Snake arm or ophiomorphic robots, are currently in use in the aerospace and nuclear industries for visual inspection in tight or restricted access within wing structures, or in nuclear reactors where direct human access is not possible due to restricted access and the hazardous environment.
However, the current snake arm robots cannot lock their position or react torque meaning only inspection, light cleaning or laser cutting can be performed. Often repairs and/or modifications are required but cannot be performed due to the fact current snake arm robots cannot machine material, or drill and tap holes.
Punk Couplings Limited has invented and patented a modular ophiomorphic robot that can be manoeuvred within restricted access structures using ‘nose following’ control software. The Punk® Bot can also lock its position as well as transmit torque via a central flexible driveshaft that is connected to a tool holder to allow conventional machining at the tool face.