A robot has been used by Scotia Gas Networks (SGN) to fix gas mains from the inside for the first time in the UK.
The firm said the technology will enable it to fix leaks in some of its larger iron gas mains – which tend to be in densely populated, traffic heavy areas – without digging up roads or shutting the mains off.
The CISBOT system was developed by New York firm ULC Pipeline Robotics and has been adapted for use in the UK by SGN. The robot is launched down a vertical tube before folding itself into the target pipe and heading to the leaky joint. Once in place it unfurls its robotic arm, drills into the joint and injects a sealant.
The technology first saw action in Britain earlier in October, under test conditions at Dartford in Kent. The robot went next to Woolwich Barracks in South London where SGN is currently putting the robot through its paces in a real world setting.
SGN Network Director Paul Denniff said: “We really want to transform the way we work in the street – we want to develop innovative solutions to repairing pipes which are causing us issues, rather than digging lots of holes in the ground.”
Gus McIntosh, Innovation and New Technology Manager for SGN added: “We’re sharing what we’ve learnt with the UK’s other gas distribution companies… to maximise the benefits of trenchless technology.”