Concept to Commercialization R&D
Field Deployment of Advanced Technology

ULC, SGN and RPS Group Win Engineers Ireland Technical Innovation Award for the CIRRIS XI™ and CIRRIS XR™ Robotics Project

ULC Robotics

On Friday, November 4th, ULC Robotics in partnership with SGN and RPS Group, received the Engineers Ireland Excellence Award for Techincal Innovation for the CIRRIS XI and CIRRIS XR Robotic Systems developed under the Network Innovation Competition Robotics Project.

Completed in 2015, the CIRRIS XR™ and CIRRIS XI™ Robotics Project pioneered the development of a new me thod for gas networks to internally assess the condition of cast iron pipelines, collect critical pipeline integrity data and renew and repair lead/yarn and mechanical joints, as well as internal mechanical seals.

The innovative technology measures wall thickness, stress, and strain in pipelines and will allow gas utilities to extend the life of cast iron pipeline infrastructure.

Use of the robotic system will also allow pipeline inspection and joint repair operations to take place with minimal disruption to customers, with fewer traffic restrictions, lower road reinstatement costs and no disruption of gas service to customers.

 

Pictured above: Graeme Cleeton (ULC Robotics), Maurice Buckley (NSAI – award sponsor), Ciarán Butler (RPS), PJ Rudden (RPS) and Caroline Spillane (Engineers Ireland). (Image: Engineers Ireland)

 

CISBOT and CIRRIS XI™, CIRRIS XR™ Robotic Systems Featured on Cover of Gas International

ULC Robotics

The past year has given the gas industry a rise in robotic technology, placing the industry in the forefront of innovation.

Gas International’s August issue gave readers insight into the new era of gas operation with a cover story on ULC’s CISBOT and CIRRIS XI™ and CIRRIS XR™ Robotic Systems.

The article outlines the progress of SGN and ULC’s innovative partnership that allowed them to utilize and refine ULC’s CISBOT system, and then together develop the groundbreaking CIRRIS XI™ and CIRRIS XR™ system.

“The CIRRIS XI™ Inspection Robot is able to internally assess the condition of cast iron pipelines and collect critical pipeline integrity data that, before now, network operators were unable to obtain from inside the pipe.”

To learn more about ULC’s partnership with SGN visit ulcrobotics.com 

ULC Robotics, Inc. Appoints Top UK Executive Graeme Cleeton to Serve as Vice President of UK Operations

ULC Robotics

ULC Robotics, Inc., a leading robotics, energy services, and research and development company focused on the energy and utility industries, recently appointed Mr. Graeme Cleeton to Vice President of United Kingdom Operations.

With more than 30 years of experience in the UK utility industry, Cleeton has an outstanding track record of developing, implementing and delivering first-class strategy and planning for efficiently driving growth and improving company profitability.

“The UK utility networks are constantly searching for innovative solutions that will enhance their asset’s operations, increase safety and minimize impact to the public,” said Gregory Penza, President, and CEO of ULC Robotics, Inc. “With Graeme in place as the VP of Operations, ULC’s UK business efforts will continue to address those needs while developing beneficial, strategic partnerships that will allow our innovative solutions to be successfully deployed for our clients.”

ULC Showcases Innovation at Northeast Gas Association’s Annual Gas Operations School

ULC Robotics

The Northeast Gas Association’s Gas Operations School kicked off on Tuesday, June 7th at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island.  The annual event provides gas industry professionals with education, hands-on-training and industry networking and it is one of the most successful gas operations events in the northern United States.

ULC’s project and safety manager, Elizabeth Gillick,  along with Steven McKeefrey, engineering project manager, instructed a group of attendees and shared information on the variety of uses for  CCTV camera and crawler systems, and how to utilize robotics in live gas pipelines.  Held on Wednesday June 8th, the class provided real-life use cases on ULC’s cast iron joint sealing robot, CISBOT, the new CIRRIS XI™ and CIRRIS XR™ Robotic System, as well as the PRX250, VGCs and the DWX200 dewatering camera.

In the exhibit hall, visitors to the ULC stand were able to bring their learning full circle and see CISBOT on display, and watch mock demonstrations of the  PRX250 system.  Additional information  was available on many aspects of our work, including other innovation projects, our various pipeline robotics systems and our technical field services. 

For more details on the Northeast Gas Association’s Gas Operations School please visit www.northeastgas.org.

 

 

 

 

ULC Robotics wins UK Energy Innovation Award for CIRRIS XI™ and CIRRIS XR™ Robotic System

ULC Robotics

ULC Robotics, Inc. is excited to be the winner of the 2016 Best Innovation Award Contributing to Quality and Reliability of Gas Supply for the collaborative development of the groundbreaking CIRRIS XI™ and CIRRIS XR™ Robotic System with UK Gas Network SGN.

