September 2016 saw the completion of stage 2 of the project. Development testing is now over and we have developed and validated inspection routes across 3 preferred testing sites, Bacton and the compressor stations of Cambridge and Aylesbury. The development and testing phase allowed Synthotech the opportunity to explore different robot platforms to achieve the best possible configuration resulting in the evolution of our previous dolphin concept. We are now able to reveal the latest robot design.
What was previously a single unit has now been split into two modules. During Stage 2 Synthotech looked at the benefits of using a significantly more complex dual module approach rather than a single module. The benefits of the change to a dual module were defined as follows;
- Ease of NDT & Tool Mounting (Adaptability)
- Ease of Steering (Agility)
- Increased space for Electronics, Sensors, Cameras (Adaptability)
- Greater magnetic track contact with the wall of the pipe (Agility)
The area in between the two modules houses a rotating NDT package, which is able to move around the pipe in a circular motion to detect defects and relay information back to the control desk. The dual module approach still allows the team to take advantage of active, passive and disruptive flow control through the use of specially design ‘skins’ based on the flow rates determined by network modelling.