파이프라인 파손 모니터링 3D 프린팅 소프트 로봇 TIANJIN RESEARCHERS DEVELOP FULLY-3D PRINTED MODULAR PIPE-CLIMBING SOFT ROBOT

TIANJIN RESEARCHERS DEVELOP FULLY-3D PRINTED MODULAR PIPE-CLIMBING SOFT ROBOT

PAUL HANAPHY JANUARY 06TH 2021


Scientists at China’s Tianjin University have 3D printed a customizable robot that’s capable of scaling and monitoring pipes at industrial facilities in real-time. 


The team’s 3D printed robot (pictured) could reduce the need for manual pipe inspections at industrial facilities. Gif via the IEEE Robotics and Automation journal.


 

파이프라인 파손 모니터링 3D 프린팅 소프트 로봇


   중국 톈진 대학의 과학자들은 3D 프린터로 산업용 시설의 파이프 크기를 조정하고 실시간으로 모니터링할 수 있는 맞춤형 로봇을 제작했다


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단일 피스 장치는 일련의 소프트 벤딩 메커니즘과 모듈식 그리퍼를 특징으로 하며, 이를 통해 기묘한 모양의 인프라를 유연하게 오를 수 있다. 파이프라인 파손이 종종 생산 지연으로 이어지고 많은 회사가 여전히 수동으로 검사한다는 점을 감안할 때, 팀의 봇은 새롭고 더 효율적인 대안을 제시할 수 있다.


파이프 오르기의 숨은 기술

많은 공장 내에서 파이프라인은 산업 효율성과 궁극적으로는 제조 생산성이 의존하는 중요한 토대를 나타낸다. 작은 파손이라도 생산 차질을 빚을 수 있어 지속적으로 유출 여부를 점검해야 하는 대기업이 적지 않다.

현재 산업 기업은 파이프를 수동으로 모니터링하기 위해 직원을 사용하는 경향이 있지만, 이 방법은 노동 집약적이며 특히 덕트가 유해 화학 물질을 운반하는 경우 위험할 수 있다. 결과적으로, 대신 그러한 위험한 일을 맡을 수 있는 로봇의 개발은 중요한 연구 분야가 되었다.


황기철 콘페이퍼 에디터

Ki Chul Hwang Conpaper editor 


edited by kcontents


The single-piece device features a series of soft bending mechanisms and modular grippers, that allow it to flexibly climb oddly-shaped infrastructure. Given that pipeline breaks often lead to production delays, and many firms still inspect them manually, the team’s bots could represent a new, more efficient alternative. 




The hidden art of pipe-climbing 

Within many factories, pipelines represent a vital foundation on which industrial efficiency and ultimately manufacturing productivity depend. Even small breakages can cause significant disruption to production, hence constantly inspecting for leaks has become a necessity for a number of large-scale businesses. 


3D Printing Industry

edited by kcontents


At present, industrial firms tend to use staff to monitor their pipes manually, but this method is both labor-intensive and potentially dangerous, especially if the duct is carrying hazardous chemicals. As a result, the development of robots that can take on such perilous tasks instead, has become an important area of research. 




Although previous studies have yielded an array of robotic solutions, they tend to be either inner or outer pipe-climbing devices, not both. What’s more, the former requires the transport network to be closed in order to work, and for pipelines buried underground, there’s no way of avoiding this by maintaining them from the outside. 


With recent advances in soft robotics, however, fabricating complex devices has become easier, especially when compared to the complexity of using molding. Consequently, by adopting 3D printing, the Tianjin team were able to create an optimized device that’s able to inspect pipes more flexibly than before. 


The Tianjin team’s 3D printed design 

To maximize the flexibility of their bot, the scientists designed it with a one-piece soft bending mechanism, that was capable of sustaining high levels of deformation. Using CAD software to create the device also made it easily upgradable, and enabled the team to add modules or adjust the diameter of its grippers at will. 


The scientists’ 3D printed robot (pictured) featured a modular design, enabling them to make adaptations depending on the application. Photo via the IEEE Robotics and Automation journal.




The robot’s layout consisted of a middle section with grippers at either end, as well as three intake pipes, allowing it to be controlled and apply pressure on-demand. By alternately pressurizing and depressurizing the device’s grippers, the scientists were able to  perform a ‘climbing’ motion, albeit under their direct control. 


During testing, the bot demonstrated a torque output of 85 Nmm, which was sufficient to climb pipes with a diameter of 16–38 mm, at a speed of 14 mm p/s. The device was also able to scale acrylic networks at angles of 45° and 90°, potentially making it ideal for inspecting inclined pipelines that can be difficult to navigate. 


Given that their robot proved capable of climbing both internally and externally, and rotating in longitudinal or lateral directions, the team considered it to be an upgrade on existing designs. In future, the scientists intend to integrate sensors into their device, allowing it to become an autonomous pipe maintenance solution. 


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https://3dprintingindustry.com/news/tianjin-researchers-develop-fully-3d-printed-modular-pipe-climbing-soft-robot-181816/

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