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Gas pipe robot reaches repairs landmark

15 Mar 23 Robot technology for fixing gas pipes has now repaired 50,000 joints across the UK and the USA.

CISBOT in action, doing its stuff
CISBOT in action, doing its stuff

US robotics specialist ULC Technologies developed the Cast Iron Joint Sealing Robot, or CISBOT, to repair or upgrade leaking and aged mechanically bolted or lead jute joints in a gas pipe.

The technology allows for repairs to be made to gas pipes while minimising disruption to road users and preventing disruption to customers’ gas supply.

Over the past 14 years of operations CISBOT has now fixed 50,000 joints (equivalent to 183 km) inside live gas mains. Of these, 33,000 joints were in the UK (or 120km), with the remainder in the USA.

The CISBOT can travel up to 450 metres from a single excavation in the road, resulting in reduced possession of carriageway.

ULC Technologies has partnered with gas distribution companies including National Grid, SGN and Cadent. CISBOT has been deployed since 2009 under some of the UK’s busiest streets, including Parliament Square and Sloane Square in London and Edinburgh city centre.

"We are thrilled to reach this milestone and to have played a role in the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas to communities across the country," said ULC general manager Steve Green. "CISBOT has been a game-changer for the gas pipeline industry to support global net-zero commitments by reducing methane emissions through internal joint sealing. We are continuing to develop a suite of technologies to support the energy industry, as well as continually improving our systems to meet the needs of our customers."

From a single streetworks excavation, CISBOT can travel up to 450 metres to fix leaky joints
From a single streetworks excavation, CISBOT can travel up to 450 metres to fix leaky joints

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