University of Cape Town: Intelligent Diagnostic Robotic Systems Was Successfully Tested

Since 2021, Ural Power Engineering Institute has been developing innovative diagnostic robotic solutions for electrical equipment in cooperation with Iriklinskaya Hydroelectric Power Plant affiliated to Inter RAO – Electric Power Plants company.

The project is aimed at improving the accuracy of detecting faults and defects in electrical equipment by using a cyber-physical system that includes robotic packages and an intelligent automated system for collecting, storing, and processing data. The proposed solution enables also the diagnostics to be automated and thus contributes to the reduction of industrial injuries among the maintenance personnel at Iriklinskaya Power Plant.

“Cyber-physical systems are an effective diagnostic tool for hard-to-access high-voltage equipment when manual inspection and maintenance are associated with high risk for human health. In particular, automated diagnostics of live parts, insulation and support structures of flexible connections is an urgent task for the Iriklinskaya Power Plant due to the unique design of the switchgear cells in the form of flexible connections passing over the engine room with the live parts fastened to the supports located on the roof of the boiler room and to the chimneys of the power plant,” says Aleksandra Khalyasmaa, a project manager and Associate Professor of the Department of Electrical Engineering.

In November, a multi-rotor drone was successfully tested. A distinctive feature of this system is that the unmanned vehicle performs a completely automated diagnostics of high-voltage equipment without direct control by an operator.

“Ural Power Engineering Institute is actively involved in projects aimed at digitizing the industry through introducing robotic and automated systems at power facilities. Such projects are significant on the global industrial scale and define the profile of the Ural energy research,” says Sergey Bychkov, Director of the Energetika Educational and Scientific Center.

During the next stage, a ground-type mobile robotic industrial platform for diagnosing the open switchgear of the Iriklinskaya Power Plant will be tested and an intelligent automated system will be designed for collecting, storing, and processing data received by the developed robotic systems. The project will be completed in December 2023.

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