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ICM Designing Robot to Clean Navy Subs

Monday, July 22, 2013

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A robot is being developed to tackle the challenging task of cleaning or removing coatings from the inside of bilge tanks on United States Navy submarines.

International Climbing Machines' (ICM) Climbing Robot will be made to "climb, clean and capture" coating debris and rust from the inside of U.S. Navy submarines. The debris will be vacuumed up by the robot and transported to waste collection vessels, so no human exposure to the work environment or toxic materials will be necessary.

International Climbing Machines
Photos: ICM

ICM is working on creating a robot to climb and clean inside U.S. Navy submarines. "This is the first device of this type in the world," ICM's president said.

Located in Ithaca, NY, ICM was started in 2001 as a focused research and development effort to create small, remote-controlled devices that could climb vertical surfaces, particularly surfaces with boltheads, weld seams and other obstructions.

'Exciting' Project

According to ICM, the company plans to integrate LASERs or other technology into one of its patented Climbing Robots. The company's primary work will be to make a Climber that is considerably smaller than its current size.

"This is a very exciting project for ICM," said Sam Maggio, president of ICM. "We have been tasked with integrating many different types of tools and inspection heads on our Climbers up to this point, but this is the first time we will be attaching a LASER."

The Climber can not only climb on concrete, but also on ferrous and non-ferrous metals, brick, wood or almost any hard surface, Maggio explained. It can climb over surface obstacles or irregularities such as bolts, nuts and plates.

"This is the first device of this type in the world," Maggio added.

First Wind, Now Water

Last year, ICM teamed up with General Electric (GE) to use its climbing robot to inspect wind turbine blades. ICM developed a remote-controlled wall climbing robot and strapped a wireless high-definition camera to it.

Robot climber ICM

Last year, ICM worked with GE to develop a robot climber to inspect 300-foot-tall wind turbines.

The robot could scale vertical, 300-foot-tall steel turbine poles within a matter of minutes, photograph the turbine blades, and send the results back, according to the company.

To avoid falling off the turbine, a vacuum pump at the center of the robot sucked out the air between it and the substrate, creating a vacuum force strong enough to pull up to 225 pounds straight up a wall.

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Tagged categories: Inspection; Metals; Shipyards; Steel; Surface preparation; U.S. Navy; Wind Towers

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