and also locally repaired,at least the
part with an error must be disassembled.

2.2

Specification

The aim of this thesis is to develop a new wheel unit for the MagneBike [9]
which is used for inspection of steam chests. In the new wheel unit the doubletail-concept for passing sharp edges and the wheel-parallel-to-wheel(Wpw)
for passing corners have been integrated (see chapter 4). The environment is
generally metallic and has complex structure with narrow sections, high abrupt
diameter changes and inclined elements(see Fig.1). Here follows a list of the
specific requirements copied from [9]:
1. The wide range of inner diameters encountered. The diameter varies from
200mm (this defines the maximum robot space envelope) up to 700mm.
2. The local abrupt inner diameter changes, up to 50mm on Fig.1. These can
be seen as 90 convex or concave edge obstacles.
3. The complex arrangement and sequence of these obstacles such as triple
step or gap.
4. The environment is composed of horizontal pipe elements, as well as vertical

2.2 Specification

elements. Generally any inclination can be encountered (see the gravity


vector orientation): climbing ability is then required.
5. The locomotion system has to be able to maneuver in narrow locations
and to be able to travel on circumferential paths, which can also have any
orientation regarding gravity.

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Figure 1: 3D CAD model of a typical environment [9]
,
A magnetic wheeled robot is suitable for the inspection of the above environment.
However, corrosion, abrasion and lubrication produce dirt, which reduces the
magnetic force and friction coefficient of the wheels on the surface. The new
wheel unit needs to carry more payload, have a better obstacle-passing capability,
higher speed and lower cost.
A miniaturized prototype corresponding to the above mentioned requirements
has already been developed (see Fig. 6 (b)). It integrates two unit of wheelparallel-to-wheel and an extra motorized arm.

3 State of the Art

State of the Art

In a ferromagnetic environment, inspection robots with permanent magnetic


wheels are the principle choice. They do not need an external power source and
they can stay in place. A system with these characteristics has the advantage of
being simple to control and having a low number of DOFs.
This chapter introduces the state of the art in the inspection with magnetic
wheeled robots.

3.1

Wheels

Magnetic wheels allow to drive the unit in different places in despite of the gravity
force. This is the reason why they are widely used on metallic surface.
As described in [5], the magnetic wheels consist of a NdFeB ring magnet, magnetised in axial direction and two steel discs attached to each side. (Fig.2). The
permanent magnet is never in contact with the surface, only the steel discs touch
the ground.
This configuration guarantees a magnetic flux through the discs, providing a
contact force which hold the robot on the metallic surface.
The magnets and disc chosen for this work, reach magnetic forces of approximately 125N . However, the magnetic force is reduced significantly when the
wheel is tilted. According to [11], the force is reduced to 75% at 5 , to 55% at
10 and even 45% at a tilling angle of 15 . This results are important to keep
in mind especially when the robot unit drives on curved surface, where a full
contact with it cannot be guaranteed.
The friction between the wheel and surface plays also an important role in the
movement of the robot. To apply the necessary traction, the friction coefficient
must be higher enough, in fact for a steel on steel contact, the coefficient is
maximal 0.3. This is the reason why an extra thin rubber film is added to the
wheel, which result in an improvement of = 0.6. However, the rubber film
reduces the magnetic force of the wheel. Therefore, the layer must not be thicker
than 0.1mm to limit the force reduction to 20%.

3.2 Magnetic wheeled vehicle with 2x2 wheels

,
Figure 2: Magnetic wheel structure: permanent magnet disc (blue), ferromagnetic discs (red) and magnetic flow (arrow) [8]
,

3.2

Magnetic wheeled vehicle with 2x2 wheels

The previous configuration of the MagneBike robot, as the name suggests,looks


like a motorbike, where 2 wheels are aligned. This set up has the advantage to be
independent on the pipe diameter, but it has the main drawback to be laterally
unstable on inclined and vertical surface as explained in [9]. There is another
approach with two units and in each one will be mounted two wheels, to have a
final structure similar to a car (as shown in 3).
It guarantees a better stabilization on the laterally instability of the MagneBike.
However, the main problem is that the magnetic wheels are not in perfect contact
with the surface, especially in the pipe case. As explained in the previous section
3.1, if the wheel is not perfect perpendicular to the surface the magnetic force
will decrease, which possibly results in losing its contact. There is the possibility
to implement a complex passive mechanism with virtual center of rotation on the
wheel-to-surface contact point (Fig.3 a). This solution allows a maximal magnetic
adhesion, but the system requirs too much space and moreover it is complex and
heavy.

3.3

MagneBike

ASL group is looking for new opportunities and concepts in the investigation of
internal metallic pipe. They presented the MagneBike in [10] which is composed
by two identical wheel units with one powered wheel and one rotatory lifter and
a stabilization arm each. The result is a system with 5DOF in an configuration

3.4 Wheel inside the wheel (Kawaguchi 1994)

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Figure 3: 2 to 4 wheels arrangements: matrix of top view regarding side and
front views [9]
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like a bike. The Magnetbike has the ability to pass sharp concave corners and
convex edges. However, its complexity and requirement on control is still higher
than for a tripod configuration.

