MAINBOT – mobile robots for inspection and maintenance in extensive industrial plants

Research Area: Uncategorized Year: 2013
Type of Publication: Article Keywords: Mobile robotics, Maintenance, Non-destructive inspection, Thermosolar
  • A. Fernández L. Susperregi I. Maurtua
Journal: Proceedings of the SolarPACES 2013 International Conference Volume: 49
Pages: 1810–1819
MAINBOT project is developing service robots applications to autonomously execute inspection tasks in extensive industrial plants in equipment that is arranged horizontally (using ground robots) or vertically (climbing robots). MAINBOT aims at using already available robotic solutions to deploy innovative systems in order to fulfill project industrial objectives: to provide a means to help measuring several physical parameters in multiple points by autonomous robots, able to navigate and climb structures, handling sensors or special non destructive testing equipment. MAINBOT will validate the proposed solutions in two solar plants (cylindrical-parabolic collectors and central tower), that are very demanding from mobile manipulation point of view mainly due to the extension (e.g. a thermal solar plant of 50Mw, seven hours of storage, with 400 hectares, 400.000 mirrors, 180 km of absorber tubes, 140m tower height ), the variability of conditions (outdoor, day-night), safety requirements, etc.. The objective is to increase the efficiency of the installation by improving the inspection procedures and technologies. Robot capabilities are developed at different levels: (1) Simulation: realistic testing environments are created in order to validate the algorithms developed for the project using available robot, sensors and application environments. (2) Autonomous navigation: Hybrid (topological-metric) localization and planning algorithms are integrated in order to manage the huge extensions. (3) Manipulation: Robot arm movement planning and control algorithms are developed for positioning sensing equipment with accuracy and collision avoidance. (4) Interoperability: Mechanisms to integrate the heterogeneous systems taking part in the robot operation, from third party inspection equipments to the end user maintenance planning. (5) Non-Destructive Inspection: based on eddy current and thermography, detection algorithms are developed in order to provide automatic inspection abilities to the robots.
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