Background of the invention
The inspection of the structure of large metal tanks and ships is based on the visual inspection and on the thickness of the steel which form it. For this reason is normal the use of small motorized vehicles capable of traveling vertically on the surface. Faced with the effects of gravity, they use metal wheels that incorporate powerful magnets of Neodimio. Thus, the wheels themselves become a magnet which maintains adhered to the surface and capable of rolling.
These wheels present a problem which focuses mainly on three aspects:
- Their metallic nature means that the coefficient of friction with respect to the also metallic surface is minimum, which requires the use of big magnets to assure their adherence. Thus, the vehicle is compelled to displace a greater load due to the weight of them.
- The rigidity of the rolling surface creates problems in the vehicle’s movement, especially when some type of irregularity appears, such as weldings, losing grip and not allowing to overcome it.
Applus+ is able to offer an optimal, real and immediate solution thanks to its experience in this area and to already have the intellectual property of a magnetic wheel patent.
The project developed by Applus+ includes the design, development, manufacture and patent of a magnetic wheel for the ‘Rovion Robot’ inspection equipment, a cutting-edge technology equipment that requires light magnetic wheels optimized for its weight and needs, enabling it to move vertically over ferromagnetic surfaces. This equipment will make it possible to conduct inspections that currently are technically unfeasible.
Description of the invention
Thanks to the magnetic wheel, the drawbacks mentioned above are resolved, also presenting other advantages:
- The new wheel is substantially lighter than the former one, because the magnet disc brake has a significantly smaller size than the diameter of the wheel, reducing the weight of this element by more than 50%.
- It improves reliability and durability of the system because the magnet is supported by a revolving pendulum thanks to the installation of a bearing.
- The tire and rim are welded into a single piece, preventing slippage of the rim in relation to the tire (problem of the previous invention).
- There is no degradation or stretching of the tire.
The interest in these magnetic wheels by Panatec, ‘Rovion Robot’ distributor, and companies in the sector, is determined by a real demand for equipment with these characteristics. Proof of this is the award to Panatec of a supply contract by Électricité de France (EDF), thanks to the inclusion of this novel magnetic wheel.