The UK Energy Innovation Center (EIC) presented ULC with the award at an awards ceremony on Thursday, April 28th in Manchester, England.

“After nearly two years of hard work and dedication from ULC’s and SGN’s innovation and engineering teams, we are honored to have received this award from the EIC,” said Gregory Penza. “The robotic technology we developed will provide gas networks around the globe with a means of extending the life of their large diameter gas mains with minimal disruption to communities, businesses and gas customers.”

In December 2015, ULC and SGN completed the development and successful field testing of the CIRRIS XI™ Inspection Robot and CIRRIS XR™ Repair Robot.  The robots were deployed into live gas mains in London and extensively tested to ensure all systems functioned as designed.  The outputs of the testing were reviewed by third party technical consultants and the robots are currently being prepared for commercial work in the UK.  This is a first-of-its-kind robotic system that is able to conduct this type of work in live, large diameter cast iron gas mains.

Organized by the Energy Innovation Centre, the Energy Innovation Awards provide a platform for pioneering SME’s and individuals to promote the technologies and ideas that have the potential to shape the UK’s energy future. The awards have the backing of energy leaders from across the UK’s gas, electricity and offshore renewables sectors – all of whom are committed to identifying new technologies that have the potential to benefit customers, increase efficiency and improve health and safety.

FAA Issues Section 333 Exemption to ULC Robotics, Inc. for Commercial UAV Operations

ULC Robotics

ULC Robotics, Inc. Fulfills FAA Compliance Standards to Perform Inspections and Surveys for the Energy and Utility Industries with Commercial Unmanned Aerial Systems

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y., March 30, 2016– ULC Robotics, Inc. (ULC), a leading robotics, energy services, and research and development company focused on the energy and utility industries, is proud to announce it has been granted the Section 333 Exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The exemption provides ULC with a general Certificate of Authorization to operate unmanned aerial systems (UAS) under 400 feet throughout the United States.

“Receiving the FAA Section 333 Exemption is an exciting development for our company and another cutting-edge innovative process we can deploy to benefit our clients and their customers,” said Gregory Penza, president and CEO of ULC Robotics. “ULC’s unmanned aerial inspection program is backed by our research and development and field operations teams, as well as a team of expert UAS consultants who will integrate professional-grade UAS with carefully selected sensors to ensure the highest quality inspections.”

ULC will utilize UAS to aid in the unmanned aerial inspection and surveys of difficult-to-access structures, monitor for gas leaks in distribution or transmission pipelines, inspect buildings and act as an emergency response assessment tool.

“Unmanned aerial systems offer a myriad of uses that utility industries and energy businesses can fully benefit from,” said Aubrey Anderson, head of the UAS program for ULC. “Using unmanned aerial inspections to monitor gas pipelines or electrical lines allows utilities to gather critical data, while reducing costs and keeping workers safe by eliminating the need to climb heights or navigate through hazardous terrain.”

Since September 2014, the FAA has issued more than 4,000 Section 333 Exemptions to businesses across the US. ULC is excited to be at the forefront of safely executing UAS operations and to bring innovative technology to the utility industry.

ULC plans to work with gas and electric utility customers and start demonstrations in June. In addition to electric and utility inspections, ULC’s UAS team has expressed their ability to expand UAS operations to other industries including construction, agriculture and commercial real estate.

For more information on ULC Robotics, Inc. and the company’s Unmanned Aerial Utility Inspection Services, please visit www.ulcrobotics.com.

Rutgers NASTT Student Chapter Visits CISBOT Job Site in Camden

ULC Robotics

The Rutgers University Student Chapter of the North American Society of Trenchless Technology recently visited ULC’s CISBOT job site in Camden, NJ. Led by NASTT Co-Founder George Ragula and PSEG’s Sergey Wortman-Vyan, the group of Rutgers students had firsthand experience watching and learning about the operations of the advanced robotic technology.

New ULC Locating Technology to Eliminate Third Party Damage for Orange and Rockland Utilities

ULC Robotics

Orange and Rockland Utilities has taken a significant step forward in their effort to eliminate third party damages by utilizing the most advanced natural gas main locating and mark out service. The locating technology, which is developed and deployed by New York based ULC Robotics, is able to produce highly accurate locating and mark out of the gas main along with all pipeline features so excavators can safely work near gas mains.

“On the first day we marked out two gas services and identified gas bypass piping that was not marked out by the previous utility locate contractor,” says Ryan McGowan, Director of Field Operations at ULC. “This goes to show that even just one day on the job with this technology can significantly reduce third party damage.”

