This paper describes an optimized magnetic wheel solution for use in a novel grit-blasting robot intended to be used on the hulls of ships. The grit-blasting robot was designed for conducting surface operations on newly-built ships in dry yards. It can be adapted to curvatures of up to 0.833 m−1; can achieve a total payload of 120 kg and can also be steered. The proposed magnetic wheel solution for robots with such payloads and surface adaptability has not been seen in previous work.
As the magnetic force acting on a magnetic wheel is very sensitive to the working conditions, a mathematical model was built to derive the exact force requirements taking into account the mechanical structure of the robot and its disposition on the ship's hull. In this paper, the design of the wheels was optimized based on the model. Wheels were manufactured according to the optimized results and a prototype robot was constructed. The design was then validated using locomotion tests.