A helical drive in-pipe robot based on compound planetary gearing
The modern society is fuelled by very comprehensive grids of gas and liquid pipelines. In recent years, various in-pipe robots have been developed for inspection and maintenance tasks inside such pipes. In this paper, a novel in-pipe robot is proposed and developed for gas/oil well interventions at thousands of meters downhole. Due to the nature of such intervention, in-pipe robot design must be capable of carrying a very large payload, as large as 2500 N inside a pipe with diameter as small as 54 mm. The proposed design concept is based on a compound planetary gearing system. One of the major novelties of this design is the use of pipe wall as a ring gear for one stage of the compound planetary gear system; the other novelty is the generation of helical angle when the planetary gears are expanded to press on the pipe wall. The proposed concept is compact, efficient, and has never been reported before. In this paper, the helical angle, the velocity, and load capability of the proposed system will be analyzed. The load transportation capability of the proposed robot is also measured based on an experiment. Initial data have shown great potential in carrying large payloads.