Urakami Research & Development Co., Ltd.
Urakami Research & Development Co. succeeded, for the first time in the world, in the invention and practical use of a robot that adheres to, by way of negative pressure suction, and travels along, the surface of a structure. Since the latter half of the 1990’s, the suction-adhering self-propelled ultrahigh-pressure water-jettingrobots we invented and developed have been widely used in the United States and Europe for exfoliating deteriorated paint and resultant rust on the surface of large structures, such as U.S. Navy’s nuclear aircraft carrier George Washington and other ships and major international petroleum companies’ storage tanks. HydroCatby Flow International Corp.is one of the robots developed with the technology provided by Urakami Research & Development Co. Suction-adhering self-propelled robotsare designed to create negatively-pressurized space within, which allows them to adhere to and travel along the surface of a structure.
U-ROBOT SYSTEM is a remotely controlled robot system with a vacuum absorption and auto-travelling mechanism. The U-ROBOT SYSTEM replaces human labor which requires abrasives blasting, water-jetting, painting, inspecting and other work on surfaces, mainly for ships, oil storage tanks, gas holders, and buildings. Compared with the conventional methods of human labor, the U-ROBOT SYSTEM performs remote-controlled operations from the ground, and ensures cleanliness and safety during work as well as reduces the number of required workers. The U-ROBOT SYSTEM is designed to work with various attachments connected to the Main Unit to facilitate a wide variety of applications.
There is a wide variety of applications of these robots, both on land and underwater, alloperated with remote controls. Exfoliating and cleaning work, for example, of the surface of a structure by ultrahigh-pressure waterjetting within the space completely sealed from the exterior environment prevents soiled water or noise from escaping into the environment. The robots are thus excellent protectors of the environment, as well as the health and safety of workers. Another example of the evolution of our suction-adhering self-propelled robots is the approach of filling the space within with other decompressed gasses other than decompressed air or with decompressed water for use on land. The latter casehas such applications as ultrasound cleaning and ultrasound flaw detection on the surface of structures. In the ageof ultrasound washing machines that do not require laundry detergents, the evolution of our suction-adhering self-propelled robots allows us to wash floors, walls and ceilings with ultrasound. For the use of our robots underwater, the negatively-pressured space may be filled with other decompressed fluids other than decompressed water or with a decompressed gas, such as air. The latter case has such applications as underwater abrasives blast cleaning and polishing and underwater thermal spraying of anti-corrosive alloys. Unlike painting with the life of less than 10 years, thermal spraying provides anti-corrosive film of the life of scores of years instantly, again unlike painting which requires time to dry. Thissuperior coating method is already in use with an aluminum-magnesium alloy on offshore oil rigs in the North Sea off England. Traditionally,it has cost enormous expenses, time and labor to maintain giant structures, such as petroleum storage facilities, long large bridges and nuclear power plants. The application of our suction-adhering self-propelled robots achieves much lower-cost maintenance together with environmental protection and safer workplace. The application of our revolutionary technology of suction-adhering self-propelled robots to underwater coating with anti-corrosive alloys for the first time in history for the maintenance of giant underwater structures enables us to prolong the lives of the valuable assets we have built