Periodic paint removal and re-application is necessary to protect steel girder bridges against corrosion. The paint removal operation for bridge maintenance, however, is hazardous to the workers involved in the process and the natural environment. A particular problem is that certain types of paint used on bridges in the past contain toxic lead. The Robotic Bridge Paint Removal (RBPR) project was initiated under a grant agreement with Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to study the important factors related to the robotic paint removal process. During the design and development, the unique shape of the bridge beam and the requirement for dust and debris containment caused many problems. These problems, in turn, provided challenges to produce innovative solutions. The robotic paradigm was identified as an especially effective approach for spot cleaning corroded paint on bridge structures. A vision-based computer control architecture was developed that provides the adaptive remote control capabilities for the spot cleaning process. Field tests were conducted throughout the project to evaluate design concepts, identify areas that could be improved, and demonstrate the final working prototype. The results of these demonstrations indicate the application of the robotic paradigm to bridge paint removal has real potential to: 1) improve workers' safety, 2) protect the natural environment during the paint removal process, and 3) minimize the risks to the general public. This project would not have been possible without the close partnership between the North Carolina State University Construction Automation and Robotics Laboratory (CARL) and the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). The NCDOT not only loaned many of the key hardware components to the project, they also participated in reconfiguring, upgrading and field testing the new system.

  • Corporate Authors:

    North Carolina State University, Raleigh

    Department of Civil Engineering
    Raleigh, NC  United States  27695-7908

    Federal Highway Administration

    Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, 6300 Georgetown Pike
    McLean, VA  United States  22101
  • Authors:
    • Bernold, L E
    • Moon, S
  • Publication Date: 1995-12


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 33 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00720249
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA-RD-95-070, 3H2d3027
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Apr 22 1996 12:00AM