The paper shows the results of a theoretical and experimental research activity oriented to the design and the realization of a of a low cost pneumatronic prototype, proposed for tasks of pipes and ducts inspection. Geometries and sizes of ducts are significantly different and for their inspection very flexible units are needed. Different researchers propose several solutions: the present proposal is specifically oriented to an automated pneumatic low cost unit. The prototype is conceived to emulate the grub’s motion: variable geometry components are deformed under the action of pneumatic power supply, following a programmable logic actuation. A fluidic muscle is used to generate the motion and two deformable air chambers are arranged at the ends of the muscle in order to assure the anchorage to the internal pipe wall. The automatic phases of the motion are managed by an external micro-PLC, allowing flexible and bi-directional motions. The unit is equipped with a micro-camera and can be also equipped with micro grippers and micro mechanical tools. The design and the optimization of the prototype’s mechanical structure is discussed and related to the mechatronic approach applied to perform the cyclical movement.

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