Fundamental study of a scanning-type suction cup
This paper describes a scanning-type suction cup (SSC) specially developed for a wall climbing robot. Existing vacuum-type suction cups cannot cling to wall surfaces across cracks or gaps even though they perform relatively well on rough wall materials. To solve this basic problem, we have developed a new vacuum-type suction cup, abbreviated SSC, which has multiple suction cup cells and a distributor connecting each cell to the vacuum pump sequentially. The SSC requires suction cup cells with special characteristics. Each suction cup cell must maintain almost the same suction force when disconnected from the vacuum pump. The SSC has the following features: (1) When a cell is over a crack or gap, suction force is generated using unaffected cells. (2) Since while on a crack or gap the suction cup cells are no longer connected to the vacuum pump, the energy loss for these cells is very small. (3) The small energy loss makes it possible to use a small, lightweight vacuum pump suitable for a self-contained wall climbing robot. In this paper, the basic characteristics of the SSC are presented through simulation and results of experiments.
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