3.4

Wheel inside the wheel (Kawaguchi 1994)

Kawaguchi proposed another solution for internal pipe inspection robot [6] using
a different concept of magnetic wheel. The solution suggested is a wheel inside
the wheel. The wheel unit is formed from a magnet axle, outer tires and magnetic
inner wheel as shown in Fig.4 (a). This dual magnetic wheel allows the robot
to travel over bumps which are lower than half the diameter of the outer wheel
as shown in Fig.4 (b). Moreover, the following concept helps to get rid of the
magnetic force more easily that a magnetic wheel. This is because the inner wheel
can climb inside the locked outer tire in Fig.4 (b). Wheel inside wheel has also
less problem with the rust. In fact, it is easily removed by wheel rotation when
the outer tire moves away from the magnet. The main problem of this system is
when the robot climb a wall and needs to pass a corner. In this case there is the

3.5 Limitations of current robots

risk to fall down.

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(a)

(b)

Figure 4: (a) Magnetic Wheel Concept, (b) Magnetic Wheels Climb a Sharp
Obstacle [[6]].
,

3.5

Limitations of current robots

The Magnebike in [9] has satisfied the major requirements for an inspection of
steam chest environment. However, a few problems are still not solved:
1. low playload, robustness, mobility
2. difficulty and complexity of the control
3. very low security margin when passing edges, especially sharp edges.

3.5 Limitations of current robots

With this thesis we try to overcome these difficulties applying on MagneBike new
concepts which are already tried in a miniaturized prototype with great results.

4 Basic Idea

Basic Idea

Within this chapter we discuss additional requirements that have been tested in
the previous prototype.

4.1

Wheel parallel to wheel (WpW)

The objective of the WpW is passively rolling through corners without using
an additional DOF, and it must have a lower complexity but (almost) similar
mobility.
The WpW is made of a magnetic wheel (see also 3.1), a bigger disc, in which an
axle is attached to the magnetic wheel, can roll in a axial guiding element. The
advantage of wheel inside to wheel (see chapter 3.4) is that the magnetic wheel is
in direct contact with the surface and it does not need to be enclosed in another
wheel.
As explained in chapter 3.4 the main issue for using such configuration is to help
the robot to detach the wheels when it handles a corner. Then bigger magnetic
force is generated (Fig.5).

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Figure 5: WpW configuration and sequence when passing a corner [2]
,

4.2 Double-Tail-Structure (DTS)

4.2

Double-Tail-Structure (DTS)

The old MagneBike lost the contact with the surface when it was passing sharp
edge. The fall of the entire robot and damages at the unit were the consequence.
An idea to help the robot to overcome this case is adding an active lifter arm
or tail. The tail moves in the direction of the surface and fixes the robot before
moving through a sharp edge. When the robot lose the front unit , the arm
still keeps attached the rear unit and moreover the robot can continue driving
regardless of the front unit. When it reaches the edge the front unit falls on the
top surface. Now the robot is safely attached and the lifter arm can be removed
from the wall. Fig.[?] (b) shows the sequence when the robot is passing a sharp
edge.

4.3

First proof of concept

The ASL group has already implemented the previous described requirements in
a prototype 6 (a). The following results are reported from [2]:
1. Field tests with the MagneBike + support of its industrialization.The problems that will be solved with the new design cannot be neglected: No robust
solution for lifter force control found yet; limited payload; slow speed.
2. Successful demonstration of edge-passing-sequence with a conceptual prototype (50% size) .
3. Field tests with the MagneBike show that speed and payload are limited.
4. The functionality of passive corner-passing principles is also proven (WpW).

4.4

Compatibility to MagneBike (Goal Project)

The aim of the project is to develop a new prototype of the old MagneBike where
the previous ideas are integrated. These specifications must be compatible with
the old model or a least with only little change in the structure.

4.4 Compatibility to MagneBike (Goal Project)

10

,
(a)

(b)

Figure 6: (a) Double-tail-structure (DTS) , (b) sequence when passing a sharp


edge. [2]
,

5 Fundamental parameters and decision

11

Fundamental parameters and decision

This chapter treats important decisions that have been made during the analyse
phase of the project.

5.1

Morphological box

Before we start with the creation of a 3D CAD model and afterwards a prototype,
an analysis of the functions and core variation parameters in the design have
been searched and evaluated. After this first analysis we have detected four main
functions:
1. Drive wheel: how the robot must be driven and where the motor/motors
must be placed.
2. Drive arm: where the motor to lift the arm must be placed and how.
3. Cogwheel/ gear belt: which of those solution is better for the new concept.
4. Wheel position: Where the wheels must be placed.
These functions have been summarized in a morphological box and for each function a few solutions have been proposed, as shown in Tab.1.
Drive Wheel
Drive Arm

1 Motor + Differential gear + Servo


Structure

2 Motors
Arm

Cogwheel/Gear belt

Wheels Position

Table 1: Morphological box


After analysing the various combinations, we decided to integrate the following
functions. The prototype will have each wheel motorized. The variant with the

5.1 Morphological box

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differential gear has been rejected, due to the complexity of the system as shown
in Fig.7 and also the higher space necessity of the system. The gears have played
a big role in the decision of the design of the new robot. We chose the belt gears
cause of their simplicity in assemblage, cost, installation space and also for the
weight. To save more space the motor for the arm will be included in the own
structure and also in this case belt gears will been utilized. The position of the
wheels was another important issue. We opted for a solution where the wheels
are inside of the structure because a better stability of the configuration but also
a better use of the space will be reached.
Servo

