Mobile robots for inspection and maintenance activities in extensive industrial plants

Efficient and effective maintenance is crucial for all kind of industries. In the case of capital intensive investment industries it is even more relevant and has an important impact in the operation costs during the long life cycle of their production means.Besides the traditional maintenance problems of any industrial installation, these kinds of facilities present other additional challenging characteristics: - Extensive production facilities - Huge number of control points - Multiple inspection technologies to be used -Hazardous working conditions MAINBOT proposes using service robots to autonomously execute inspection tasks in extensive industrial plants in equipment that is arranged horizontally (using ground robots) or vertically (climbing robots). The industrial objectives are: - Ubiquitous sensing - Leakage detection - Surface and internal monitoring of equipment Our approach is not to develop robots from scratch but to take available wheeled mobile platforms and climbing robots that have already been tested in other related scenarios as starting point, and to adapt them by deploying innovative solutions in order to fulfil these industrial objectives: - Autonomous navigation: Robots (ground and climbing) must be able to autonomously navigate in a rather structured environment in a safe way - Mobile manipulation of tools and sensing equipment for maintenance and inspection - Sensor fusion: to exploit the information provided by multiple sensing technologies deployed in the robot. These industrial objectives will be instantiated in a real industrial scenario, a thermal solar plant that depicts common problems of this kind of plants: 230 hectares, 209.664 mirrors, 90 km of absorber tubes, huge tanks (Diam. 38 m, height 14m), hazardous working conditions. The operation of semi-autonomous or fully autonomous mobile robots will increase the efficiency of the plant, reduce the operation and maintenance costs and improve safety and working conditions of workers.
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Start date: 01-11-2011
End date: 31-10-2014
Total budget - Public funding: 3 793 594,00 Euro - 2 499 851,00 Euro
Call topic: Robots for automation of post-production and other auxiliary processes (FoF.NMP.2011-3)