INRTU & En+ Group Robot is being tested at the Bratsk Hydroelectric Power Station

An industrial robot created by INRTU students is used to diagnose the penstocks of the Bratsk Hydroelectric Power Station (an En+ Group company). The project is being successfully implemented as part of the Energy Engineering Laboratory Business Accelerator. The students won the project and received 11 million rubles from En+ to create this device. Now the development is being introduced into production.

The project team includes the students of the robotics and automation educational programs of the School of Aircraft Construction, Mechanical Engineering and Transport. Igor Maizel, Associate Professor of the Department of Technology and Equipment for Machine-Building Production is a scientific director of the project. In addition, the project involves students from the School of Information Technology and Data Science, who are improving the robot control system. The work of the programmers is supervised by the head of the Hardware and Software Computing Lab, Roman Kononenko.

The development of diagnostic methods is carried out by the staff of the Metal Control Laboratory of the Corporate Training and Research Center ‘EuroSibEnergo-INRTU’ under the guidance of Oleg Leskov.

En+ Engineering Center is responsible for the positioning system. Igor Maizel said that in 2021 INRTU students presented a walking robot, then a caterpillar prototype. In En+ this development was considered promising, so a contract for the design and creation of an industrial design was concluded. The device is currently undergoing pilot testing at the Bratsk Hydroelectric Power Station.

“According to the technical regulations, 25% of welded seams and the lining of penstocks are subject to inspection. The inspection is to be carried out in even sections. The traditional method of diagnosis involves the work of industrial climbers who can walk along the bottom of the tube. Measurements are not sufficient to assess the condition of the entire penstock. In addition, there are health risks associated with the work. We have proposed to En+ a robot that is able to move on the surface of a penstock and collect information on the pipe condition. The device determines the thickness of the metal and the internal defects of the weld on areas that were previously not accessible for examination. Timely comprehensive diagnostics of the water penstocks, which in fact are hazardous production facilities, will make hydropower station a safer workplace," - said Igor Maizel.

The results of the project work of INRTU students were summarized in their thesis studies. Four final qualification works are dedicated to Automation of hydropower processes.

Photo by Igor Maisel