MOL introduces wall climbing ship inspection robots

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) reports that it has jointly developed a new wall climbing robot capable of scaling steel structures, intended to support ship inspection and maintenance work.

The technology was created in collaboration with Sumitomo Heavy Industries (SHI) and MOL Ship Management (MOLSHIP) and has successfully completed a demonstration test, which was conducted in a vessel’s hold and involved the robot conducting various operations, such as navigating corners, acquiring wall inspection images, and measuring plate thickness.

The different tasks are all difficult to achieve with conventional robots, MOL says, and as such require new technologies with enhanced capabilities.

The new robot can climb on vertical walls as well as on curved and uneven surfaces, able to reach places that were previously difficult to access by humans or robots to take photographs and inspect relevant parts. It is also capable of measuring the thickness of steel plates by remote operation by the operator, and its measurement accuracy is as high as 0.01mm.

The tests were observed by class society ClassNK, which has granted its Innovation Endorsement Certification to the project in the Product & Solution category, a programme that aims to verify the capabilities of products and systems that apply advanced technologies.

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