Cost-Effective Autonomous Robots for Ballast Water Tank Inspection
Leif Christensen, Niklas Fischer, Sven Kroffke, Johannes Lemburg, Reinhard Ahlers
In Journal of Ship Production and Design, Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers , volume 27, number 3, pages 127-136, Aug/2011.
In this paper we describe the technical concept and first implementation of an autonomous rail guided robot for inspection and maintenance tasks in ballast water tanks (BWTs), especially for double bottom BWTs. We evaluate different locomotion techniques and other robotic principles potentially suited for such application scenarios and propose a modular concept that uses a simple corrosion-free thermoplastic rail which runs 'through' the robot and thus allowing for high payloads and upside-down operation. As a second aspect the paper describes the assessment of life cycle benefits for the developed system with cost parameters like scaffolding costs, tank preparation-, intank inspection- and vessel out-of-service time.