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Vol. 73 | No.

3 | Mar 2017 International Journal of Sciences and Research

Pressurized Wheel In-Pipe Inspection and Maintenance Robot

S RAMESH KUMAR,
Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, KL University, Guntur Dist A.P, India.
cadramesh@kluniversity.in

GOWTHAM VARMA BHUPATHIRAJU


UG Students, Department of Mechanical Engineering KL University, Guntur Dist A.P, India
Researcher, FIPPLE IT TECHNOLOGIES PRIVATE LIMITED, Karnavanipalem, Visakhapatnam,
Andhra Pradesh, India. gowthamvarma810@gmail.com

B HARSHA SRI VINAY


UG Students, Department of Mechanical Engineering KL University, Guntur Dist A.P, India.
Researcher, FIPPLE IT TECHNOLOGIES PRIVATE LIMITED, Karnavanipalem, Visakhapatnam,
Andhra Pradesh.vinayb7596@gmail.com

Abstract— This paper proposes new methodology to design and development of In-Pipe
Inception and Maintenance Robot (IPIMR) mechanism. Which could propel in T, U and L
junction bends in In-pipe, of varying diameter ranges from 16-inch to 29.5-inch in all
direction (horizontally and vertically). It can be applied in the areas of In-pipe inspection for
identifying the cracks, corrosion, scale formation etc., and Maintenance of pipe lines. All
major components have been designed, modelled and assembled and then virtually tested in
all conditions using SOLIDWORKS 15.
Keywords - In-Pipe, Propel, Corrosion, Scale Formation, Mechanism, SOLIDWORKS.
I. INTRODUCTION
Pipeline Infrastructures play a vital role from production engineering to power plant. Pipes are
widely used to transport gas, water, toxic chemical, and oil, which are indispensable
necessities in today’s society. Continues usage might cause scale formation, corrosion, cracks,
aging, weld gaps, and small internal diameter or bends become inaccessible to human
maintenance. It is important to inspect service life of these pipelines effectively. The complex
geometry of pipes and hazard content constraints in pipes demand robots, there should be
efficient robot for In-pipe inspection and maintenance of pipes layouts. Till date various types
of in-pipe robots have been developed but they are having limitation in stability, pipe
diameter adaptability, traveling at bends (T, U and L junction) in all directions, inspections.
However, in narrow spaces or underground inspections mostly done via ultrasound manually
by selecting some points or segments of pipe, which is hard to determine pipe problems,
expensive and time-consuming. Therefore effective robotic inspection of pipes would result in
an advancement in pipeline maintenance. Based on the literature we have developed
Pressurized Wheel In-Pipe Inspection & Maintenance robot (PWIPIMR) which could travel
in T, U and L junction bends of varying diameter in directions horizontally, vertically -
upward and vertically –downward direction with adjustable pipe diameter and to perform
various inspection and maintenance tasks inside a pipe.

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A. Existing Research

Many types of In-pipe robots have been developed, and they can classified into Wheel type,
caterpillar type, in-worm type [2]. In-Pipe Inspection Maintenance Robots are widely used in
petrochemical industrial, water- supply, and for fluid transportation industries. Researchers
have worked to develop in-pipe robots to enhance various aspects of in pipe inspection robot
(IPIR) like vision, control, cleaning and motion of the robot. Based on the survey the design,
capabilities and limitation of the different robot. It has been found that the in-pipe robot can
be classified into 3 main categories and 8 sub-categories. It is extremely necessary to
assimilate two or more locomotion system, the new innovative drive system, namely multiple
locomotion drive system [5]. The multiple locomotion system is considered i.e. caterpillar
wall-pressed, wall-pressed wheeled, and wheeled wall pressing screw type. Wall-pressed
wheel type system generally allow the robot in efficient to adapt complex pipe condition, such
as diameter-change pipeline, uneven surface, curvature as well as to enhance the performance
for the speed mobility in T, L, U– pipe junctions. Based on the literature reviewed, it is
concluded that compared to other mechanism performances in different accepts as follows.
Table 1: Classification of IPIR’s

Table 2: Advantages and Limitation of Wall pressed Wheel Type

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II. PROPOSED SYSTEM


New model of In-Pipe Inspection Maintenance Robot (IPIMR) consists of components
such as wheels and motors, Actuator Servo Motor, Arduino Mega 2560 R3 Board, Tool motor,
Metal Channel Strip Formed Brushe Cleaning Tool Disk, Selective Compliance Assembly
Robot Arm (SCARA) and LED light. The body of the system is made of steel which gives
high strength to weight ratio and corrosion resistant properties. As shown in Fig.1 .

