Robotics-as-a-Service & Technology Deployment

CISBOT Pilot Program with Eversource Energy Begins in Worcester, Massachusetts

ULC Robotics

ULC has partnered with Eversource Energy to begin a CISBOT pilot project in Worcester, Mass., an area identified as an ideal project location due to its surrounding residential community and a nearby university. Eversource is a Fortune 500 energy company that delivers energy to nearly 4M customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Since the work began in November 2020, the team has sealed 144 joints. Once completed, CISBOT will have remediated almost a mile of infrastructure with minimal disruption to the surrounding community and significant savings compared to standard remediation methods.

“It is ULC’s hope that this will be the first of many projects with Eversource and add to the list of utilities looking for innovative and cost-reducing services, such as CISBOT.”

Chris Anderson, Project Manager of CISBOT Field Operations discusses the project in this video:

 

Prior to the CISBOT pilot program, Eversource and ULC collaborated on the development of a solution to reduce accidental damages to gas mains. The gas main locating technology helped improve the safety of pipeline replacement programs and is now being by used various utilities to prevent third party damages.

A Day in the Life of a CISBOT Apprentice

ULC Robotics

As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2021, we spoke to one of our CISBOT apprentices, Lewis Greenan, to find out about his experience at ULC so far. Lewis is one of ULC’s five apprentices from Middlesbrough College, working across our UK CISBOT sites to gain hands-on mentoring from our experienced robotic engineers.

 

 

What’s a typical day like as a CISBOT Apprentice?

“The first thing we do when we get to site on the eco-cabin is to hook up the tether to the back of the robot and run it through a bench test, making sure it’s functioning properly before we launch it in the gas main. After checking everything is operating fine, I help to launch CISBOT in the gas main for operations to start. When CISBOT’s safely in the gas main, the operatives on site begin looking or sealing joints. Meanwhile, I carry out any maintenance that’s required in the eco-cabin or on spare equipment in advance of our next launch. Once the operations are coming to an end, I help to remove CISBOT from the gas main before cleaning the robot ahead of the operations the following day. After this is completed, we shut down the site and lock up, heading home before another day of work. My apprenticeship at ULC also involves doing remote learning one day a week with Middlesbrough College where I’m studying for a HNC in Mechatronics.”

 

What’s been the most rewarding part of your apprenticeship so far?

“Since joining ULC, I’ve enjoyed getting involved in new opportunities across the company as well as learning about the other technologies we have. I’ve had the chance to take part in the training of one of our R&D projects, and will be taking part in the field trials this year. This will involve travelling to Scotland for two weeks, being out in the field and delivering insights for ULC’s clients.”

 

 

How did you find being classed as a key worker during the COVID-19 pandemic?

“Working during COVID-19 was a unique situation. I was grateful that I was able to continue working and learning safely while carrying out work to help customers stay connected to gas supplies.”

 

What advice can you offer those seeking apprenticeships?

“Make sure you take up every opportunity that is presented to you. This will broaden your learning and maximise the chances of finding a great apprenticeship.”

utility-week-awards-shortlisted-finalists

ULC Robotics Makes Utility Week Awards Shortlist for Critical Work During COVID-19

ULC Robotics

ULC Robotics, leading Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) solutions provider and developer for the energy industry, has been shortlisted for the Utility Week Awards in the ‘Keeping Us Connected’ category with UK gas distribution network Cadent.

The ‘Keeping Us Connected’ award celebrates the contributions of teams and individuals working within UK utilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. ULC and Cadent’s CISBOT team were nominated for their dedication and flexibility to continue with essential gas pipe remediation and emergency repair work to keep the gas flowing safely and reliably to local communities – all with minimal disruption.

Like many, COVID-19 had a significant impact on ULC and Cadent’s daily operations, meaning working practices were continually adapted throughout the year to align with restrictions, and most importantly, keep employees and the public safe.

The shortlisted entry discussed how teams were bubbled to continue providing critical gas remediation and enabling 3,669 joints to be remediated throughout lockdown, as well as offering emergency response work in iconic locations like Whitehall in London. The 6-week emergency project at Whitehall witnessed the successful elimination and prevention of gas leaks along a 359m section of 30” main. The team sealed 105 joints with minimal disruption to customers and the public while providing extraordinary cost-savings for customers.

The winners of the Utility Week Awards will be announced on February 8th during a virtual ceremony. For more information on attending the event or to see the shortlisted nominations, visit https://www.utilityweekawards.co.uk/2020-finalists/.

