Magnox asked TWI to develop and trial a robotic system for the in-situ inspection of spring hanger tie rods. To reduce the risk of harm to operators, the inspection solution was to be deployed remotely.
The brief was to use off the shelf components as far as possible.
The result is this prototype system based on the UR10e Cobot; It uses a depth camera and feature recognition software to detect the location and orientation of the tie-rod end, a die-grinder tool to prepare a smooth surface and a phased array ultrasonic probe to perform the inspection. The system enables the operator to prepare the tie rod end, perform the inspection and detect small cracks anywhere along the length of the tie rod, all from a safe distance.
This equipment has been purchased as part of an initiative known as AEMRI (Advanced Engineering Materials Research Institute), which is funded by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) using European Regional Development Funds (ERDF).