Fig. 1. Over View of Pressurized Wheel type In Pipe Inspection & Maintenance Robot (PWIPIMR)

A. Structure
1) Chassis
Material selection is one of the important factors in designing Pressurized Wheel type
In Pipe Inspection & Maintenance Robot. so that each components and parts will not break or
fail. In Worst scenario fail of system might disassemble and cause damage to the inner surface
of the pipe. Properties that are considered in material selection are mass, tensile strength,
yield strength and thickness. Selected material for body part and motor casing will be as
shown in Table 3.

Chassis Chassis Diameter Material Total Total Length Total Diameter


Length Weight
350 mm 68 mm Aluminium 8 kg 476 mm 405 mm

TABLE 3 CHASSIS DIMENSIONS & MATERIAL SELECTIONS

Fig.2 Chassis design and demotions in mm.

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2) Motor Mount & Wheel Kit


Motor Mount and Wheel Kit of 12v DC motors are combined with the hardware to provide
the power, strength, & tires are durable to handle a variety of rugged or smooth terrains
without hesitation. That included a Position Controllers which used a quadrature encoder
system to reliably track speed and the position of each wheel. As shown in table 4.
TABLE 4 SPECIFICATION MOTOR Mount & Wheel Kit Specification

Motor Mount wheels with motor kit No – 6


& Wheel Kit
payload Torque DC Motor nominal
capacity approx per operating voltage
motor
27.2155 Kg 9.603 Nm 12.0 V DC
Weight Wheels dia RPM Fig. 3. Motor Mount & Wheel Kit
1.27 kg 10 cm 95

3) Actuators -Linear Motion


Actuators enables a liner motion. These small linear actuators are designing with gears,
motors, servos, and linkages. As shown in table 5.
TABLE 5 Specification Actuators -Linear Motion
Fig. 4. Actuators -Linear Motion
Miniature Linear Motion Series · L12 Actuator No- 6
Actuator

Max Force Max Side Load Stroke Option


(lifted) (extended)
22N=4.3 Kgf 50N = 5 kgf 10mm
Back Drive Force Back Drive Force (static) Closed Length
(static) (hole to hole)
12N 12N=1.22 Kgf 62mm
Mass Voltage Option Peak Power Point
28 g 6V DC 17N@14mm/s

4) Servo Motor
The Servo - gear motor is a 360-degree continuous rotation motor which can rotate
continuously with both forward and backward. This motor is high torque and has interface
with any type of micro controller. As shown in table 6.

TABLE 6 Specification Servo motor Fig. 5 Servo motor

Digital RC Servo Motor Metal Gear Servo Motor


Torque No:2

Torque 6.0V Weight


10.00 kg-cm 13.00 kg-cm 50 gm

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5) Tool motor
The motor comes with a metal gearbox and off cantered shaft, also shaft has a metal
bushing for wear resistance. It’s connected with pinion gear. As shown in table 7.
TABLE 7 Specification of Tool motor Fig. 6 Tool motor
Tool motor
Operating RPM Torque Shaft Shaft Weight Diameter Voltage
Voltage Diameter Length
5V 500 6 6mm 15 mm 100 37mm 6 - 24
kgcm gm

6) Hollow Shaft
Hallow shaft is used to mount the cleaning tool (Metal Channel Strip Formed Brushes
Cleaning Tool Disk). Power cable of 1 cm inserted from its inner diameter. As shown in table
8.
TABLE 8 SPECIFICATION OF Hollow Shaft Fig. 7 Hollow Shaft

Hollow Shaft Material : stainless Steel


Length Inner Diameter Outer Diameter Thickness
15 cm 1 cm 1.5 cm 0.25 cm

7) Metal Channel Strip Formed Brush Cleaning Tool Disk


Metal Channel Strip Formed Brushes Cleaning Tool Disk is used to for maintains purpose.
Metal Channel Strip consists of the channel is formed from a flat strip [6] with the fill brush
material. Greater and denser brush volume is achieved with larger metal channels.
Fig. 8 Metal Channel Strip Formed Brushes Cleaning Tool Disk
TABLE 9 Cleaning Tool Disk