100km-cisbot-remediation-uk

Reaching Milestones: 100km of UK Pipelines Remediated With CISBOT

ULC Pipeline Robotics is celebrating the remediation of 100km worth of the UK’s gas mains using CISBOT. This milestone has been achieved through our progress with gas distribution networks, SGN and Cadent since 2013 with CISBOT proving itself to be a critical technology to support the management and maintenance of gas assets.

Thanks to our operational teams, we have remediated the equivalent of 27,500 joints in gas mains across locations including Brighton, Manchester and Edinburgh. CISBOT has also been deployed underneath iconic streets in London, such as Regent Street, Whitehall and Sloane Square.

Over this 100km journey, we have witnessed the continuous development robotic technology to meet our clients network requirements and overcome some of the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis. We have designed larger configurations for CISBOT to cover 36” mains, 16” systems for Tier 2 assets and currently developing configurations for 15”, 42” and 48” systems.

We’ve continued to challenge conventional methods of remediation using our robotic technology to minimise the delivery time and disruption of our projects. Using our solar-panelled control cabins and 24hr working practices, we’re continuing to support the UK’s movement towards net-zero by reducing emissions on site.

Throughout the last 7 years, we have also witnessed the development of revolutionary innovations for the utility industry, such as the advancements with The Robotic Roadwork and Excavation System (RRES).

For more information on CISBOT and to learn how to ULC Robotics can help strengthen and remediate your natural gas network, please visit: https://ulcrobotics.com/services/cisbot-robotic-cast-iron-joint-sealing/

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events and Webinars

ULC Robotics

Join our free webinars and virtual events to learn more about our industry expertise, services, and technologies. 

 

WEBINAR – Eliminate Accidental Damages During Your 2021 Gas Main Replacement Programs

Inaccurate and outdated mapping of features in gas mains can lead to third party damage, specifically when there are unmapped stubs, unknown connections to the main, or if there is no working tracer wire. In this webinar, attendees will learn how live gas main CCTV improves safety and efficiency during construction and main replacement by enabling crews to pinpoint and mark out the exact location of the main and all pipeline features, even those not traceable by traditional locating methods. 

December 16, 2020 at 1:00pm ET

Register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_mFf3qPltRNqeNry0AU1IpQ

 


 

Past Events: 

VIRTUAL CONFERENCE – Utility Week Live (24-26 November 2020)

Utility Week Live is the UK’s leading utilities industry exhibition. This year, ULC showcased the Robotic Roadworks and Excavation System (RRES), a collaborative innovation project with SGN. Attendees were able to view RRES conducting underground scanning, removal of the road surface, soil excavation and more. Visitors to our virtual exhibit also engaged with our team to learn about ULC’s aerial services program, which is expanding to the UK in 2021. 

 

VIRTUAL CONFERENCE – Energy Networks Innovation Conference (8-9 December)

The ENIC Conference features an impressive line-up of gas and electricity innovation experts, all coming together to share the learning from over 60 projects. ULC joined SGN’s and Cadent’s Virtual Exhibits to showcase the Robotic Roadworks and Excavation System project and our CISBOT work in the UK. 

 

WEBINAR – Using Acoustic Sensors to Detect Cross Bores: Technology Update (Dec. 9)

Cross bores have been identified as one of the top safety risks throughout the gas utility industry. In partnership with two leading US gas distribution utilities, ULC Technologies has developed a means to detect the presence of a cross bore from within PE gas mains and services. Join this webinar to learn about the technology and see some results from the cross bore inspection pilot programs.

Under the Surface of CISBOT: A Look Behind-the-Scenes of Commercial Robotic Operations

Many who are familiar with our CISBOT work will recognize the set up in the field – our crews working at a small site with our ULC truck or eco-cabin parked and the robot deployed in the gas main.

Behind the delivery of these complex robotic operations are additional crews working behind-the-scenes every day, across the U.S. and the UK, to ensure that our CISBOT operation continues to run successfully and well into the future by evolving and improving our systems. This includes mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, electro-mechanical technicians, product managers, field training managers, operations leads, and others.

Here’s a glimpse at the work that goes on behind-the-scenes:

ULC and SGN Sponsor IGEM’s Scottish Section Charity Golf Day

ULC Robotics

Following a great day at IGEM’s Scottish Section Charity Golf Day on Friday 4th September, ULC is delighted to announce that over £1,500 has been raised for Prostate Cancer UK!

