We are currently developing a robot which can perform NDE (non-destructive examination) inside a pipe while moving through the pipe itself. Pipe inspection robots have to be able to travel through vertical pipes, pipe elbows, and pipe intersections, while standing up to the environment inside the pipe and pulling a heavy non-destructive testing module.
KNR is working in consortium with KOGAS on the project ‘8″ and 16″ Unpiggable Gas Pipe Self-Propelled NDE Robotic Technology Development’. KNR is responsible for the portion of the research that deals with robotics, while KOGAS heads up the entire project. The current issue is developing technology that allows a wireless robot to travel through a pipe in use at 50 bar of gas pressure, withstand the inner environment of the pipe, and overcome the obstacles in the pipe while performing NDE tests. PIBOT (Pipe Inspection roBOT), the module that handles these tasks, is a series of connected joints that moves through the pipe with a slithering motion, like a snake. This project is still in development.