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The goal of this project was to continue the development of a temporary rail system for a robotic tank inspection device. The tanks to be inspected are in a hazardous environment that is dangerous to work in and navigate. A remotely controlled robot could reduce the need for manual labor in the tanks to initial setup, final removal, and touch ups. Similar setups have been created for inspecting tanks, but they are permanent installations and are meant only for inspections.

The goal of the current phase of the project was to employ a new concept for supporting the rail system, create a working prototype, and analyze the effects of loads on the design. The rail system must be economical, quickly deployable, and safe. By modifying a spring compressor, a bracket was created that securely clamps to a tank service flange. From the bracket, a hanger was attached that allows PVC to be used as the rail for the inspection robot. This design is an improvement in terms of ease of installation and removal, practicality, and simplicity. Some issues to be resolved include decreasing flange-to-rail clearance, making the rail more rigid, and wiring the robot to the cart that traverses the rails. When the system is put to use, it will create better working conditions for many laborers.

Publication Date



Mechanical and nuclear engineering, Rail, Inspection, Robotic, Tank


Engineering | Mechanical Engineering | Nuclear Engineering

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Dr. John E. Speich

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Allen Valencia

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Joe Picataggi

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Jessica Gomez

VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters


© The Author(s)

Date of Submission

August 2016

Robotic Inspection of Geometrically Complex Tank Systems