Metal Channel Strip Formed Tool for


Brushes Cleaning Tool Disk cleaning
Material Galvanized
Steel

The Table 10 below are industry standard "Strip Codes" based on "Flat Strip Sizes". The
"Formed Size" are "Leg" and "Base".
Fig. 9 Metal Channel Strip
FORMED Brushes TABLE 10 METAL STRIP CHANNEL SIZES

METAL STRIP CHANNEL SIZES


STRIP CODES FORMED SIZE
NUMBER SIZE LETTER "B" "L" LEG
BASE
4 1/2" C .186" .202"

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8) Gear
Two simple gears are meshed with each other to transmit power, from motor to hallow
shaft. As shown in table 11.
Pinion drive on tool motor : Pinion is mounted on tool motor and
Gear on Hallow Shaft : gear is mounted on the hallow shaft.
TABLE 11 Specification of gears
Pinion drive on tool Gear on Hallow
motor Shaft
No. of Teeth’s 25 25
Diameter 3 cm 3 cm
Center Shaft 0.6 cm 1 cm
Diameter
Teeth Face Width 1.25 cm 1.25 cm

9) Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm (SCARA)


SCARA [7] is a 3 DOF horizontal-joint. Robots are generally used for vertical assembly
and other in parallel planes. SCARA has a characteristic feature, extremely useful in
operations including twist of it front unit (screw motion) requiring insertion of objects into
holes.

Fig. 10 SCARA motions

11) Arduino
Arduino is use as interface to connect all assembles like motors, actuators, camera,
LED and other components. Power supply cable of cm is used and it is through the hallow
shaft. As shown in table 12.
TABLE 12 Specification of Arduino
Arduino Mega 2560 R3 Board
Operating Digital I/O Pins Length Width Weight
Voltage
5V 54 (of which 15 provide 101.52 53.3 mm 37 g
PWM output) mm

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B. WORKING OF ROBOT PRESSURIZED WHEEL TYPE IN PIPE INSPECTION &


MAINTENANCE ROBOT

Fig. 11 overview of Pressurized Wheel type In Pipe Inspection & Maintenance Robot

Fig.11 shows an overview of the designed Pressurized Wheel type In Pipe Inspection
& Maintenance Robot. Table 3 shows chassis specifications. This robot consists three main
units i.e., of front, center and rear .The steering power is at front part – one wheel kit mounted
with servo motor and for the rear unit. The maximum steering angle range is ±90 degrees. The
robot has six arms in total. Fig.11 shows a detailed picture of an arm( wheel kit & actuator ).
Although they basically have the same mechanism, the arm length is controlled by actuator
and pushing force are different in each unit. Each actuator is connected with motor mount &
wheel kit.
The center unit consists of SCARA mechanisms. Because of the DOF (Degree of Freedom),
the robot can operate in tapered pipes, overcome steps, and navigate through elbows that have
a long radius of curvature of steering control. When the robot passes through a T-branch, it
can redirect its front unit for steering and can change its position of steering wheel position
and also the screw motion - SCARA mechanisms. As shown in Fig.11, The rear unit has two
arms, one arm with wheel kit mounted and actuator with servo motor Table 5 shows
specifications of wheel kit mounted, Table 6 shows specification of servo motor and Table 5
shows specification of actuator and other arm with wheel kit & actuator.
Metal Channel Strip Formed Brushes Cleaning Tool Disk mounted on the hollow shaft as
shown in Fig.7. Cleaning Tool Disk Operated by the Tool motor with high speed as per the
specification in Table 7. The Fig. 9 Metal Channel Strip FORMED Brushes arrangement
ensures proper scarping of the wastes, grinding inside the pipelines. Based on visuals using
camera module in front and rear units of robot. The electrical components are housed and
fixed inside of chassis. The movement of the robot (both forward and backward) is fully
controlled by the microcontroller Arduino.

