Automation of Condenser Tube Inspection

Period of Performance: 08/12/2011 - 02/12/2012

$80K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Quest Integrated, Inc.
19823 58th Place S
Kent, WA 98032
Principal Investigator

Abstract

The fleet presently has limited ability to safely and productively inspect condensers. Condenser failure can result in chloride contamination of the steam plant and loss of platform availability. The present inspection method depends on hard physical labor under unpleasant and hazardous conditions with an error rate of up to 3%. We propose to examine the work flow involved in acquiring, logging and using condenser tube inspection data. The path of the data will be analyzed and we will make recommendations to automate the system for improved productivity and accuracy. We expect that automation of the acquisition and recording of condenser data will yield measurable benefits. We will design a robotic or tele-operated mechanism that will enable the repetitive insertion of eddy current probes and recording of the results. We will examine several concepts for building the equipment as well as examining commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products. We will design vision systems or other methods to guide the robot to the tubes of interest in the condenser sheet. We will write software that enables the data to smoothly integrate with other Navy systems.