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Magnetically Held Robots

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Climbing Robots Magnetically Held

Magnetically Held (Boiler Tube Wall Climbing) Robot

Boiler tube failures are the #1 cause of forced outages in fossil plants.

The Solution: ICM’s Boiler Tube Wall Climbing (BTWC) Robot

ICM has developed a magnetically held robot specifically to climb and clean Boiler Tube Walls in power plants. This Boiler Tube Wall Climbing (BTWC) robot is lightweight, portable, has big payload capability.

It is designed specifically for the harsh, dirty conditions and the confined space of working in boilers within power plants, though it can also be used in refineries and other heavy industry.

This new robot was originally developed for one of the largest utilities in the world.

Integrated on this robot is a mechanical cleaning brush that can use a variety of different brushes and is also removable. It comes with two (2) cameras, one mounted in the front and one mounted on the back. One camera is to aid in navigation and one is used to visually inspect the cleaned surface. The robot could be outfitted with Ultra sound, thermography or virtually any NDT (Non-Destructive Testing) technology.

The use of such a robot should reduce costs and save money. It will also increase worker safety because now workers will not be exposed to elevated heights or to breathing in debris and dust from cleaning operations.

Magnetically Held Climbing Robots
  • Acoustic Sensors

  • Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR)

  • Air-Coupled Echo Technology

  • Infrared Thermography

  • Cameras (Visual Inspection)

Magnetically Held Climbing Robots

International Climbing Machines (ICM) announces a new robot to clean boiler tube in power plants, saving money and potentially lives.

This robot will climb up the boiler tube walls then clean and capture the slag. The slag is the tough
incombustible material that bonds to boiler tubes. The initial model of this robot uses a special brush that cleans the slag without damaging the tubes. Also, high pressure water or any method can be used to do the cleaning.

Upon winning the contract to design the robot with tube cleaning capability, ICM brought in Helical Robotics with their magnetically held robot technology to collaborate with ICM. ICM managed the project and designed and integrated the cleaning head as well as the capture shroud to capture the debris from the cleaning operation and send it via hose to a HEPA filtered vacuum.

Boiler tubes develop a thick slag on their surface dramatically decreasing efficiency of the boiler in power plants. Conventionally, workers using various handheld methods must clean the tubes. This is difficult and dangerous, requiring scaffolding and a great deal of time. Boiler tube assemblies can be as tall as 60 meters (approximately 180 feet, or 18 stories, high).

The new robot promises to save time, money, energy and eliminate the safety concerns of having workers perform this work at elevated heights.”

Once the tube faces are cleaned the next phase is to integrate Non Destructive Sensors to the same robot and have it climb and perform the scanning to take readings of the condition of the tube wall metal. Cracks and corrosion can then be identified and repaired. Even more future plans would include integrating welding or other forms of repair technology that the robot can also perform remotely.

ICM once again sets new standards for "climbing robots” and leads the industry with the following characteristics: ease of use, designed for field conditions, versatility, simplicity of design, ruggedness and dependability.

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