Robot Works Below Iconic Scotland Street to Repair Pipeline

December 2015 Vol. 242, No. 12

Special to Pipeline & Gas Journal

ULC Robotics, a leading robotics, energy services and research/development company focused on the energy and utility industries, deployed its Cast Iron Joint Sealing Robot (CISBOT) for the first time in Scotland on busy George Street in Edinburgh this past summer. Similar to Fifth Avenue in New York City, the visitors and high-end shop owners along George Street had minimal disturbance to their normal routines because CISBOT because is virtually invisible.

In conjunction with U.K. gas distribution network SGN, CISBOT carried out advanced maintenance in over 1,965 feet of gas pipe that delivers gas to businesses and residents in one of the city’s most high profile and central locations. Unlike traditional methods of rehabilitating or replacing cast iron gas mains, the CISBOT robot enters the live, large-diameter cast iron gas mains through small excavation. The robot’s advanced technology enables it to repair joints while minimizing disruption to the public.

“In George Street, we carried out maintenance on gas pipe. The work took around six weeks, however the use of this technology made a difference in minimizing disruption, as we only needed to make two excavations in the road,” said Matt Ferguson, Team Manager for SGN. “In fact, 96% of our work was unseen as it took place underground.”

By using the CISBOT robotic technology on George Street, the non-intrusive work performed on live gas mains meant that many businesses along the busy section of the street benefited because their gas services remained intact and online during the procedure. Furthermore, the work done with CISBOT reduces the risk for gas leaks. Because there were no large-scale excavations, greenhouse gas emissions were also greatly reduced.

“Gas utilities in the United States and in the UK are dedicated to making pipeline safety and reliability a paramount priority,” said Gregory Penza, president of ULC Robotics which is located in Hauppauge, Long Island. “CISBOT technology helps gas utilities, such as SGN, maintain the safety and reliability of large diameter cast iron gas mains by renewing the joints, where gas is most likely to escape.”

In addition to the George Street project, ULC Robotics performs year-round operations for SGN and now has two CISBOT systems dedicated to the gas utility’s field operations. CISBOT is currently operated on two continents in highly populated areas including London, Edinburgh, New York City and Boston to seal joints in live gas mains.

SGN operates over 74,000 km of gas mains and services in Scotland and the south of England, serving 5.8 million customers.

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