C. Size calculation for mobility of PWIPIMR


The diameter and radius of curvature of the pipes are the main parameters to be considered
for the design of a robot. The robot width is the size within the pipe diameter. The robot
length is related to the robot width in a small sized pipe it can calculated. Therefore, the
dimension is limited by the size of the robot and the propulsion is related to the size. The

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length and width of the Pressurized Wheel type In Pipe Inspection & Maintenance Robot
designed to maximize the size of robot.
Equation.1 relates to the limits of width with respective to the size of the pipes. Eqation.2
shows the corresponding relation between the width and length for a maximum size [1].

Fig 12 simulation of Robert inside of pipe

Where, D = pipe diameter, R = curvature of the pipes, H = length, and W = width of the
mobile robot. Fig.12 shows a simulation of the robot dimension in the pipe.

D. Design - Thickness of hallow shaft


To calculate the thickness of the hallow shaft [4].

do^3 - di^3 =

Where,

[Mt] = twisting moment [Mt] = 0.13 N-m ; di= inner diameter


[Mb] = bending moment [Mb] = 7.35 N-m ; do= outer diameter

Kt = torsional factor = 1.5 & Kb = bending stress factor = 2

Now for stainless steel shaft material, yield stress σut = 205 N/mm2
τ = 0.5 σut
τ= 176.5 N/mm2

Let’s take fos = 1.5

There for [τmax] = τ/1.5

[τmax] = 176.5/1.5

[τmax]design= 117.6667 N/mm2 = 117.6667 × 106 N/m2

Diameter of hallow shaft:

Substitute above values in the equation

do^3-di^3 =

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There for, do = 1.1784≈ 1.2 cm

do= outer diameter of hallow shaft required is 1.2 cm< designed diameter do=1.5 cm

E. Bending for hallow shaft

Design shear stress formulae [4],

[σd] =

Where,
d = diameter of shaft (mm) Mb = bending moment (N-mm)

Theoretical value
σd =32(7.35)/pi*(10.11^2-10^2) =4.1385 N/mm2

Actual Value

σd =32(7.35)/pi*(15^2-10^2) =0.598 N/mm2

Actual Value σd < Theoretical value σd, hence design is safe.

F. Power calculation of motor for wheel kit

P = (2*pi*N*T) / 60 watts
Theoretical value
Torque, T=1.5 Nm
No of motors, K=6
RPM, N=95
P=N* K*T /9.5
= 90 watts

Actual value
Torque, T=9.6 Nm
RPM, N=95
No of motors, K=6
Power, P=N*K*T/9.5
Power =576.18watts

G. Selection of motor for tool


P = (2*pi*N*T) / 60 watts
Torque, T=0.6nm
RPM, N=500rpm
Power, P=31.4 watts

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F. Degree Of Freedom of SCARA

DOF
F= 3(n-1) – 2(L) – h

n= number of links
L= number of lower pairs
h= number of higher pairs

n= 4;L=3
F= 9 - 6
F=3
Degree of freedom = 3

III. VIRTUAL MODEL

In order to confirm the effectiveness of the mechanism of the In-Pipe Pressurized Wheel In-
Pipe Inspection & Maintenance robot (PWIPIMR), simulation of robot [3] for pipe of
diameters 16-inch is conducted T- cross section pipe, U- shaped cross section pipe and L -
shaped cross section pipe SOLIDWORKS 15.

A. T – cross section pipe

Using the Pressurized Wheel In-Pipe Inspection & Maintenance robot (PWIPIMR),
movement of PWIPIMR for diameter of 16-inch, motion of PWIPIMR in forwards and
backwards directions inside the pipe of T-branch bend that was laid horizontally is done in
SOLIDWORKS15. So, it is able to adjust to the pipe diameter, and the horizontal movement
of the robot is achieved as shown in figure 13.

Fig 13 Adjusting to pipe diameter - pathway at a T-branch

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B. U – cross section pipe

Using the Pressurized Wheel In-Pipe Inspection & Maintenance robot (PWIPIMR),
movement of PWIPIMR for diameter of 16-inch, motion of PWIPIMR in forwards and
backwards directions inside the pipe of U-branch bend that was laid horizontally is done in
SOLIDWORKS15. So, it is able to adjust to the pipe diameter, and the horizontal movement
of the robot is achieved as shown in figure 14.