The fundraised total could not have been achieved without the help of the attendees, the ULC and SGN teams, and the hole sponsors, Flowstop Services Ltd, Honeywell, Gas Assessment and Training Centre Ltd., R2M Site Services Ltd, Teledyne Technologies Incorporated and Print & Digital Sourcing.

We would like to say a special thanks to the Royal Musselburgh Golf Course for hosting the day, along with the support of PGA Professional, Calum Smith.

Check out video highlights from the golf day here.

ULC Robotics Announces Acquisition by SPX Corporation

ULC Robotics

ULC will join the company’s Detection and Measurement segment focused on location and inspection technologies

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y., Sept. 2, 2020ULC Robotics, a pioneer in Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) solutions and technology development for the energy, utility and industrial markets, today announced that the company has been acquired by SPX Corporation, a supplier of highly engineered products and technologies, holding leadership positions in the HVAC, detection and measurement, and engineered solutions markets. ULC will join the Detection and Measurement segment of SPX which will contribute to ULC’S overall growth as a business and better position the company for product commercialization.

“We are delighted to join the SPX family and look forward to the continued growth of ULC Robotics in this exciting new phase,” said Gregory Penza, CEO and founder of ULC Robotics. “SPX’s extensive resources, expertise at commercializing new products and dedication to growing its Location and Inspection portfolio create attractive opportunities for ULC’s employees and customers alike.”

SPX will support ULC in product commercialization and market development of inspection technologies. The addition of ULC Robotics will round out SPX Corporation’s Detection and Measurement segment, which encompasses businesses focused on underground locators and inspection equipment, fare collection systems, and communication technologies products.

“We are excited to welcome the ULC Robotics team to SPX,” said Gene Lowe, President and CEO of SPX Corporation. “ULC’s Robotics-as-a-Service business is a strong complement to SPX’s world-class suite of solutions for the location, inspection and maintenance of underground infrastructure; and, the addition of ULC’s R&D business further enhances SPX’s capacity to develop advanced technology solutions for customers across our platforms.”

“Becoming a part of the SPX team will support ULC’s ongoing commitment to develop and deploy advanced technology for energy and utility companies around the globe,” said Robert Kodadek, President of ULC Robotics. “The future of ULC has become even stronger through this partnership.”

More information can be found in the SPX Corporation press release: www.spx.com/investor-relations/financial-news-releases.

EC Mergers & Acquisitions acted as the exclusive financial advisor to ULC Robotics.

 

CISBOT: 29,000 Joints and Counting

ULC Robotics

Since commercial work with large diameter CISBOT began in 2010, our team has remediated more than 29,000 joints – equivalating to over 65 miles of cast iron mains (16”+). ULC Robotics’ operations have scaled up considerably over the past few years and we now have a fleet of 15 robots working daily in New York, Boston, St. Louis, London and other areas of the US and UK.

By the end of 2020, ULC Robotics expects to have sealed an additional 40 miles of cast iron gas mains and we are building five additional robots to support increased demand in this technology.

CISBOT enables our customers to dramatically reduce the costs and timelines associated with upgrading or modernizing pipelines, while minimizing impact on customers and communities. Substantial financial benefits and reduced social and environmental disruption has allowed our utility customers to capitalize on CISBOT and make this technology part of approved rate cases.

We are continuing our dedication to environmentally responsible practices with the introduction of solar-powered operation stations. Currently deployed with Cadent Gas in the UK, these new stations enable the further reduction of carbon emissions and help our customer reach its net-zero environmental targets.

For more information on CISBOT and to learn how to ULC Robotics can help strengthen and remediate your natural gas network, please visit: https://ulcrobotics.com/services/cisbot-robotic-cast-iron-joint-sealing/.

ULC Robotics Finalist for Utility Week Partner of the Year

ULC Robotics

ULC Robotics was recognized for their work with Cadent and SGN, using CISBOT to remediate critical portions of their cast iron natural gas mains. The work took place in high-profile locations across the UK, including George Street in Edinburgh and Oxford Street in London.

The Utility Week Awards reward and celebrate outstanding performance and innovation across utilities. The winners of the Utility Week Awards will be announced on December 9th during a ceremony held at the Grosvenor House in London. For more information or to view the entire shortlist please visit the awards website.

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