Robotic MFL probe design for inspection in structural health monitoring system
Structural health Monitoring (SHM) of civil and mechanical infrastructures using robots is getting a lot of attention in the scientific community. Ultimately, the subsurface defects as well as apparent flaws in the surface of such structures are identified by using Nondestructive Testing methods. These methods involve sensing probes using Magnetic, ultrasonic, or vibrational techniques, that are deployed by human experts over every inch of the surface under test. Due to the hazards posed by the height and structural complexities to such human experts in order to conduct the inspection, the Robotic platforms are gaining a lot of popularity to perform such inspections instead of human operators. In this paper, a robotic system is presented that can perform a coarse level of scan of a tall building using a combination of data sources such as drones and the probe deployment robots, and then further fusing the data together to formulate the actual defect information. The drones provide a rough estimate of the location of possible defect or abnormality and probe robots inspect the anomaly more closely. The probe robot presented in this paper represents the Magnetic Field Leakage (MFL) based scanning method. Similar techniques are being used in brute scanning strategies deployed in oil and gas pipelines but are not possible to be used in the SHM applications due to the need for more controlled and timely scans.