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Improvement of Pipe Holding Mechanism and Inchworm Type Flexible Pipe Inspection Robot

Koutaro Hayashi 1, Tetsuya Akagi 1, Shujiro Dohta 1, Wataru Kobayashi 1, Takashi Shinohara 1, Keichi Kusunose 1, and Mohd Aliff 2
1. Okayama University of Science, 1-1, Ridai-cho, Kita-ku, Okayama, 700-0005, Japan
2. Malaysian Institute of Industrial Technology, Universiti Kuala Lumpur, Persiaran Sinaran Ilmu, Bandar Seri Alam, Johor, Malaysia

Abstract— In wet condition of complex pipe, pipe inspection robots using fluidic flexible actuators have advantages because of no electrical leakage and easy traveling into pipe while deforming its body. In the previous study, a robot that can travel in a complex pipe with inner diameter of 100 mm by changing pipe holding position like an inchworm was proposed and tested. However, the pipe holding mechanism using extension type flexible pneumatic actuator could not hold the pipe surly because of its small contacting area with pipe. In this paper, to make sure to surely the hold pipe with smaller diameter of 75 and 50 mm, the development of a holding mechanism with large contacting area with pipe is described. The improved holding mechanism has similar construction of automobile tire wheel to decrease volume change for expanding. In addition, a thinner type sliding/bending mechanism using a novel extension type flexible pneumatic actuator for the pipe diameter of 50 mm is proposed and tested. The pipe inspection robots using both pipe holding mechanisms for the pipe diameter of 75 and 50 mm are also developed. The driving test of pipe inspection robots using both holding mechanisms is carried out. As a result, it can be confirmed that both robots can travel smoothly in a complex pipe that includes corner and tee joints. 

Index Terms— tire wheel type pipe holding mechanism, extension type flexible pneumatic actuator, pipe inspection robot, sliding/bending mechanism

Cite: Koutaro Hayashi, Tetsuya Akagi, Shujiro Dohta, Wataru Kobayashi, Takashi Shinohara, Keichi Kusunose, and Mohd Aliff, "Improvement of Pipe Holding Mechanism and Inchworm Type Flexible Pipe Inspection Robot," International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics Research, Vol. 9, No. 6, pp. 894-899, June 2020. DOI: 10.18178/ijmerr.9.6.894-899

Copyright © 2020 by the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided that the article is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.