Tele-operated propeller-type climbing robot for inspection of petrochemical vessels

Mohamed Gouda Alkalla*, Mohamed A. Fanni, Abdelfatah M. Mohamed, Shuji Hashimoto

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    35 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to propose a new propeller-type climbing robot called EJBot for climbing various types of structures that include significant obstacles, besides inspection of industrial vessels made of various materials, including non-ferromagnetic material. The inspection includes capturing images for important spots and measuring the wall thickness. Design/methodology/approach - The design mainly consists of two coaxial upturned propellers mounted on a mobile robot with four standard wheels. A new hybrid actuation system that consists of propeller thrust forces and standard wheel torques is considered as the adhesion system for this climbing robot. This system generates the required adhesion force to support the robot on the climbed surfaces. Dynamic simulation using ADAMS is performed and ensures the success of this idea. Findings - Experimental tests to check the EJBot's capabilities of climbing different surfaces, such as smooth, rough, flat and cylindrical surfaces like the real vessel, are successfully carried out. In addition, the robot stops accurately on the climbed surface at any desired location for inspection purposes, and it overcomes significant obstacles up to 40 mm. Practical implications - This proposed climbing robot is needed for petrochemical and liquid gas vessels, where a regular inspection of the welds and the wall thickness is required. The interaction between the human and these vessels is dangerous and not healthy due to the harmful environment inside these vessels. Originality/value - This robot utilizes propeller thrusts and wheel torques simultaneously to generate adhesion and traction forces. Therefore, a versatile robot able to climb different kinds of structures is obtained.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)166-177
    Number of pages12
    JournalIndustrial Robot
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • Climbing
    • Inspection
    • Propeller
    • Vessels

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Control and Systems Engineering
    • Computer Science Applications
    • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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