Last July, AEROARMS Project performed some successful experiments at the HES Wilhelmshaven refinery in Germany. The experiments were the first outdoor tests within a refinery environment of an aerial robot for contact inspection. AEROARMS is a five-country project that proposes the development of the first UAV robotic system with multiple arms and advanced manipulation capabilities to be applied in industrial inspection and maintenance.
Last July, AEROARMS Project performed some experiments at the HES Wilhelmshaven refinery in Germany. The AEROX system developed in the project by one of the members of the project, the Spanish FADA-CATEC for contact inspection was used in the experiments. Researchers and engineers from FADA-CATEC, TÜV NORD Systems, TÜV NORD EnSys, TÜV NORD Cert and Elektra took part in this demo.
The experiments were the first outdoor tests within a refinery environment of an aerial robot for contact inspection. The AEROX system flew to reach an elevated pipe and then used the arm with a special end-effector with a rolling base and ultrasonic sensor to perform contact inspections. The rolling base allows to move the ultrasonic sensor with precision to a specific place within the pipe. The system is able to measure the thickness of the wall of a pipe and can perform inspections at different orientations; both horizontally and vertically.
The current system is an improvement of the one that received the ICT Overall Innovation Radar Prize of the European Commission last November 9th 2017, at the ICT event that was held in Budapest (Hungary).
“So far a lot of pipelines at industrial facilities need to be inspected manually. It is a slow, expensive and dangerous job. Aeroarms drone will allow to carry out these tasks at a lower cost, saving a typical refinery 700,000 Euro per year”, said Aníbal Ollero, AEROARMS project coordinator. “The inspections will be conducted 10 times faster, and without height-related work accidents.”
AEROARMS is a five-country project, led by a team of nine partners, that proposes the development of the first UAV robotic system with multiple arms and advanced manipulation capabilities, for use in industrial inspection and maintenance.
AEROARMS in numbers
AEROARMS is an ongoing H2020 project with more than 5.7 million Euro budget participating five countries and nine partners, the University of Seville, coordinator of AERAORMS, FADA-CATEC, the Technical University of Catalonia, the German DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics and the companies TÜV NORD Systems GmbH and Elektra UAS GmbH, the French Centre National De La Recherche Scientifique, the Italian Consorzio C.R.E.A.T.E, and the Swiss companies ALSTOM Inspection Robotics and Sensima Inspection. The project will be finished in 2019.
UAVs, the future is here
Today, there is a great expectation about UAVs because of their potential impact in our society in the next 20 years. The current UAV technology only allows applying them to audiovisual tasks, but the best applications with UAVs drones will be the ones not only to see but also to “touch and feel”. Aerial contact AEROARMS technology is a further step into the future to perform industrial contact inspections using a UAV by cutting down time and resources and lowering accidents in the workplace due to falling from heights.