Path Planning for a Robotic Arm Sand-blasting System

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Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Information and Automation, 2008, pp. 1067 - 1072
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Steel bridges are vulnerable to corrosion and their surfaces have to be de-rusted and repainted regularly. Since the process is complicated, expensive and the removed paints are harmful to human workerspsila health; the use of an automatic robotic system would be an attractive alternative. This paper presents an approach for planning paths for a robotic arm used in the sand-blasting operation. A hexagonal topology-based coverage pattern is adopted to reduce the amount of un-blasted areas and an editing process is included to confine the blasted areas within desirable boundaries. Furthermore, a genetic algorithm is employed to obtain an effective path with minimum arm travel distances and magnitude of turns. Collisions to obstacles are alleviated by making use of the force-field strategy. The effectiveness of the proposed methods is verified by simulations based on an industrial robot arm model and a complex bridge environment.
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