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Technology Factsheet

Pneumatic Crawler for Tank Inspection

Category: Robotics > Characterization and Inspection > Other
Reference # : Model No :

The pneumatic crawler for tank inspection has been designed to meet the need for an inspection tool to isolate and pinpoint the source of high-level radioactive tank waste in the tank annulus space. This remote controlled crawler can navigate through the air supply pipe that leads to the central plenum of the primary tank of the double-shelled tanks, providing live video feedback.

The pneumatic crawler is composed of interchangeable modules connected with rigid links. The modules consist of a day-night 720p front camera, front and back grippers, and two middle movers. The grippers provide a maximum gripping force of ~40 lbs and are designed to travel through 3- and 4-inch diameter pipes.

Design parameters for this technology include:
• Embedded computer
• Remote controlled
• Withstand high temperatures (~170 F)
• Turn through elbows, bends and transitions
• Crawl through vertical runs


Movement is fully automated and remotely controlled by a handheld device, and includes a programmable control interface. In addition to the live video camera, the modular design allows for other sensors to be added, such as for measuring temperature or radiation levels.


Iterative prototypes for this technology have been designed, constructed, and bench-scale tested. Engineering-scale tests are planned as well as continued refinement of the final technology design and construction to meet all of the DOE site requirements, including the need to be rad hardened (~80 rad/hr) and able to withstand high temperatures (170 degrees F).




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