George Mills

Profile

I completed my undergraduate Masters in Mechanical Engineering here at Leeds University where my 3rd and 4th year projects focused on the design and development of miniature robotic systems. Initally my work involved the design of small structures using PCB techniques to create 'Pop-up Robots', a rapid prototyping technique that could be applied to maunfacturing and assembly of robotic systems. In my final year I lead a team project working towards the design and development of a robot for the inspection of confined spaces. The final design was a skid steering walking robot which had just 30mm cross-section, once 3D printed the linkage mechanism required no assembly could be up and running after the addition of just two motors. My time spent working on my undergraduate projects caused me to develop a passion for the intricacies of miniaturised robotics, this lead me to further pursue research in the field and to apply for the PhD program.

Research interests

I am now a provisional PhD student currently working towards developing in-pipe robotic systems for the inspection of the National Transmission System, a network of high pressure natural gas pipelines running at up to 94bar with a flow rate of up to 20 m/s. My research shares aligned goals with Project GRAID, (Gas Robotic Agile Inspection Device)  and aims to design and build a robotic inspection device that can determine the true condition of pipeline assets in below-ground high pressure gas installations across the National Transmission System (NTS). This technological leap will allow National Grid Gas to cut asset maintenance costs by eliminating unnecessary pipework excavation and will generate carbon savings of more than 2,000 tonnes annually, equivalent to the emissions from almost 500 UK households.

The current robotic platfrom for Project GRAID is being developed by Synthotech Ltd, an innovative robotics company who specialise in live gas environments, their system is specified to inspect pipes in the diameter range of 750-900mm My research is focused on the development of a robotic system for the inspection of smaller pipes within the same network, starting at diameters of just 50mm.

Project GRAID: http://www.nationalgridconnecting.com/Robotic_innovation/

Synthotech: http://www.synthotech.com/

Qualifications

  • Master of Engineering (MEng)
  • SOLIDWORKS Associate (CSWA)

Research groups and institutes

  • Robotics at Leeds
  • Institute of Design, Robotics and Optimisation