Applied Sciences (Mar 2022)

Design of a Novel Long-Reach Cable-Driven Hyper-Redundant Snake-like Manipulator for Inspection and Maintenance

  • Carlo Canali,
  • Alessandro Pistone,
  • Daniele Ludovico,
  • Paolo Guardiani,
  • Roberto Gagliardi,
  • Lorenzo De Mari Casareto Dal Verme,
  • Giuseppe Sofia,
  • Darwin G. Caldwell

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 12, no. 7
p. 3348


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Robotic inspection and maintenance are gaining importance due to the number of different scenarios in which robots can operate. The use of robotic systems to accomplish such tasks has deep implications in terms of safety for human workers and can significantly extend the life of infrastructures and industrial facilities. In this context, long-reach cable-driven hyper-redundant robots can be employed to inspect areas that are difficult to reach and hazardous environments such as tanks and vessels. This paper presents a novel long-reach cable-driven hyper-redundant robot called SLIM (Snake-Like manipulator for Inspection and Maintenance). SLIM consists of a robotic arm, a pan and tilt mechanism as end-effector, and an actuation box that can rotate and around which the arm can wrap. The robot has a total of 15 degrees of freedom and, therefore, for the task of positioning the tool centre point in a bi-dimensional Cartesian space with a specific attitude, it has 10 degrees of redundancy. The robot is designed to operate in harsh environments and high temperatures and can deploy itself up to about 4.8 m. This paper presents the requirements that drove the design of the robot, the main aspects of the mechanical and electronic systems, the control strategy, and the results of preliminary experimental tests performed with a physical prototype to evaluate the robot performances.