ROV Manipulators

ROV manipulators, robot arms, grip claws, … etc. They have many names but they’re all in the same family of robotic applications for your ROV.  These ROV manipulators work similarly to human arms and hands but are operated remotely by ROV pilots. Here’s a simplified explanation of ROV Manipulator uses:

Operating Principles

ROV grip claws usually have several joints, which can be controlled remotely by the ROV pilot or operator (just like the ROV itself). The operator controls these joints through a combination of joysticks and buttons on the remote console. The manipulator arms may have various tools and grippers at their end, including claw-like devices, suction cups, or specialized tools for specific tasks. The standard grip claw we use for SEAMOR ROVs is the Dual Function Gripper. We have had a lot of success retrieving discarded plastics and fishing gear during ocean clean ups with our Gripper. However, this manipulator can have more or less joints based on the tasks your business needs to perform.

Average Size of ROV Grip Claws

The size of ROV grip claws can vary significantly depending on the type of ROV and its intended use. Smaller inspection-class ROVs that complete tasks like pipeline inspection or underwater structure inspection may have relatively compact manipulator arms. In contrast, larger work-class ROVs used for heavy-duty tasks like subsea construction or deep-sea exploration may have larger, more robust manipulators. The size can range from a few feet to several meters in length. The SEAMOR Dual Function Gripper, in its base format, does not take up a lot of space on your ROV.

Applications of ROV Manipulators

ROV grip claws are useful for a wide range of tasks, including: search and recovery, maintenance, inspection, repairs, and scientific research. The SEAMOR Gripper’s usefulness comes, in part, from its 360 continuous wrist rotation and firm grip. We mount the Gripper’s jaws for optimal gripping position, turn objects for placement, or act as a winding tool. This ROV manipulator is ideal for picking up items. The jaws take hold of the item and the thrusters of our ROVs do the carrying.

Inspection-class ROVs (such as ours) are often equipped with smaller manipulator arms for tasks such as:
  • Visual Inspection. They are a tool to adjust the position of stationary cameras and lights to get a better view of the inspection area.
  • Sample Collection. Collecting small samples or specimens for scientific analysis.
  • Object Retrieval. Picking up objects of interest, debris, or lost equipment from the seafloor. We’re proud plastic pollution collectors at SEAMOR.
  • Manipulating Valves and Controls. In some cases, they can operate valves or controls on underwater equipment or structures.