Belt
gears

Differential
gears

WpW

Arm

Figure 7: Complexity of the differential gear solution

5.1.1

Wheel parallel to wheel

In addition to the previous configuration, a wheel parallel to wheel should be


integrated in the final prototype . The system has been described in the chapter
4.1. In the previous section 5.1, we take the decision to place the wheel inside
the structure, due to limited space the wheel parallel to wheel system must have
a narrow size. The bigger limitation is given from the height of the structure,
where we have 50.26mm high, as shown in Fig.12. Respect to the old model, we
have a variation of h = 4.81mm.
5.1.2

Extra arm

The arm must help to pass edge safely and to bring back the wheels after they
have lost contact passing an edge. The critical issue of the arm, is the structure,

5.1 Morphological box

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as according to the previous section 5.1, where a motor must be placed in it. We
considered some solutions but at the end we decided to produce something less
complicate. Since the decision to use belts for the traction, we have a limitation
on the design of the arm. In fact we can have a straight structure, a bounded
solution will be better to pass the edge but this kind of configuration is not
possible with the use of belt. To overcome this drawback, we put an extra wheel
at the end of the arm with the possibility to change its angle.

6 Dimensioning

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Dimensioning

In this chapter there are some dimensioning issues reported. It is important to


consider that for the following project one of the goal is to have a similar structure
like the old version but, also to integrate new functions.

6.1

Wheel

This section will explain the characteristics of the magnetic wheel and the choice
that have been taken. In order to have an optimal magnetic flow through the
wheel, it must be easily to center. This guarantees a better attach force between
the surface and the wheel. The new concept counts two magnetic wheels for
wheel unit, this means, according to the old design (see table 5), a force of 125N
per wheel instead of 250N and the diameter of wheel stays the same as in the old
concept. Due to the budget limitation, old magnetic disc and wheel rim in steel
have been used.The following table 2 are summarized the material composition
and size of the magnetic wheel. Two cases of wheel rim have been considered, one
of these as an optimized structure as a result of an asymmetric wheel as shown
in Fig.8 (a), whereas the second concept is symmetric (Fig.8 (b)).
Material
Magnet
NdFeB
wheel
Symmetric St32
wheel rim
Asymmetric St32
wheel rim
Wheel
tire/tape

weight [g]
74

ext. diameter [mm]


55

int. diameter [mm]


20

thickness
[mm]
3

60

60

39.4

64

60

20

0.1

Table 2: Composition, material and size of the magnetic wheel


An experiment was carried out to determine if the following configuration of
the magnetic wheel can generate the necessary force of 125N . The experiment
consisted to place the magnetic wheel over a metallic surface and calculating
with a dynamometer the necessary force to detach the wheel form it. The test
was repeated and each time an extra layer of tape has been added. Table 3

6.2 Motor Torque and Friciton Coefficient

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(a)

(b)

Figure 8: (a) Asymmetric magnetic wheel, (b) Symmetric magnetic wheel.


,
and 4 summarize the results of the above described test (either asymmetric or
symmetric wheel). In conclusion, the results satisfied the requirements of the
model.
Force [kg]

0 tape layer
13

1 tape layer
12-13

2 tape layers
10

3 tape layers
10

Table 3: Symmetric wheel test

Force [kg]

0 tape layer
11

1 tape layer
10

2 tape layers
7

3 tape layers
5

Table 4: Asymmetric wheel test

6.2
6.2.1

Motor Torque and Friciton Coefficient


Model

We use the old concept characteristics as explained in [9] for the calculation of
our model: Tab.5 summarises the characteristics of the old unit.
We also assume that the mass of the new model will be around 5kg and the new
concept of the unit wheel has two wheels instead of one. This means that the
magnetic force generated by the old wheel must be divided in two. This means

6.2 Motor Torque and Friciton Coefficient


Size:
Height of the center of mass:
Wheel Distance:
Wheel Diameter:
Mass:
Mass repartition:

LW H
zCM
LW
2r
m

Max. magnetic wheel force:


Wheel torque:
Lifter torque:
Steering torque:
Operating voltage:
Power( @ max.speed):
Communication:
Maximum speed:
Steering rotation speed:
Control mode:

Fmag
Tw cont/int
Tl int
Tsteer cont/int

vrobot max
ws

16
180 130 220mm3
65mm
120mm
60mm
3.5kg
Wheels: 23%, actuators: 18%, gears: 17%,
Structure, housing, electtronic: 42%
250N (NdFeB magnets)
2.1N m (cont.), 6.7N m (int.)
7.7N m (int.)
2.33N m (cont.), 4.1N m (int.)
24V (actuators), 5V (electronic)
4.6W (hor.), 6.7W (vert.)
RS232 @ 1150 200baud
2.7m/min
33 /s
Remote control with on board motor controllers

Table 5: Old robot characteristics [[9]]


that our new wheel must have a force of around Fmag = 125N . An experiment
has been carried out to determine if the design of the new wheel reaches the
required force. (see also 6.1).
Mass:
m
Max. magnetic wheel force: Fmag

5kg
125N (NdFeB magnets)

