Meet the state-of-the-art robots which have been keeping Norwich’s gas flowing
PUBLISHED: 12:33 19 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:33 19 March 2020
Futuristic robots have been hard at work beneath the historic streets of Norwich keeping the city’s ageing gas pipes in working order.
Cadent, Britain’s largest gas distribution network, has recently sent state-of-the-art robots which use Cast Iron Sealing Bot (CISBOT) technology below the streets of Norwich to give its gas mains a new lease of life.
The subterranean robots, which enter the gas mains through special insertion tubes, are remote controlled by human operators who stay working above ground.
Once in the network, the CISBOTs travel along pipes and inject a special sealant into ageing pipe joints, a process which reduces the risk of future gas leaks and can extend the life of a gas main by decades.
So far, the robots have been used in the Gas Hill and Bishopgate areas of Norwich, where their use has dramatically reduced project time as well as the number of excavations needed.
Prior to being deployed in Norwich, the CISBOTs have been used below London’s Oxford Street and The Strand.
Darren Elsom, Cadent network director for the east region, 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 said.
Phil Pearson, ULC Robotics project manager which supplies the CISBOTs, 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.
“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,” he said.