Newton Labs Mast LED lights
Mast-top mounted LED lights enable the global positioning camera, which is boom-mounted inside the tank hatch, to precisely track the robot's position.
Newton Labs Surveyor using magnetic traction
This view of the underside shows the enclosed port (center) for the downward-looking laser scanner and video camera used for visual observation, percision surface measurement and weld mapping.
Newton Labs

For more information on the
Inspector robot, contact:

Newton Labs

To view or download a PDF data sheet on the Inspector robot, CLICK HERE.

Precise Navigation of the Inspector Robot

Multiple inputs combine to deliver highly accurate positioning.

God's-eye camera and robot

Once the robot is deployed through the tank top hatch, the global positioning camera assembly is clamped to the hatch rim. The global positioning camera tracks the location and position of the robot's mast-top LED lights. In addition, the robot has onboard horizontal laser rangefinders on four sides that measure the distance to the tank wall, with a range of approximately six feet.

Robot sweeps tank perimeter

The robot communicates through a power / data umbilical cable. The robot is capable of operating semi-autonomously, or under direct operator control. Search patterns, based upon tank sizes, footprints and internal floor structures, are pre-programmed into the system.
The robot begins its inspection sequence by finding the tank wall and moving around the perimeter.

robot tracking plate welds

The robot detects and maps where the cross-tank floor plate welds meet the wall. Upon completing the perimeter sweep, the robot follows each long welded joint and detects the short, intersecting welds. This enables the system software to map the location of the individual floor plates as well as any obstructions such as piping or structural supports.

robot surveys a single plate

After identifying all floor plates, the robot is directed to scan the area of individual plates with the attached sensor package, using a "lawn-mowing" pattern to insure complete coverage.
The robot is able to sense obstacles in its intended path and stop before the sensors are damaged. The operator can assume manual steering using the on-board video imaging.

Newton Labs

The Inspector is precisely positioned within a tank using a combination of inputs: the vertical video view from the global positioning camera at the top of the tank, as well as the forward, rearward, lateral and down-looking views from five on-board cameras and four laser range finders.
The information from these sources, in addition to direction, speed and position inputs from sensors in the drive motors and wheel pods, is processed by the software to create a virtual tank floor environment and robot avatar.The operator can visually track and when necessary, control the tobot with keyboard commands in the virtual environment using the avatar. The user interface numerically displays the precise XY-axis location of the robot. The virtual blue line represents the path the robot has traveled on the tank floor.

Newton Labs

Newton Labs

Repeatable, Stored Precision

  • Locations of defects are pin-pointed to within 1/8th inch (3 mm) and the coordinates are correlated to the plate weld map and saved in the system.
  • After moving on, a few keystrokes by the operator can send the robot back to the same location, based on the saved coordinates.
  • Even if the robot is removed from the tank and redeployed back in at a later date, once the system associates the tank floor weld pattern with the stored weld map, the robot can return to the point of the defects.
Newton Labs

AREVA and Newton Labs partner to meet the Nuclear Energy Institute requirements for the inspection of nuclear plant water storage tanks in accordance with NEI 09-14.

AREVA is an industry leader in providing fully automated phased array ultrasonic systems and equipment to perform in-service and/or pre-service examinations.

Inspector robots offer plant operators the most advanced nondestructive evaluation (NDE) tank inspection services currently available in the nuclear industry. The selection of inspection services include:

  • Examination of water-filled or dry tanks
  • Repair of water-filled or dry tanks
  • Underwater laser scanning and 3D modeling
  • Phased array UT and eddy current NDE surveys
  • Real-time video inspection
  • Weld inspection and mapping
  • Tank cleaning
  • Weld inspection vacuum box