Snake-arm robots are highly flexible robots ideal for working in confined and hazardous spaces.
Driven by wire ropes, and controlled by OC Robotics’ proprietary software, snake-arm robots are able to traverse cluttered environments and conduct activities such as inspection, fastening and cleaning when integrated with off-the-shelf or custom design tools.
Snake-arm robots are ideally suited for confined and hazardous applications, as the motors, electronics and control systems are situated outside of the environment, with only the arm itself being deployed into the work space.
Snake-arm robots are designed with a hollow core, allowing cabling, hoses and other equipment associated with the tool to be routed through the centre of the arm.
Spatial Snake-arm Robots
Spatial snake-arm robots are designed with two degrees of freedom at each joint, allowing the arm to 'snake' through the environment.
For applications where access is through a thick wall or ‘dead’ area, a rigid base link can be integrated with the arm – this not only improves the reach of the arm, but also maintains the articulated section for work inside the environment where its dexterity and flexibility are required.
Spatial arms are often mounted on linear introduction axes from which they are deployed. For hazardous environments, the snake-arm can be sleeved and pressurised, preventing dust and dirt from damaging the arm. The sleeve can also be used for radioactive environments to prevent the ingress of contamination.
OC Robotics has a standard suite of products which includes the Series II, X125 spatial snake-arm system.
Planar Snake-arm Robots
As well as spatial snake-arm robots, OC Robotics has also designed and developed planar snake-arm robots.
Planar snake-arm robots, as the name suggests, are only able to articulate in one plane. Planar snake-arm robots can be mounted on mobile vehicles or multi degree of freedom introduction axes allowing the arm to roll, yaw and pitch to provide the same coverage that could be achieved with a spatial arm.
The advantage of planar snake-arm robots is their ability to coil around the actuator pack, making them relatively compact. This makes them ideal for applications where space is limited, preventing the installation of a linear axis required for a spatial snake-arm.