Mobile Platform: Robogas Inspector with Robotic Gripper
Mobile robotic platforms have a lot of potential for industrial use. They are a promising and simple solution for large-scale applications. Also, they are often less expensive than using bigger robots or rail systems. The University of Kassel in Germany is now presenting a new way to use these mobile platforms in large industrial environments, like the oil and gas industries.
Robogas Inspector is a mobile robotic system for remote leak sensing and localization in large industrial environments. In the oil and gas industry, there are a lot of hazards and even if a lot of systems are already remote, human presence is still needed for some tasks like maintenance and inspection.
Of course, stationary sensors are installed in most high-risks areas, but they can not be installed everywhere, generally because of the size of the site. It would be too expensive and sometimes unnecessary. So, to cover a large area, routine inspections are made where a sense of smell, hearing and eyesight are valuable tools.
The University of Kassel has developed a human-machine system to inspect plants and look for fluid leaks and spills. This system is, in fact, a mobile inspection robot equipped with remote sensing technology. Robogas detects anomalies using active spectroscopic (TDLAS) and passive infrared (IR) thermographic measurement systems.
The advantages of using Robogas Inspector in oil and gas plants would be :
Quality of process: Increased frequency and improved inspection of the site
Operator : Eliminate monotonous routine tasks
Profitability: More efficient by creating staff availability for higher value tasks (planning, supervision...)
The preliminary results are satisfying and the application of Robogas Inspector in industrial environments is promising. However, detecting leaks is only one half of the robot's task. When a leak is found Robogas should be able to contain the problem until the maintenance team arrives. This is what the University of Kassel is working on now. They have integrated a Universal Robots arm and Robotiq’s 3-Finger Adaptive Gripper on their mobile platform. With these new features, Robogas Inspector will be able to shut off valves on pipes that are causing leaks.
This 3-finger servo Gripper is a great choice for this task. Its adaptive fingers are able to grab many different forms and sizes of handles used in an oil or gas plant. Position, speed and force of each finger can be controlled. Moreover, it is designed for industrial environments. Research has been conducted using the 3-finger electric Gripper, but other Robotiq products such as the 2-Finger Adaptive Robot Gripper (model 85 and 200) are also good matches for this task.
Combining Robotiq Grippers with Universal Robots arm is now easy since Robotiq provides a complete installation package. With this offer, Robotiq pursues its goal of making robotics more accessible for any application. Our company is confident that our flexible end effectors open the world to a lot of automation possibilities. This is why we continue to encourage further development in on-going and future research.