Table 6: Assumption robot characteristics

6.2.2

MATLAB calculation

According to the previous characteristics shown in Tab.5, Tab.6 and using a


MATLAB file developed by ASL [3], the necessary torque to drive the robot
has been calculated. Before describing the model that has been developed in
the MATLAB file, an excursus over the magnetic wheel and forces applied on it
would be made. As it can be seen in Fig.9, the normal force (FN = FR + Fmag )
is the sum of magnetic force (Fmag ) and reaction force (FR ). Fig.9 (B) shows
the case where the FR is negative, the wheel is still attached to the ground and
is able to provide traction. The limit case is reached, when the reaction force

6.2 Motor Torque and Friciton Coefficient

17

is stronger than the magnetic (Fig9 (C)). When a wheel is in contact with two
surfaces, as shown in Fig.9 (D), two cases can be observed. To estimate if the
robot is able to move , we consider the following two factors: 1) The actuator
torque (T = r FT ) has to be big enough to provide the necessary force to move
the robot (FT ). 2) The friction coefficient min = FT /FN has to be below the
maximal obtained value of .

,
Figure 9: Forces and torque on a magnetic wheel [3]
,
The MATLAB file considers a model based on a vehicle with two wheel pairs
passing a concave corner. The two worst cases occur when one wheel is in contact with two surfaces.To get rid of the unwanted magnetic force the vehicle needs
a huge traction force. In Fig.10the used equation for the two cases is shown. The
first the robot approaches a wall and in the second case it leaves the corner. The
model uses 4 equations, three for the force- and moment-equilibriums and the 4th
one for the torque distribution between the front and back wheels. These equations are reunited into a matrix equation and solved in MATLAB. The model
takes the variable into account , which describes the position of the robot respect to the gravity vector and an axis that passes through the gravity middle
point. Fig.11 reports the four basic positions with the respective value.

Tot. magnetic force per two wheels [N]


Gravity force [N]
Length between wheels [m]
Wheel radius [m]
Height of the center of mass [m]

250
5 9.81
120 103
30 103
30 103

Table 7: Initial values for the MATLAB model

6.2 Motor Torque and Friciton Coefficient

,
Figure 10: 2D-model of a magnetic wheeled vehicle in concave corners [3]
,

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Figure 11: Different positions of the robot
,

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6.3 Belt gears

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The results obtained from the model are the following:


Case 1: approach the wall
The maximal torque occurs when the robot approaches the wall horizontal ( = 270 ) with a value of T = 5490.5[mN m] per wheels pair
(Twheel = 2745, 25[mN m] per wheel).
The worst case for friction coefficient occurs when the robot comes
down from the wall ( = 0 ), = 0.54 over the first wheel.
Case2: leave the wall
The maximal torque occurs when the robot leaves the wall and climbs
in the direction of the roof ( = 180 ), T = 4485.8[mN m] per wheels
pair (Twheel = 2242, 9[mN m] per wheel).
The worst case for friction coefficient occurs in the same case of the
torque ( = 180 ), = 0.93 over the second wheel.
In addition at these case, the necessary torque to make wheels slip has been
calculated: Twheel = 125N 30mm 0.8 = 3000[mN m]. To find the this result
the force is multiplied with the radius of the wheel and the friction coefficient.
After the following consideration the motor can be evaluated and we decided to
use the motor from an old prototype [4] in order to save money. Maxon motor
A Max 22 (22mm,Graphite Brushes, 6 Watt) and the planetary gearhead GP
22C (22mm, 0.5 2.0N m, Ceramic Version), see also Appendix A.1 and A.2,
must support the previous critical torques. As reported in the Appendix A.2 the
stall torque generate from the motor is equal to 6751, 269[mN m] and is strong
enough to support the critical force.

6.3

Belt gears

The belts and gears have been calculated with Mulco company tool 1 . The tool
needs the following parameters to choose the right belts length and width:
Art of gearing: The teeth of the belt must support more or less force. For
the following unit the teeth should be smaller and also the belt should be
as thiner as possible.
1

Mulco website: http://www.mulco.net/

6.3 Belt gears

20

Position of the gears:due to our structure, the position of the gears is conditioned from it. Moreover, we choose to add a tension gear for tending the
belt better. In the structure we have a fix position of the motor. We decide to increase of 4.81mm (see Fig.12)the length of the old MagneBikes
structure in order to fit the belt better.
Number of teeth: We took different numbers of teeth per gear. The bigger
gear (32 teeth) would be on the axis of the wheel. This choice will help the
robot while climbing or in case of big torsion. However, this will be a disadvantage regarding the velocity of the robot when it drives in a horizontal
plane. On the motor axis we have a 18 teeth gear, whereas for spanning
the belt we use an extra wheel with 25 teeth. This results in a reduction
i = 32/18 and it results in a torque Twheel = f rac2.7 3218 = 4.8[N m].
Revolutions per minute: The Motor Amax-22 does around 8000rpm. The
planetary gear has got a reduction of 561 : 1, so the revolution pro minute
is 15rpm.
Torsion: the maximal continuous torque is around 2N m.
Torsion on extra wheel 0N m
However the company offers only a limited size of the belt length, so the program
help in choice of the position of the gears. In conclusion, we opted for a AT3
GenIII belt; this type of belt is characterized by the larger tooth shear strength
resulting from the larger tooth volume and the stronger tension members.

