Cadent uses a ‘gas-bot’ to repair aging gas mains

Supplied by ULC Pipeline Robotics, CISBOT requires small excavations to enable it to enter and leave the gas mains through a special insertion tube. Once inside the gas mains, it is remotely operated by operators working in an above-ground vehicle or eco-friendly cabin powered by solar panels.

Cadent uses a ‘gas-bot’ to repair aging gas mains
Cadent uses a ‘gas-bot’ to repair aging gas mains

Cadent uses a ‘gas-bot’ to repair aging gas mains

The CISBOT (Cast Iron Sealing Bot) was used in Shendish Manor, Apsley, Hertfordshire, which allowed Cadent to carry out the repair work on the pipeline which runs underneath a golf course and through land that is home to deer. The approach avoided disrupting rail services, the golf course or local wildlife.

Supplied by ULC Pipeline Robotics, CISBOT requires small excavations to enable it to enter and leave the gas mains through a special insertion tube. Once inside the gas mains, it is remotely operated by operators working in an above-ground vehicle or eco-friendly cabin powered by solar panels.

The robot travels along the pipe and injects a special sealant into aging pipe joints. This process limits the risk of future gas escapes and can also extend the life of a gas main by several decades. The robot is capable to work inside live gas mains with the gas still flowing, and thus local gas supplies do not need to be disrupted.

Although it’s currently not suitable for every type of gas maintenance or repair job, CISBOT is being increasingly employed by Cadent across its networks. The technology has previously proven successful in London, including in The Strand and Oxford Street.

BIM+ quoted Eddie Gabbott, Cadent repair supervisor, who managed the project, as saying that this is the first time they’ve used CISBOT in a rural location and just as it’s been a game-changer in urban locations, it can also revolutionize the way they do things in rural locations.

ULC Robotics project manager Phil Pearson said that after debuting CISBOT in Hertfordshire in Letchworth earlier this year, they’ve taken things to the next level with this project, which has shown CISBOT can be equally effective in rural as well as urban locations.

It helped them fix a leak that could have disrupted both local gas and railway services without causing disruption to golfers and local wildlife. Those who may have concerns about robotic technology removing the human element from gas operations can rest easy.

CISBOT needs a team of highly skilled human operators above ground to operate it, not to mention all the support staff involved in planning and facilitating the work.