Researchers from the Perm Polytechnic University have developed a prototype of a robot that will track the state of fire-hazardous oil and gas pipelines.
Due to its unique shape, it will be able to “penetrate” into complex curved pipe sections, identify damage of any complexity and assess the level of corrosion.
Scientists have already patented the development.
– Trunk, infield and distribution pipelines are fire and explosive objects. In Russia, for these reasons, up to 40 thousand accidents on infield pipelines occur every year. 95% of failures are due to internal and external corrosion. High reliability of pipeline systems can be ensured with the help of robots that will inspect multi-kilometer sections, ”says Dmitry Kuchev, one of the developers, undergraduate of the Faculty of Chemical Technology, Industrial Ecology and Biotechnology of the Perm Polytechnic University.
But those robots for pipeline diagnostics, which are now, cannot move in difficult and critical pipe sections due to the “sluggishness” of the wheelbase. According to the young researcher, they also lack stability when moving. In addition, the cost of such a robot reaches 2.5 million rubles, which is unprofitable for enterprises. Therefore, the developers of the Perm Polytechnic Institute decided to create a simpler device with advanced technological capabilities. The robot will provide high-quality technical control of any sections of pipelines, identify pipe damage and measure their diameter.
– A spherical robot using support wheels in the form of hemispheres will be able to determine the configuration features of pipes, find dents, thinning and corrosion formations. The wheels give the device an elliptical shape. Thus, the robot can move without overturning, overcoming difficult areas, for example, inclined pipelines. Rubber spikes on the wheels will help him cross difficult pipes, the researcher explains.
The developers have already made a prototype of the robot using a 3D printer. According to their estimates, the approximate cost of the finished product will be 300 thousand rubles.
According to the researchers, the development can be applied at oil and gas and chemical enterprises, as well as in the field of housing and communal services. The robot will be useful for companies that repair and diagnose gas, oil and pipelines and housing and communal services complexes.