vb.net barcode reader usb Pipe Crawlers and Other Special Cases in Software

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Pipe Crawlers and Other Special Cases
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Wheeled Vertical Pipe Crawlers
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Wheeled pipe crawlers, like their land-based cousins, are the simplest type of vertical pipe crawlers. Although these types use wheels and not tracks, they are still referred to as pipe crawlers. Practical layouts range from three to six or more wheels, usually all driven for maximum traction on frequently very slippery pipe walls. Theoretically, crawling up a pipe can be done with as little as one actuator and one passive sprung joint. Figure 8-3 shows the simplest layout required for moving up vertical pipe. This design can easily get trapped or be unable to pass through joints in the pipe and can even be stopped by large deformities on the pipe walls. The next best layout adds a fourth wheel. This layout is more capable, but there are situations in certain types of pipes and pipe fittings in which it too can become trapped, see Figure 8-4. The center linear degree of freedom can be actuated to keep the vehicle aligned in a pipe.
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Pipe Crawlers and Other Special Cases
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Figure 8-5 Three locomotors, spaced 120 apart
TRACKED CRAWLERS
Wheeled crawlers work well in many cases, but tracks do offer certain advantages. They exert much less pressure on any given spot due to their larger footprint. This lower pressure tends to scratch the pipe less. Spreading out the force of the mechanism that pushes the locomotor sections against the walls also means that the radial force itself can be higher, greatly increasing the slip resistance of the vehicle. Figure 8-5 shows the very common three-locomotor tracked pipe crawler.
OTHER PIPE CRAWLERS
For pipes that cannot stand high internal forces, another method must be used that further spreads the forces of the crawler over a larger area. There are at least two concepts that have been developed. One uses balloons, the other linear extending legs. The first is a unique concept that uses bladders (balloons) on either end of a linear actuator, that are filled with air or liquid and expand to push out against the pipe walls. The rubber bladders cover a very large section of the pipe and only low pressure inside the bladder is required to
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Pipe Crawlers and Other Special Cases
Figure 8-6 Inchworm multi-section roller walker
get high forces on the pipe walls, generating high-friction forces. Steering, if needed, is accomplished by rotating the coupling between the two sections. This coupling is also the inchworm section, and forward motion of the entire vehicle is done by retracting the front bladder, pushing it forward, expanding it, retracting the rear section, pulling it towards the front section, expanding it, then repeating the whole process. Travel is slow, and this concept does not deal well with obstructions or sharp corners, but the advantage of very low pressures on the pipe walls may necessitate using this design. A concept that uses this design was proposed for moving around in the flexible Kevlar pipes of the Space Shuttle. Another inchworm style pipe crawler has a seemingly complex shape, but this shape has certain unusual advantages. The large pipes inside nuclear reactor steam pipes have sensors built into the pipes that extend in from the inner walls nearly to the center of the pipe. These sensor wells are made of the same material as the pipe, usually a high-grade stainless steel, but cannot be scraped by the robot. The robot has to have a shape that can get around these protrusions. An inchworm locomotion vehicle consisting of three sections, each with extendable legs, provides great mobility and variable geometry to negotiate these obstacles. Figure 8-6 shows a minimum layout of this concept.
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Pipe Crawlers and Other Special Cases
EXTERNAL PIPE VEHICLES
There are some applications that require a vehicle to move along the outside of a pipe, to remove unwanted or dangerous insulation, or to move from one pipe to another in a process facility cluttered with pipes. CMU s asbestos removing external pipe walker, BOA, is just such a vehicle. Though not a robot according to this book s definition, it is still worth including because it shows the wide range of mobility systems that true robots might eventually have to have to move in unexpected environments. BOA is a frame walker. Locomotion is accomplished by moving and clamping one set of grippers on a pipe, extending another set ahead on the pipe, and grasping the pipe with a second set of grippers. RedZone Robotics Tarzan, an in-tank vertical pipe walking arm, is an example of a very unusual concept proposed to move around inside a tank filled with pipes. This vehicle is similar to the International Space Station s maintenance arm in that it moves from one pipe to another, on the outside of the pipes. Unlike the ISS arm, Tarzan must work against the force of gravity. Since Tarzan is not autonomous, it uses a tether to get power and control signals from outside the tank. The arm is allhydraulic, using both rotary actuators and cylinders. All together, there are 18 actuators. Imagine the complexity of controlling 18 actuators and managing a tether all on an arm that is walking completely out of view inside a tank filled with a forest of pipes!
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