7 Detailed Design

21

Detailed Design

7.1
7.1.1

Structure, wheel parallel to wheel and lifter arm


Structure

The structure remain almost the same as the old MagneBike, only the length
has been extended to fit the present belt size of 201mm (other length available
2
: 150, 201, 252, etc). A 3rd structure in the middle has been included to place
the ball bearings of the wheel axes. As shown in Fig.12 the bottom part of the
structure has been cut to facilitate the assembly of the the wheels shafts.

,
Figure 12: Structure of the wheel unit
,

7.1.2

Wheel parallel to wheel

In the developing of the WpW a new system to drive the outer wheel has been
taken into account. As explained in chapter 4.1, the outer wheel rolls in a disc
with a smaller diameter. In the new development, the outer wheel is equipped
2

http://www.mulco.net/

7.1 Structure, wheel parallel to wheel and lifter arm

22

with an additional gear. When the unit drives trough a corner the outer wheel is
in direct contact with the wall and the floor, the gear helps the magnetic wheel
to roll in an easier manner. The other surface is an additional help to support
the radial force.

,
Figure 13: 1) Gear teeth, 2) inner and outer disc surfaces, 3) outer wheel, 4)
magnetic wheel, 5) protection disc and 6)inner disc
,
The parameters for the calculation of the gears are reported in the appendix C.
7.1.3

Arm

The lifter arm/tail structure is composed of two parallel arms which include place
for the ball bearings at their bottom part. Like in the main structure, we have
cut the arms to facilitate the assembly for all the unit.
The motor is inserted in an aluminum tube and fixed on it. In the tube a cut
is done to help when the lock ring is applied to close better around the motor.
The extremities of the tube-motor structure are fixed with the arms. The small
wheel is placed in the middle of the tube-motor structure and it can be arranged
in different angles. When the unit loses the contact with the surface because of a

7.2 Bearings

23

sharp edge, the arm needs to help to keep the robot attached and with this small
wheel it is able to continue. Two ball bearings in a O-configuration are enclosed
with the following specification Di = 4, Do = 8andb = 3.

Figure 14: Arm Structure

7.2

1
2
3
4
5

Arms structure
Small wheel structure
Tube-motor lock ring
Motor MAXON A-max 22
Tube,int = 22, ext = 25,
Al Mg Si 0.5

Bearings

The wheels are the critical point for the bearings, especially in the situation where
the unit detaches from the surface. In this situation a force of 250N is generated.
Another requirement is their size and therefore we are searching something which
is as small as possible. The ball bearings need to carry the radial force more than
the axial. When the wheel unit is detached to a horizontal plane, the force is
radial distributed over four ball bearings. In another case, where the robot is
attached to a vertical surface, the gravity force is axial applied over two bearings
(Fig.15).
SKF 618/6 ball bearings have been used to calculate the structural safety factor
fs . After the calculation, see also appendix A.4 fs = 5.5 is obtained but for save
money we decide to buy the bearing from Conrad 3 . However, the company does
not give the specification for this bearings. We assume that they will satisfy the
fs because the bearings are similar to the considered ones.
3

http://www.conrad.ch

7.3 Axes

24
,

Figure 15: The two cases where the force have an effect on ball bearings
,

7.3
7.3.1

Axes
Arm and wheels motor

The wheel motor axis consists of a motor and a synchronising pulley for the
transmission of the motor torque. The pulley is in AlCuMgPb and fixed on the
shaft of the motor with a hex key. Whereas the arm motor axis includes the
motor and a pulley without any teeth, therefore a wire will be connected to move
the arm and the pulley is glued on the motor axis.

,
Figure 16: 1) MAXON motor A-max22, 2)Synchronising pulley 18 teeth for AT3
GENIII belt (similar composition for arm motor but with a pulley without any
teeth).
,

7.3 Axes

7.3.2

25

Wheels

Thee wheel axes are set in the structure and they lean on ball bearings. All parts
of this axis, excluding the ball bearings, are realized with 3D prototyping. All the
acetal resin parts are fixed with an adhesive bond. The wheels are mounted onto
the axes and through them, the torque is transmitted to the surface to propel
the vehicle.

Figure 17: Wheel axis with WpW

7.3.3

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

Pulley, z = 32 for AT3 GENIII belt


Distance bush
Protection disc
Magnetic wheel, Fm 125N
Intern disc and axis
Ball bearings, Conrad 6x12x4
Shaft,6mm X 10 Cr Ni S 18 9 1.4305 grinding h8
Rims
Rubber

Tension gear

Figure 18: Tension gear axis

1
2
3
4
5

Structure
Shaft,4mm X 10 Cr Ni S 18 9 1.4305 grinding h8
Distance bush
Pulley, z = 25 for AT3 GENIII belt
Ball bearings, Conrad 4x8x3

7.3 Axes

26

The tension gear has the function to tighten the belt. Long holes are included in
the structure to have the possibility to tend the belt more easily. The bearings
are placed in a O-configuration. The structure, pulley and distance rings are
made with stereolithography process.
7.3.4

Arm

The arms axes are fixed on the structure with an adhesive bond. After analysing
our arms structure, we opted for a two fixed bearings. In fact, the structure would
tend to bend and the arm will lose its position. The parts are 3D printed and
bonded with glue.