Fig 14 Adjusting to pipe diameter - pathway at a U-branch

C. L – cross section pipe

Using the Pressurized Wheel In-Pipe Inspection & Maintenance robot (PWIPIMR),
movement of PWIPIMR for diameter of 16-inch, motion of PWIPIMR in forwards and
backwards directions inside the pipe of L branch bend that was laid vertically downward is
done in SOLIDWORKS15. So, it is able to adjust to the pipe diameter, and the vertically
downward movement of the robot is achieved as shown in figure 15.

Fig 15 Adjusting to pipe diameter - pathway at a Vertically Downward L -branch

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IV. CONCLUSION AND FUTURE STUDY

This paper described the development of a Pressurized Wheel In-Pipe Inspection &
Maintenance robot (PWIPIMR) for an internal inspection in the diameter 16 to 29.5 inch of
size pipes. Virtual simulation is carried out by considering the industrial pipe standards and
layouts. PWIPIMR can adapt to the size of pipe dimeter, even the diameter of pipe varies in
interconnecting pipes by changing the actuators. Errors in the design have been identified
during the testing process and implemented so that it can overcome the pitfalls during the
operations and also improves the severability.

This ensures the regular process of cleaning in various environments and inspection. And
also it makes the cleaning process faster. Metal Channel Strip Formed Brushes Cleaning Tool
Disk can cover even small areas which are not accessible for humans. Design parameters of
all components are in line with analytical results.

This system can be further improved by incorporating the new technologies like vision
system and AI interface, further a small tank can be attached to store suitable chemicals that
can be sprayed with the help of fitted pump. Thus it helps in removal of tougher scales
accumulated in the pipes.

The same model can be customized for other applications like Maintenance, Spraying,
Inspection of welding gaps, Performing welding operations, and also it can be attached with
sensors like Magnetic sensor, Infrared sensor, Tactile sensor, Laser etc., for identifying the
fatigue of the pipe.

A. Limitation

Every system has certain operational limits and boundaries. In our system during the
operations the system has to insert into the pipe line and it has to take out manually after
completion of the task through the maintenance ducts. The system has to undergo regular
maintenance to achieve long life of the robot.

Pressurized Wheel In-Pipe Inspection & Maintenance robot (PWIPIMR) can’t travel in
completely filled fluids pipes, as PWIPIMR is not 100 % sealed fluid might get in contact
with cam or other accessories and some chemicals might react with robot or with its
accessories. PWIPIMR might get stuck with power cable. Cleaning disc should be changed
with respective to pipe diameter. Long power cable is required to for long pipe.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENT

We are very much thankful to our Heard of the department Dr. A Srinath and also to our
Robotics group head Dr. V L Krishnan for their immense support during the completion
project. And also to our friends M Vamshi Mohan, Penmatsa Rohit Rama Raju & V Kanaka
Rupesh pursuing Bachelor of Technology of K L University

REFERENCES

[1] Seungho Kim, Chang Hoi Kim, Yeong-geol Bae and Seyoung Jung , “Development of
spiral driven type mobile robot for NDT inspection in small pipes of thermal power
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(ICCAS 2013).
[2] Ankit Nayak, S. K. Pradhan, “Design of a New In-Pipe Inspection Robot,” 12th
GLOBAL CONGRESS ON MANUFACTURING AND MANAGEMENT, GCMM
2014.
[3] Taiki Nishimura, Atsushi Kakogawa and Shugen Ma, “Pathway Selection Mechanism of
a Screw Drive In-pipe Robot in T-branches,” 8th IEEE International Conference on
Automation Science and Engineering August 20-24, 2012, Seoul, Korea.
[4] Atul Gargade, Dhanraj Tambuskar, Gajanan Thokal, “Modelling and Analysis of Pipe
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[5] Iszmir Nazmi Ismail, Adzly Anuar, Khairul Salleh Mohamed Sahari, Mohd Zafri
Baharuddin, Muhammad Fairuz Abd lalal and luniza Md Saad, “Development of In-pipe
Inspection Robot: a Review”, 2012 IEEE Conference on Sustainable Utilization and
Development in Engineering and Technology (STUDENT) Universitin Tunku Abdul
Rahman, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 6 - 9 October 2012
[6] “Brush Construction, METAL STRIP CHANNEL SIZES”,
http://www.vecters.com/metalstrip.shtml
[7] Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm (SCARA)
http://nptel.ac.in/courses/112103174/module7/lec5/3.html

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