The product is a steam pipeline inspection robot for pipes with an internal diameter in the range of 400mm to 600mm. The robot will have the ability to manoeuvre around bends of 90 degrees and other pipeline fixings. It will also be able to move vertically as well as horizontally, giving it six degrees of freedom. It will use magnetic flux leakage and ultrasonic sensors to detect the remaining pipe wall thickness, cracks and other faults.
The robot is self-driven by eight motorised wheels by the front module, which will also house the on-board hard drive; this will collect the data from the sensors inside the chassis. The wheels will be driven by a belt transmission and the force needed to keep the wheels in against the inside pipeline surface will come from mass-spring-dampers.
The use of two odometers will allow the robot to detect how far it has travelled inside the pipe; these are located on the driving module. There are three modules which have the functions of: driving, magnetic flux leakage sensing and ultrasonic sensing. The modules are connected via a flexible rubber joint.
The product will be autonomous and Li-ion batteries will provide the power needed for the various systems. The electronics and the batteries will be housed inside the chassis of the modules. The conception of the product came from the discovery of instances where steam pipes have ruptured and caused fatalities and injuries.