Figure 19: Arm shafts

1 Structure
2 Shaft,6mm X 10 Cr Ni S
18 9 1.4305 grinding h8
3 Distance bush
Conrad
4 Ball bearings,
6x12x4
5 Pulley without teeth
6 Closing disc

7.4 Final Model

7.4

27

Final Model

In this section different views of the wheel unit and final robots are shown.
7.4.1

Wheel unit

,
Figure 20: Wheel unit: side-view
,

7.4 Final Model

28

,
Figure 21: Wheel unit: front-view
,

,
Figure 22: Wheel unit: top-view
,

7.4 Final Model

29

1
2
3
4
Figure 23: Wheel unit: section

5
6

7.4.2

Wheel parallel to wheel


Pulley, z = 32 for AT3 GENIII
belt
Arm structure
Pulley, z = 25 for spanning the
AT3 GENIII belt
Pulley, z = 18 for AT3 GENIII
belt
Pulley for the wire

Final robots

Some 3D-CAD images of the final robot.

,
Figure 24: Final robot
,

7.4 Final Model

,
Figure 25: Final robot: possible rotation of the front wheel unit
,

30

8 Implemanetation and Testing

31

Implemanetation and Testing

In the previous chapter, we designed the prototype of the new wheel unit. In this
chapter, the implementation and testing are discussed.

8.1

Implementation

For the implementation of the previous concepts and structures, available norm
parts were used but also stereolithography printed parts were made. Sterolithography or also 3D-printing is an excellent solution to produce parts in a short time.
However, the quality of the components can not be compared to metal pieces,
but it is still a reasonable choice for prototyping.
A list of components can be found in appendix B.

8.1.1

WpWs shaft implementation

All the parts beside the bearings and the external disc of the WpW system were
mounted onto the shaft using an adhesive bound. By assembling the shaft to the
structure, a few walls of the bearing pocket have been damaged, because it was
too thin. A possible solution would be to create a metal structure instead of a
solidified resin or to just make the walls thicker.

Figure 26: WpWs shaft

8.1.2

Lifter arm implementation

Also in this case the shafts and all the components excluded the bearings were
glued. The lifter arm would be mounted over the shaft, which is fixed in the

8.2 Wheel unit: final assembly

32

structure of the wheel unit.


Whereas the motor and all the components of the front part of the lifter arm
were fixed with M2 screws and bolts.

Figure 27: Lifter arm

8.2

Wheel unit: final assembly

In the following tab.?? are summarized the new dimensions of the wheel unit and
after a few shots of the final prototype are displayed.
Width
Hight
Length without arm
Length with arm extended
Weight

134mm
141mm
72mm
176mm
1.3kg

Table 8: Size new unit.

8.3

Testing

In this section were going to discuss the tests which have been carried during
the project. However, at the present time we were unable to test the new functions like passing through sharp edges and corners, because of the delays with
the Mulco supplier for the belts. Despite this, we have tried if the WpWs was
rolling by pushing the unit by hands. The unit moves but we encounter some
problems .After rolling the unit forward and back, some teeth of the WpW system were broken, most probably it is caused by the resistance of the material (3D
prototyping). So, for the next prototype itd be interesting to test it without the

8.3 Testing

33

Figure 28: Wheel unit prototype

8.4 Further Improvement

34

gears and test if the contact between the two surfaces produces enough friction.
Another experiment was to test the resistance of the robot when we try to detach
it from the surface. We have considered a few cases where the robot can approach
in the real environment. The first one is a flat surface, the second is the surface
outside of a tube and the last one inside of it. On the tab.9 are summarized the
results, in the 3rd case we obtained an unexpected one. The wheels are not strong
enough to guarantee a constant contact when the unit travels inside a tube. This
problem is due to the wheel parallel wheel system, while the outer wheels are in
contact with the surface, the magnetic wheels are detached from it. A possible
solution would be to consider the shape of the smaller tube diameter and design
the new outer wheels in consideration of it.

21 24[kg]

11 14[kg]

5 7[kg]

Table 9: Test:detach the unit from different surfaces


Further tests can be done when the belts will be available. For instance the ones
regarding passing corners and approaching sharp edges.

8.4

Further Improvement

After an analysis of the structure of the unit, we figured out that using a short
belt would be better. In this way we can reduce the size of the bigger gear and
also the belt-gears system would be more compact. This helps us also for the
creation of a wheel unit chassis with the scope to protect it from the dust or
possible contamination inside the gears, which could cause a malfunction.
During the assembling some parts have been damaged, as already mentioned in

8.4 Further Improvement

35

the section 8.1.1, so the 3D prototyping is not the best solution for a final unit.
The creation of the metal parts could be a possible solution. Another choice could
be the increase of the thickness, but this can cause some problems especially on
the WpWs shaft, where the distances are limited.
Another problem we noticed was the collision between the tension gear (25 teeth)
and the encoder of the motor, whose elimination was necessary. Another approach
would be to increase the width of the unit. Like this we could also solve the
problem of the thickness.

8.4 Further Improvement

8.4.1

36

New wheel unit with differential gears

In the chapter 5 is explained that the decision of the differential gear was not
considered, because the complexity of the system and more over due to the lack
of space between the wheels. This is true for a classical system has shown in
Fig.8.4.1.