Over the next several months, ULC crews will be locating and marking out small diameter Aldyl-A gas mains that are set for replacement in multiple locations in Orange and Rockland Counties. The gas utility locating service will pinpoint the exact location of the gas main along with all services, cross tees and branches without the need to rely on outdated or incomplete utility maps. In addition, ULC’s utility locating services are being utilized to pinpoint the location of other types of gas mains in areas where other locating methods have not produced satisfactory results.

ULC’s locating and mark out service pinpoints the location of the main along with all pipeline features such as services, stub services, taps, cross tees, branches, drip pots, joints and more.

“One of the biggest challenges for every gas utility is preventing third party damage,” says Gregory Penza, President at ULC Robotics. “Orange and Rockland Utilities has risen to this task by taking the extra precautions needed to greatly improve safety for utility workers, contractors and the public.”

Typical methods used to mark out underground utilities prior to pipeline replacement projects which rely on outdated or incomplete maps or can be off the mark by several feet don’t provide the accuracy and level of detail needed to ensure safety and efficiency. With this improved locating technology, which is developed and deployed by ULC, the New York based gas utility will have the mark out required by excavation contractors to effectively eliminate third party damage caused by mislocates and partial locates.

 

Gas Utility Flood Response

Cameras Help Solve Post-Flood Recovery Issues For Gas Utilities

ULC Robotics

In a process typically surrounded by guesswork, water infiltration in gas distribution mains continue to be a headache for every facet of a gas utility and gas customers. Camera systems designed to launch into and operate in live gas mains have proven to reduce this guesswork—allowing gas utilities to more efficiently locate and remove the water and restore service to customers faster. Below are just a handful of ways camera systems and new technology help improve the post-flood recovery process.

Water Infiltration: Efficient Excavations

When attempting to excavate over the point of standing water after flooding, an inaccurate excavation location can be a costly setback in recovery efforts. By using a camera system such as the patented PRX250, gas utilities can access hundreds of feet of gas main from a single excavation to seek out the exact location of standing water. This allows excavations to be accurately placed for more efficient water removal.

Water Infiltration: Locating and Removing Water

Unlike the process of trying to push hoses inside the gas main, new technology offers a single tool that offers a real-time view inside the main and a means of removing the water. The DWX200 Dewatering Camera System enters the main and travels hundreds of feet to the point of standing water. Once the camera is submerged underwater, water can removed from the main by connecting the DWX200 to a vacuum truck or other pumping system.

The result is a more efficient flood response, fewer excavations, fewer taps and faster restoration of gas service to customers.

Water Infiltration: Monitoring and Verifying Water Removal

As resources, equipment and personnel are in the process of removing water from gas mains, cameras allow utilities to monitor progress and verify that mains have been completely cleared of water. When all the water is not removed, the pressure of the main can push the water to other areas of the main, resulting in ongoing pressure issues, additional excavations and use of resources.

Identifying Low Points and Additional Locations for Drip Pots

The real-time view provided by camera systems during flood recovery enables gas utilities to record exactly where water collects inside the gas mains. This information can be used in future flood recovery efforts and to identify potential locations for drip pots and other means of hardening pipeline systems against future floods.

Managing Resources During Flood Recovery

Knowing and understanding the location of standing water and how much is less helps gas utilities better manage limited resources during the flood recovery process. Equipment, machinery, contractors and personnel can be moved based on real-time data and information — not based on guesswork.

Gas Main Inspection

Live Gas Main Inspection Technology from ULC “Crosses the Pond”

ULC Robotics

The Large VGC Inspection Crawler from ULC Robotics was successfully utilized to inspect several large diameter cast iron gas mains operated by Scotia Gas Networks (SGN) in the suburbs of London and another city south of London. The real-time video provided by the crawler allowed SGN to assess their mains, looking for pipeline features and debris that may hinder future projects at the selected locations.

Inspections with the Large VGC as well as other cameras and crawlers from ULC are capable of launching into and operating in live gas mains, so gas utilities such as SGN do not need to disrupt service to customers. In urban areas such as London, shutting down gas service in one main could lead to the costly and resource-heavy burden of relighting gas appliances in customers’ homes or putting all residents on bottle service.

 

Scotia Gas Networks delivers natural gas to 5.8 million customers in the United Kingdom. Their service territory covers all of Scotland and parts of England, including a section of London.

The Large VGC Crawler from ULC Robotics was purpose built to inspect live 18”-48” gas mains without allowing methane to escape. The tethered crawler enters the gas main using a launch tube that mounts vertically onto a valve in a minimally sized pit and only requires a 4” tap hole in the main. Once inside the main, the Large VGC is capable of traveling 750’ in either direction of the entry point for a total inspection distance of 1,500’.

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