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Hovering and remote control of a flexible hose

Hovering and remote control of a flexible hose

(OP)
I have recently invented and patented a device for computer aided remote manipulation of the flexible hose. If I put it as simple as possible, it is actually a computer controlled and remotely guided flying hose driven by many separately controlled water jets, in general pointing downwards, distributed along the whole length of the hose.
Idea for the device was initially created with firefighting in mind, but later some new usage possibilities were discovered (for example: remote maintenance of roofs and large solar panel surfaces).

Article with the description of the invention is published on the link.

YouTube video of first tests with a prototype of one unit.

I'm looking forward to receive expert opinions and hints about the feasibility and possible length of the device.
Any new usage ideas are also welcome.

Thanks in advance smile

Independent Innovator Davor Eberl

RE: Hovering and remote control of a flexible hose

Great idea. Looks like a control problem on par with helicopter control. Unless your hose is very torsionally stiff, you will need to think carefully about how to control torque applied to the hose by each nozzle. It may be easier if each nozzle was to be extended further from the axis of the hose (that would increase the torque when the tip of the nozzle is vectored.

Perhaps each nozzle could have a "self righting" mechanism to locally correct un-commanded rotations of the hose? As an example, model helicopters usually have gyros to correct un-commanded rotations of the helicopter without help from the pilot.

je suis charlie

RE: Hovering and remote control of a flexible hose

(OP)
I'm happy that you like the idea.

There should be no torque around the axis of the hose if all of the units have their centers of gravity on the axis and if the jet is perpendicular to the axis. A small torque that is created when the nozzle is turned and when it is not perpendicular to the axis anymore, has no effect around the axis. With a very short handle (r), it only has a slight tendency to bend the hose, which is not very easy to do, when it is pressurized.

You correctly noticed that manual balancing and preventing the device from tipping over would probably be a difficult task for the operator. The flight controllers that I intend to install into every single unit are otherwise used for controlling the flight of multi-rotor drones and planes. They have the auto-level function and are supposed to take care of the balancing.

Most of the people (potential investors and future users) don't believe that this thing can fly high and in a stable and controlled manner - as if the distance to the ground would have any influence on the size of the thrust forces smile
For people like that, I have to build a more convincing prototype. Unfortunately, this task requires considerable funds that I currently don't have in my possession (unemployed).

RE: Hovering and remote control of a flexible hose

"as if the distance to the ground would have any influence on the size of the thrust forces"
Maybe not but the mass of hose and water to be lifted increases, the pressure at the nozzle decreases according to the "head" height and viscous losses increase with hose length.

je suis charlie

RE: Hovering and remote control of a flexible hose

(OP)
I'm aware of the opposing hydrostatic pressure which has to be subtracted from the pump exit pressure depending on the height. This pressure drop will be relatively small in comparison to the selected operating pressure.

I'm also aware of the pressure drop caused by the friction between the water and the hose. Calculations are showing that the same thrust force of the jet can be achieved at a lower flow rate when we increase the pressure. This also means smaller nozzle diameters and slower flow of the water trough the hose. So, the pressure shouldn't drop drastically along the hose if the selected operating pressure of the system is sufficiently high.

My point with the distance to the ground is that the device will behave exactly the same hovering half a meter above the ground as if we extend it above the Grand Canyon abyss.

RE: Hovering and remote control of a flexible hose

I think gruntguru made an excellent point about torsion control. The holes would have to be perfect to have the water jet apply no torsion. Even lateral motion will be a problem if the hose twists a bit. On top of that the pressure will drop along the length of the hose.

If it weren't for the video I would say we are being trolled. Even so the video shows the hose with lots of helping strings and it requires a lot of power. I don't think this is practical for just lifting hose.

However, the is a company called WorxAmerica that robotically cleans the insides of rail road tank cars. What they would like to due is clean the inside of the big storage tanks themselves using a robot spray cleaner. The problem is that there are obstacles for a ground based robot that make cleaning from the ground difficult.

The oil and other petrol products storage tanks must be cleaned periodically. It is dangerous work done by men in environmental suits with oxygen tanks. The temperature inside are hot in the Texas sun. There are OSHA limits to how long a person can be in hot areas. People die cleaning these tanks.

If your flying hose could fly a nozzle around the tank to clean it by remote control then you may have something the oil and gas companies would want to use.

Peter Nachtwey
Delta Computer Systems
http://www.deltamotion.com

RE: Hovering and remote control of a flexible hose

(OP)
Thanks for the suggestion and for the company name PNachtwey.
Cleaning the interior of tanks and reservoirs was already considered as one of the usage possibilities (also mentioned in the article).

RE: Hovering and remote control of a flexible hose

Why not try an underwater application. We use divers to pressure blast ship hulls, clean marine piling, etc. Maybe you could put a water-powered de-scaler on the head?

RE: Hovering and remote control of a flexible hose

(OP)
Thanks for the suggestion Buggar. I have already tried to contact several companies dealing with underwater technology but I have never received any feedback.
If you are aware of a company that might be interested, please be so kind to let me know.

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