Figure 29: classical differential gearbox


(www.howstuffworks.com)

Figure 30: differential gearbox for the


new wheel unit

8.4 Further Improvement

,
Figure 31: New unit with differential gearbox: side view
,

37

8.4 Further Improvement

,
Figure 32: New unit with differential gearbox: front view
,

38

9 Conclusion and Outlook

39

Conclusion and Outlook

As already explained in the testing section 8.3, the minimal requirement of the
project has not been reached, because some delays with suppliers of the ball bearings and especially with Mulco company for the belts. At the present time, the
belts still not arrived. The testing was an important step to see if the new functions of the robot, to pass corners and sharp edges, were working. Despite of this
problem, a few conclusion can be done. A final prototype has been developed,
although without the belts. It helped us to visualize some problems that they
can be solved in a future improvement. A chassis will be necessary for protect
the unit from dust. In the present version would be not optimal only to enclose
the structure in a chassis. This is caused by the big belt gears in the wheel axis.
Another point is the length of the belt, if these could be reduced then the size
of the big belt gears will also be smaller. Moreover, all the belt system will be
smaller and compact and this will facilitate the creation of a chassis.
A new wheel unit will be soon developed. However, it will include the differential
gears system. At the end of my thesis a new system, more compact, has been
found. Moreover the new wheel unit will get rid of the belts and so it will be
easy to test.

References

40

References
[1] R. Fernandez-Rodrguez, V. Felieu, and A. Gonzalez-Rodrguez. A Proposed Wall Climbing Robot For Oil Thank Inspection.
[2] W. Fischer, G. Caprari, and R. Siegwart. Preseentation G3:New locomotion
concept for stem chest inspection and similar applications. ASL, 2008.
[3] W. Fischer, F. Tache, R. Siegwart, R. Moser, and F. Mondada. Magnetic
wheeled robot with high mobility but only 2 DOF to control. Proceedings
of the 11th International Conference on Climbing and Walking Robots and
the Support Technologies for Monile Machines Coimbra,Portugal, 2008.
[4] F. Frohlicher, W. Fischer, F. Tache, and R. Siegwart. Entwicklung eines einfachten Radantriebes f
ur den kleinen Kletterroboter Raccon auf einer ferromagnetischen Oberflache. Studienarbeit Autonomous Systems Lab, 2006.
[5] W. Guy. US Patent Nr. 3690393: Magnetic Wheel. 1973.
[6] Y. Kawaguchi, I. Yoshida, H. Kurumatani, T. Kikuta, and Y. Yamada. Internal Pipe Inspection Robot. IEEE International Conference on Robotic
and Automation, 1995.
[7] Meier. Dimensionieren.
[8] M. Oeschger, W. Fischer, G. Caprari, and R. Siegwart. Improvement of
a compact inspection robot with magnetic wheels. Master Thesis Autonomous Systems Lab, 2008.
[9] F. Tache, W. Fischer, G. Caprari, R. Siegwart, R. Moser, and F. Mondada.
Magnebike: A magnetic Wheeled Robot With High Mobility for Inspecting
Complex Shaped Structures. Unpublished.
[10] F. Tache, W. Fischer, G. Caprari, R. Siegwart, R. Moser, and F. Mondada.
Adapted Magnetic Wheel Unit for Compact Robots Inspecting Complex
Shaped Pipe Structures. Proc. of the IEEE/ASME International Conference on Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics (AIM 2007), Z
urich, Switzerland,
2007.

References

41

[11] F. Tache, W. Fischer, G. Caprari, R. Siegwart, R. Moser, and F. Mondada. Compact Magnetic Wheeled Robot With High Mobility for Inspecting Complex Shaped Pipe Structures. Proc. of the IEEE/RSJ 2007 International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2007), San
Diego, USA, 2007.

A Appendix

42

Appendix

High Precision Drives and Systems maxon motor - supplier of high-prec...

A.1

https://shop.maxonmotor.com/ishop/article/article/110164.xml?print=true

Motor

Main page

Downloads

A-max 22 22 mm, Graphite Brushes, 6 Watt


2

22

6.5

31.9

16

Dimensions in mm
This schematic is not drawn to scale.
Price in
pc(s) excl. VAT

Order No.
110164

EUR 36.12

Motor data
Assigned power rating
Nominal voltage
No load speed
Stall torque

W
V
min-
mNm

6
24
10500
24.3

Max. continuous torque


Speed / torque gradient
No load current

mNm
min- / mNm-
mA

6.97
445
23.7

Starting current
Terminal resistance
Max. permissible speed
Nominal current (max. continuous current)

A
Ohm
min-
A

1.14
21
9800
0.35

Max. efficiency
Torque constant
Speed constant
Mechanical time constant

%
mNm / A-
min- / V-
ns

73.1
21.2
450
19.1

Rotor inertia
Terminal inductance
Thermal resistance housing-ambient

gcm
mH
KW-

4.13
1.37
20

Thermal resistance winding-housing


Thermal time constant winding
Motor lenght
Weight

KW-
s
mm
g

6.0
9.78
31.9
54

Operating range diagram

n[min-1]

6 W

9800

0
6.97

1 di 1

24.3 M[mNm]

25.03.2009 17:26

A.2 Planetary Gearhead

High Precision Drives and Systems maxon motor - supplier of high-prec...

