As the development of mine, oil and gas resources exploitation in the ocean, the underwater equipments work more and more deeply. With the support of the Chinese high technology develop program (the 863 program), we study and design a new underwater 3500m electrical driven manipulator. The manipulator features modular integration joints, open architecture and simple centralized control system. The working system design is discussed in detail. Experiments results demonstrated the manipulator work ability. It can be mounted on working class remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) or Autonomous underwater vehicle (AUVs).


Ocean is paid more and more attention today, so the underwater vehicle with manipulator is regarded as one of the most important tools in ocean exploring. Manipulators are often used in underwater tasks such as salvage, maintenance and so on. In terms of driving types, there are two kinds of underwater manipulators. One is hydraulic, these manipulators feature large power, high ratio of lift force to weigh and relatively easy to implement hydraulic pressure compensation. The Work System Package (WSP) of Naval Ocean Systems Center is a famous and typical remote underwater manipulation system (Wernli, 1979). The system can exchange tools in the field without being brought back to surface of water. There are common drawbacks in hydraulic manipulator. The hydraulic system must contain large hydraulic power unit and complex valves, easy contamination environment and high price. Another kind of underwater manipulator is electric manipulator. Small output power, high precision, clean and low price is characteristic of these manipulators. A United Kingdom company CSIP, part of the ECA Group, has launched a new five-function electric underwater 3000m manipulator arm(ARM-5E);Powered with 24V DC and 3A, It has a lift capacity of 25kg. The manipulator can be used to do such missions: underwater intervention, underwater manipulation, object retrieval.

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