North West: robot deployed to check and seal joints in underground gas mains

in your area

  • Salford and Oldham – and coming soon Manchester – join New York, Boston, London and Edinburgh as locations for deployment of ‘Cisbot’
  • Robot works underground and unseen, checking and sealing ageing joints on the network, with no traffic issues or disruption to gas supplies
  • Two trials under way now, with 4km of gas mains under central Manchester already identified for this non-disruptive work in 2020
A robot which works unseen, underground to check and seal ageing joints in gas mains has been deployed in the North West for the first time.
Cisbot (Cast Iron Sealing Bot) was first used under busy streets of New York and Boston, and later in London and Edinburgh. It has now been deployed in Salford and Oldham, with plans for it to move into central Manchester in 2020.
This robot brings massive benefits, including:
  • No need to close busy roads – it is remotely-operated above ground from a special vehicle positioned beside the carriageway.
  • No disruption to gas supplies – it operates in ‘live’ gas pipes, with gas continuing to flow safely and reliably to local homes.
  • It works fast too, completing in a couple of weeks work that would take months or even years using traditional ‘open cut’ methods.

READ how the Manchester Evening News reported on this story

Cadent, the gas network which manages 21,000 miles of mains that distribute gas to 2.7 million properties in North West England, is working with local authorities in Manchester and beyond to identify sites suitable for Cisbot.
Adam Hassall, who manages the Cadent team which maintains and repairs the gas mains in the Manchester area, said: “This is fantastic technology – a fast, efficient and non-disruptive way for us to check and seal joints at risk of failing as they age. It’s essential work, reducing the risks of gas escapes and extending the life of gas mains relied on by hundreds of thousands of people for warmth.
“We’ve already identified around 4km of mains that can be checked by Cisbot in the centre of Manchester, including some of the city’s busiest roads. Using Cisbot means everyday life and travel can continue without interruption, while we can make sure the gas network is running safe and sound, as it should be.”

Cadent has brought two Cisbot robots – operated by US company ULC Robotics – to the North West for concurrent trials which are now under way.
One of the robots is operating in the Langley Road area of Salford, checking 263 metres of a 16-inch diameter cast iron gas main – and 96 joints – over 19 days. A second robot is checking 299 metres of an 18-inch cast iron main – and 109 separate joints – which runs under Featherstall Road North in Oldham.
Gas remains a vital component of the North West energy landscape, with nearly 80 per cent of homes in Salford and 85 per cent in Oldham heated by gas.
Projects such as HyNet North West will bring greener gases like hydrogen – which emits zero-carbon, just heat and water, at its point of use – to the North West’s industrial and domestic gas network as early as 2024.
Cadent is a gas distribution network, responsible for safely transporting gas to more than 11 million customers in North West England, the Midlands, East of England and North London, through more than 80,000 miles of pipes. It also provides the 24/7, year-round gas emergency service to the same regions.


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*

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Kevin Hegarty

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