Since the launch of the market's first 5 Function Electric Underwater Manipulator Arm, CSIP, a UK based company specialising in the design, development and manufacturing of remote controlled robotic systems for hostile environments, has developed a lightweight version of the product following a customer requirement.
As the only 5 Function Electric Manipulator Arm available globally, ARM 5E has created much interest from major companies involved in offshore operations. With the ability to design and manufacture systems that are specific to the needs of its clients, CSIP were commissioned to design and engineer a lightweight arm to be fitted to an AUV.
Using mostly 6082 T6 anodised aluminium alloy to construct the arm, it weighs just 12kg in water, 4.5kg lighter than the original arm launched in 2009. The upper arm has been designed with a sandwiched closed cell foam core structure, adding buoyancy, and all component voids are retained as atmosphere air spaces as opposed to the more traditional oil filled and compensated spaces. All these modifications have resulted in the weight of the arm being drastically reduced when in water, and increased its stability when operating on an ROV or AUV, a critical factor in the correct function of the vehicle.
CSIP Managing Director, Simon Gilligan said: "Since the launch of the world's first 5 Function Electric Underwater Manipulator Arm last year we have received many enquiries for the product, with orders reflecting its popularity.
"With an experienced team of experts we can specifically design our products to meet a client's needs. This new configuration demonstrates the ability to adapt the design to meet particular applications.
"Modularity is a key design feature, allowing simple configuration changes and easy on-site repairability. The arm has been made considerably lighter allowing increased stability and greater accuracy and precision in operation. There is currently no other arm like this on the market and demonstrates why CSIP is one of the leaders in the market."
Rated for depths down to 300 meters, the lightweight arm has a slew of 120° and a lift capacity of 12kg. The arm can be mounted in the same footprint as a conventional hydraulic arm but does not require the use of a skid, valve pack or hydraulic pump. This saves weight and allows for far greater vehicle manoeuvrability.
Arm 5E has force and position feedback via closed-loop software and wrist camera options are available, a requirement for AUV operations.