This development program is a joint effort among the Northeast Gas Association (formerly New York Gas Group), Foster-Miller, Inc., and the US Department of Energy (DOE) through the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). The total cost of the project is $772,525, with the National Energy Technology Laboratory of the US Department of Energy contributing $572,525, and the Northeast Gas Association contributing $200,000. The present report summarizes the accomplishments of the project during its fourth three-month period (from July 2003 through September 2003). The efforts of the project focused during this period in completing the assessment of the tether technology, which is intended to be used as the means of communication between robot and operator, in designing the MFL sensor module, in completing the kinematic studies, and in initiating tractor design. In addition, work on the ovality sensor progressed significantly, while work on system integration was initiated focusing at this point in time on module coupling. Results to date indicate that the robotic system under design will be able to meet most of the design specifications initially specified. Earlier concerns regarding the portability of the system are shown to be a non-issue, with new more detailed analysis showing that from a locomotor point of view an inspection of a 16 inch-24 inch pipe size range with a single platform is most likely possible However, the limitations imposed by the sensor are more restrictive, preliminary results indicating an inspection range of 16 inch-20 inch pipe sizes. In addition, tether use will most likely have to be limited to medium and low flow conditions in order to preserve tether integrity.
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DOIS: 10.2172/823490 10.2172/840117