Ferguson Lab Researchers Evaluate an Aging Power Plant Using a Robotic Crawler

Dr. Jinying Zhu and Graduate Student Xiaowei Dai with the "Concrete Crawler"

July 2013

Ferguson Lab researchers, Dr. Jinying Zhu and graduate student Xiaowei Dai, evaluate an aging power plant using a robotic crawler. Sponsored by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and the New York Power Authority (NYPA), a team consisting of researchers from the Southwest Research Institute (SWI), International Climbing Machines (ICM), and the University of Texas (UT), are demonstrating the capabilities of advanced inspection techniques of concrete structures using a robotic crawler. The ICM robotic climber is equipped with the air-coupled impact-echo testing system (by UT) and a laser positioning system (by SWRI). The non-contact air-coupled sensing technology allows rapid scanning of concrete structures without physical contact of the sensors and concrete surface, while the laser positioning system automatically determines the location of the robot and eliminates the need of marking the test locations. Integration of the three advanced technologies enables an automated nondestructive testing (NDE) system that significantly improves testing speed and reduces inspection costs for large concrete structures.

Here is a brief excerpt from the story on FierceEnergy:

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), in collaboration with the New York Power Authority (NYPA), American Electric Power, Exelon, the Southwest Research Institute, and others, are demonstrating the capabilities of advanced inspection techniques of concrete structures, including the deployment of a robotic crawler. The New York Power Authority's Niagara Hydroelectric Power Plant served as the location for the demonstration of robotic equipment whose widespread utility application would contribute to the power industry's efforts to advance the operational performance and longevity of generating facilities.

Read the full story here.

For additional information, there is an article in Buffalo's Business Journal. Read the story here.