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PC Based remote operated ultrasonic crawler

The Silverwing (UK) Ltd Scorpion is a ruggedised PC based, remote operated, ultrasonic crawler designed to allow cost effective thickness measurements on carbon steel above ground storage tanks, spheres, risers, rigs, steelwork and shipping without the need for costly scaffolding or rope access services.
The ruggedised, weather resistant computer, designed and manufactured exclusively for Silverwing UK, has the ultrasonic pulser/receiver, digitiser and crawler control circuit built inside it. A single umbilical cable connects the crawler to the computer and a 30 Ahr battery pack provides sufficient power to both for 10 hours continuous use. The touch screen ultrasonic controls have been designed to closely resemble a standard 'A' scan flaw detector, minimising additional training requirements for existing ultrasonic technicians. Ultrasonic readings are taken using a unique dry coupled wheel probe, manufactured under licence from Imperial Marketing and Exploration Ltd. The transducer can be supplied in either dual or single crystal form and at standard frequencies of 2.5MHz, 5MHz or 10MHz.
The systems Automatic Gain Control (AGC) capability plus choice of monitoring either initial pulse to first backwall echo or echo to assist in minimising measurement errors caused by varying paint thicknesses on base material thicknesses of 0.25 inch to 2.5 inch.


Thickness measurements are stored, in real time directly to a dedicated database which features automated functions such as statistical production of mean, minimum and maximum plate / course thickness. As well as pre-formatted report layouts the software has a facility allowing the operator to export the results to Microsoft Excel and then use its facilities in the production of comprehensive reports.

The low weight, low profile design of the crawler, coupled with the latest generation magnets ensure good adhesion to the surface. Four independently powered drive wheels, coated in a special rubber compound, give maximum grip on either wet or dry surfaces and allow the unit to easily mount a 0.4 inch high weld profile. This combination of magnetic attraction, multiple drive wheels and dry coupled transducer means that the unit is capable of being driven vertically, horizontally and even inverted without the loss of inspection capabilities. As couplant is not required, combined with the use of lightweight cables, the height restrictions inherent in other systems do not apply, allowing inspection at heights of 100 feet or more.
Supplied with both an auto-ranging power supply and external battery pack the Scorpion system provides the inspection industry with a totally self contained, rapid, economic tool for the inspection of remote structures.

The Scorpion system comprises just 4 components including the ultrasonic capabilities unlike some other, more expensive systems which require an additional ultrasonic flaw detector as well as an external power source.

Screenshot of readout

Technical and Performance Specification
Patent No 5,619,136
Dimensions Length 15.5" / 385mm x Width 9.75" / 222mm x Height 4" / 102mm
Weight without cables 10.5 lbs. / 4.75 Kg
Adhesion Neodymium iron boron magnets mounted in centre of carriage
Pull off force 30lbs / 13.6 Kg
Drive four (4) independent 12 volt Dc motors
Drive wheels coated in special non-slip synthetic rubber compound
Speed 1 inch/second / 25mm/second
Umbilical Cable

length 100 feet / 30 metre

weight 8.6 lbs / 3.9 Kg

Transducer Dry coupled wheel using "Ro-Cee" rubber 5Mhz dual twin compression transducer
Near surface resolution 0.1 inch / 2.5mm
Power supply 30 Ah sealed lead acid gel battery pack
Test time 10 hours complete system
Control Console Ruggedised site computer with built in ultrasonic pulser / receiver / digitiser with crawler electronic control, positional encoder interface and keypad steering unit. The computer comprises Celeron 400MHz P3 processor, 128Mb RAM, 10Gb HDD, 12.1 Touch screen, and an external USB FD for data transfer
Software Operator friendly UT controls, real time 'A' scan display, Automatic Gain Control (AGC), Echo to Echo or First Backwall options, Dedicated data base structure with automated storage, Automatic statistics function, Export to Excel function