A.2

43

https://shop.maxonmotor.com/ishop/article/article/144001.xml?print=true

Planetary Gearhead

Main page

Downloads

Planetary Gearhead GP 22 C 22 mm, 0.5 - 2.0 Nm, Ceramic Version


4

22

14.85

45.5

Dimensions in mm
This schematic is not drawn to scale.
Price in
pc(s) excl. VAT

Order No.
144001

EUR 97.37

Gear data
Reduction
No. of stages
Max. continuous torque
Sense of rotation, drive to output

Nm

561:1
4
1.8
=

Max. efficiency
Average backlash no load
Mass inertia

gcm

49
2
0.4

Gearhead length L1
Weight
Max. motor shaft diameter

mm
g
mm

45.5
81
3.2

The calculation for the torque generate from the motor: is the multiplication of
the stall torque or the maximal continuous torqueA.1 with the planetary gearhead
reduction and maximal efficiency.
Stall torque: 24.3 0.49 561 = 6751.269[mN m]
Continuous Torque: 6.97 0.49 561 = 1951.9833[mN m]

A.3 Belts and gears

A.3

Belts and gears

44

A.3 Belts and gears

45

A.3 Belts and gears

46

A.4 Ball bearing

A.4

47

Ball bearing
,

Deep groove ball bearings, single row, unsealed


Principal dimensions

Basic load ratings


dynamic
static
B

mm
6

C0

kN
13

3,5

0,884

0,345

Fatigue
load
limit
Pu

Speed ratings
Reference
speed

kN

r/min

0,015

110000

Mass

Designation

kg

0,0020

618/6

Limiting
speed

67000

,
Figure 33: SKF 618/6
This calculation refers to a wheel unit with two wheels and four ball bearings.
The magnetic force FM = 250N is distributed over four ball bearings in radial
direction.
FM
= 62.5
(A.1)
4
The gravitational force in axial direction is distributed over two bearings. FG =
5kg 10 sm2 = 50N
FR =

FG
= 25
(A.2)
2
From the script Dimensionieren written by Prof. Meier [7] is the static equivalent strain formula:
FA =

P0 = X 0 F R + Y 0 F A

(A.3)

and to find X0 and Y0 the following tab.34 is used.


The values of C0 and f0 are given by the producer of ball bearings(see tab.33).
25 11
f0 F A
=
0.8
C0
345

(A.4)

A.4 Ball bearing

48

,
Figure 34:
,
The data are inserted in the equation A.4 and the result must be interpolated
with the data from the tab. 34. We obtain the following value of e = 0.27. With
FA
= 0.4 e so are X0 = 1 and Y0 = 0.
FR
P0 = 1 62.5 + 0 25

(A.5)

The structural safety factor is:


fs =

C0
5.5
P0

This mean that the structural safety is more then sufficient.

(A.6)

B Appendix

B
B.1
Nr.
1

49

Appendix
List of components
# Comment
3

2
3
4
5

Part
Maxon Motor A-Max 22 and
Planetary gearhead GP 22
Magnet Ring NdFeB
Rim St32
Rim St32
Shaft

Shaft

Shaft

Shaft

Shaft

10

Tube

11

Ball bearing

12

Ball bearing

13
14
15
16

Pulley 32 teeth
Pulley 25 teeth
Pulley 18 teeth
Belt

2
2
2
2

2
2
2
2

Table 10:

di = 20mm, do = 55mm, b = 3mm


di = 20mm, do = 60mm, b = 5mm
di = 39.40mm, do = 60mm, b = 5mm
X10CrNiS18/9/1.4305, = 6mm, l =
46mm
X10CrNiS18/9/1.4305, = 6mm, l =
44mm
X10CrNiS18/9/1.4305, = 6mm, l =
36mm
X10CrNiS18/9/1.4305, = 4mm, l =
13.85mm
X10CrNiS18/9/1.4305, = 4mm, l =
73mm
AlMgSi0.5,di = 22mm, do = 25mm,
l = 95mm
Conrad: di = 6mm, do = 12mm, b =
4mm
Conrad: di = 4mm, do = 8mm, b =
3mm
3D Prototyping
3D Prototyping
AT3 GenIII, b = 6mm, l = 201mm

C Appendix

Appendix

C.1

WpW gear calculation

,
Figure 35: Gear parameters (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gear)

C.1.1

General parmaters

Module m = 1
Angle of action = 20
Width tooth b = 2.5mm
Foot radius %F = 0.38 m = 0.38mm
Circular pitch p = m = 3.142mm
Circular thickness s = p/2 = 1.571mm

50

C.1 WpW gear calculation

C.1.2

Inner wheel

Number of teeth z = 15
Outside diameter da = m (z + 2) = 17.0mm
Pitch diameter d = z m = 15.0mm
Base diameter db = z m cos() = 14.1mm
Root diameter df = m (z 2.5) = 12.5mm
C.1.3

Outer wheel

Number of teeth z = 25
Outside diameter da = m (z + 2) = 22.5mm
Pitch diameter d = z m = 23.5mm
Base diameter db = z m cos() = 25.0mm
Root diameter df = m (z 2.5) = 27mm

51