1 incidents
    Loss of gas – Ingham 10 Jul 2024 12: 30 PM

    Manchester: how a robot fixed a gas main under school playground as children and staff carried on with their lessons

    09 January 2023

    Media contacts

    Kevin Hegarty

    mail [email protected]

    Telephone0797 069 4897

    A robot has been deployed to fix a gas pipe under a school playground in Manchester, enabling lessons and play to continue without interruption.

    Cadent, which manages the local gas distribution network, called in Cast Iron Sealing Bot (CISBOT) for the work at St Philip’s CE Primary School.

    Cadent was called to the school in Hulme after staff had reported a smell of gas.

    Two gas mains run under part of the playground, the car park and the playing field.

    This location obviously presents major challenges. It might have otherwise required multiple excavations and much disruption to school life.

    CISBOT, developed and operated by ULC Technologies, was launched into the metallic gas main from a single small pit excavated on the school grounds.

    In-built cameras enabled the highly-trained human operator – working from a cabin above ground – to move the tethered robot along 300 metres of underground pipe.

    With gas remaining on at all times, it checked and sealed around 83 joints.

    This means everything was completed safely without any need to impact school life: lessons carried on and the children enjoyed playtime throughout.

    Cadent's Marc Chester-Lees said: "Using CISBOT on this job meant that, without interrupting school life, we could check and seal the joints on around 300 metres of pipes which run under the playground and playing field of the school7".

    “We’ve used robotic technology like this now on a lot of jobs across our North West network – under very busy roads, for example, as well as a golf course”.

    “This a first time for a school playground though.”

    “We’ve used robotic technology like this now on a lot of jobs across our North West network – under very busy roads, for example, as well as a golf course”.

    “This a first time for a school playground though.”

    With some inquisitive children spotting the eco-cabins and work going on in their school grounds, members of Cadent and ULC’s teams went into the school following the project to educate Years 4 to 6 on the robot that was beneath their feet and carbon monoxide safety.

    During the day, the children got a chance to drive ULC’s large VGC, a robotic inspection crawler which is inserted into live gas mains to inspect and identify features inside the pipeline.

    Alex Pender, Senior Communications Specialist at ULC, said: “Thank you to St Philips Primary School for allowing us to come in and educate the children on gas safety awareness and how our CISBOT partnership with Cadent is helping to minimise disruption in local communities.

    “We enjoyed the questions, innovative thinking from the pupils, and drawings of their own robots. Hopefully, we will see some of these children lead the way with engineering in the future at ULC or Cadent.”

    Marc Chester-Lees added: "The children were very inquisitive and asked a lot of excellent questions throughout the day. It was great to be able to provide this day’s activities as one way for us to say thank you to the school for being so accommodating to the work we had to do there.”

    MORE: Manchester Evening News reports on deployment of CISBOT under Manchester city centre streets


    Cadent is the UK’s largest gas distribution network with a 200-year legacy. We are in a unique position to build on strong foundations whilst encouraging the curiosity to think differently and the courage to embrace change. Day to day we continue to operate, maintain and innovate the UK’s largest gas network, transporting gas safely and protecting people in an emergency. Our skilled engineers and specialists remain committed to the communities we serve, working day and night to ensure gas reaches 11 million homes from Cumbria to North London and the Welsh Borders to East Anglia, to keep your energy flowing.

    Future of Gas:

    Here at Cadent we support the Government’s plans to reach Net Zero by 2050. That means we’re backing the introduction of hydrogen as a low carbon alternative to natural gas for the future. We know people love the controllability of gas and, with our network already in place, it makes sense to switch to the lower carbon alternative offered by hydrogen, which we believe can keep homes and businesses warm for generations to come.

    Cadent manages the national gas emergency service free phone line on behalf of the gas industry - 0800 111 999*

    Cadent Gas Ltd is owned by a consortium of global investors.

    *All calls are recorded and may be monitored.

    incident alert



    Smell Gas?

    0800 111 999*

    Aa Accessibility