- Innovative ‘Gas-Bots’ have made their regional debut in Norwich
- Robo-engineer CISBOT can extend the life of gas mains by decades helping to maintain safe and reliable gas supplies
- Using robots enables work to be carried out smoother, faster and more economically
Futuristic ‘Gas-Bots’ have been hard at work beneath the historic streets of Norwich as Cadent debuts innovative robot technology in the region.
Britain’s largest gas distribution network Cadent has recently deployed robots utilising innovative CISBOT (Cast Iron Sealing Bot) technology to give ageing gas mains in the city a new lease of life.
The robots have previously achieved high profile successes in London including at iconic locations Oxford Street and The Strand and now Cadent is rolling out the concept across its other networks, including its East region, which includes both East Anglia and the East Midlands.
Recently CISBOT has been hard at work in the Gas Hill and Bishopgate areas of Norwich, where it has dramatically reduced the duration of the project as well as the number of excavations needed. The robot is also able to work inside live mains with the gas still flowing, meaning that there should be no interruption of gas supply.
The robots, which are supplied by contractor ULC Robotics, are able to enter the gas mains through special insertion tubes. Inside the gas mains CISBOT is remotely operated by highly trained human operators working in an above ground vehicle. The robots travel along the pipe and inject a special sealant into ageing pipe joints. This process reduces the risk of future gas escapes and can extend the life of a gas main by decades.
Cadent Network Director for the East region, Darren Elsom, said: “CISBOT means we can deliver our work faster, smoother and more economically than if we were using traditional methods.
“The work we’ve been doing in Norwich would have taken us months to do using conventional methods and also required us to dig large excavations.
“However, we’ve been able to complete the work in a matter of weeks and with fewer and smaller excavations. CISBOT can also work in live gas mains, which means we don’t have to isolate the section of gas mains we’re working on. All of that’s great news for the public who get to enjoy the continued provision of safe and reliable gas supplies with a lot less above ground disruption.”
He added: “With the success of this project we’ve decided to use the robots elsewhere across the region which should be a real gamechanger in the way we work.”
ULC Robotics Project Manager Phil Pearson, said: “In many cases this robotic revolution in the region will happen beneath people’s feet without them even knowing it as the technology is very low impact.
“However, people should increasingly notice the tangible benefits CISBOT brings including less above ground disruption and the continued provision of safe and reliable gas supplies.”
Anyone concerned about robotic technology removing the human element from gas operations can rest easy, Mr Pearson explained: “CISBOT requires a team of highly skilled human operators above ground not to mention all the support staff involved in planning and facilitating the work.
“This is about robots working for us not taking away our jobs.”
First trialled in London in the early 2010s, the CISBOT technology was developed by New York based company ULC Robotics, who now also have a UK office in Feltham, West London, close to Heathrow Airport.
The use of CISBOT is just one example of Cadent’s innovative approach to delivering its work to keep people connected to safe and reliable gas supplies, with as little disruption as possible.
To watch a film chronicling CISBOT’s work in The Strand go to https://vimeo.com/292701579
Cadent is Britain’s largest gas distribution whose engineers and specialists work day and night to ensure over 11 million homes keep on enjoying safe and reliable gas supplies.