November 21, 2007 Robotics offers the perfect solution for dangerous tasks that can involve risk to life and limb and often impose huge economic costs. Climbing, in a range of scenarios, is one of those tasks and machines are increasingly offering a safe and efficient alternative in a number of industrial situations. Following several field deployments in 2007, International Climbing Machines (ICM) has announced the success of its uniquely designed climbing machines - portable, remote-controlled devices that can scale virtually any vertical or inverted surface - in difficult assignments including remote measuring and climbing the surfaces of C-5 and C-137 airplanes, decontaminating a vessel in a Nuclear Power Plant, and demonstrating the machines’ ability to climb and remove paint from concrete walls for the Department Of Energy (DoE).
"The Climber" can scale walls, ceilings or rounded surfaces and is unique in its ability to overcome rough surfaces, contours and obstacles as big as 1 inch off the surface. The key to the machine is its use of a rolling seal which gives it an impressive payload capacity of 100 pounds (relative to its 30 pound weight) and also allows it to negotiate more delicate surfaces, like the exterior of aircraft, without causing damage.
The entire system is controlled from ground level via a hand-held controller and features a range of interchangeable on-board tools for tasks such as cleaning, applying and removing coatings, drilling and cutting. Further versatility is provided by the integration of imaging and dimensioning cameras for remote visual inspection and various testing technologies that can access coating thickness, wall thickness, corrosion or stress cracking.
The device also catches all waste via a vacuum capture function and several additional capabilities are in development including a pressure fed roller and spray applicator, the ability to repair cracks and sand and water blasting.
See ICM for further details - a demo video is available at the site.