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ULC Robotics Named In Builtworlds 2020 Infrastructure Tech 50 List

ULC Robotics

BuiltWorlds, a leading technology information network, has recognized ULC Robotics as a key player in the construction and infrastructure sectors.

The Infrastructure Tech 50 List features solutions which address planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance on a variety of infrastructure assets including roadways, bridges, tunnels, and more.

ULC Robotics was recognized for their development and use of robotics for Asset Management & Maintenance.

For more information please visit BuiltWorlds.

Webinar | Introducing RRES: Robotics and AI for the future of Utilities with ULC and SGN

ULC Robotics

ULC Robotics and UK gas network SGN recently held their first joint webinar to introduce the Robotic Roadworks and Excavation System, an advanced system which will replace conventional excavation methods. Hosted by the Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM) and The Pipeline Industries Guild (PIG), the webinar was led by ULC’s RRES Project Engineering Lead Dr. Ali Asmari, SGN’s RRES Project Lead Ollie Machan and SGN’s Head of Innovation John Richardson.

The Ofgem-funded project aims to lower the cost and improve the efficiency, safety, and environmental impact of utility excavations on underground infrastructure in both rural and urban environments.

Watch the full webinar below.

ULC Robotics & SGN to Hold Webinar on Robotics and AI to Introduce RRES

ULC Robotics

ULC Robotics and UK gas network SGN are holding their first joint virtual event today. Hosted by Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM) and The Pipeline Industries Guild (PIG), the webinar will outline how ULC Robotics and SGN are developing the Robotic Roadworks and Excavation System, an advanced robotic system which will revolutionize roadworks by replacing conventional excavation methods.

The webinar will be led by RRES Project Engineering Lead Dr. Ali Asmari, ULC Robotics and RRES Project Lead Ollie Machan, SGN. The pair will present the Ofgem-funded project, which aims to lower the cost and improve the efficiency, safety, and environmental impact of utility excavations on underground infrastructure in both rural and urban environments.

Attendees of the sold-out webinar will be able to submit questions about the project during a Q&A session. The RRES project team will continue to hold virtual and in-person events as advancements continue to be made.

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ULC Robotics Tests Drone Tech at Former Grumman Site

ULC Robotics

LI-Based Robotics Firm Builds Unmanned Aerial Systems Locally to Support Future Windfarms

ULC Robotics, a rapidly expanding Long Island-based technology firm serving the utility and offshore wind markets, has been granted a temporary license agreement to use the inactive western runway at the Enterprise Park at Calverton (EPCAL) for testing of their unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones.

The request was unanimously approved at a meeting of the Riverhead Town Board on April 7, 2020 and enables ULC Robotics to use a 2,500 square foot area for flight test operations of their custom-developed, US-built blended wing body vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) fixed wing aircraft.

“Having open space away from the general public is key for us to safely perform flight testing of our new blended wing body VTOL aircraft,” said Mike Passaretti, Director of Aerial Services at ULC Robotics. “And there’s a lot of great history at EPCAL. It was the former site of the Grumman Corporation, where they assembled and tested their aircraft, so it feels like we’re reviving a little bit of Long Island’s aviation history.”

The VTOL aircraft is being developed at ULC Robotics’ Hauppauge, NY headquarters in order to support offshore wind farms, which are to be built off the coast of Long Island. By building and operating their purpose-built UAS to support wind farms, the company estimates a significant 6.8% reduction in the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) and expects a considerable reduction in or elimination of safety hazards.

ULC Robotics will deploy their VTOL aircraft to provide services including protected species observation during offshore wind farm construction, inspection of critical assets, the delivery of parts for repairs, and even search and rescue efforts.

ULC Robotics started supporting the offshore wind industry in 2018 by inspecting the wind turbine foundations of the Block Island Windfarm, the first windfarm in the US. The company has since continued work for Orsted, owner of the Block Island Wind Farm, and also currently performs unmanned aerial services for companies such as PSEG Long Island, National Grid, and Con Edison.

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 Supports UK Decarbonization Goals with Advanced, Eco-Friendly Operation Stations

ULC Robotics

ULC Robotics, a leading Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) solutions provider, is expanding its ability to sustainably and safely deliver leading-edge technology to the energy industry.

“ULC Robotics are exploring the use of innovative solutions to improve our daily operations and make any adjustments necessary to support the country’s recent decarbonization goals,” said Graeme Cleeton, VP of UK Operations.

In collaboration with Boss Cabins and TAG Systems, ULC Robotics has created a new control center cabin for its UK CISBOT operations. CISBOT, short for Cast Iron Joint Sealing Robot, works within live gas mains to seal aging or leaking joints, extending their lifetime by fifty years. The robot is powered by a generator and is typically operated during a 12-hour window by a crew from within a box truck.

Working closely with Boss Cabins, market leader in welfare cabin design and manufacturing, ULC Robotics outlined a variety of safety and environmental concerns to help produce a distinctive, one-of-a-kind cabin to meet their unique needs.

“These container units will help us maintain our practice of providing environmentally sound, minimally disruptive services to our clients,” said Cleeton.

The newly built 20-foot mobile units have been furnished with solar panels, which are used to charge lithium-ion batteries during daylight hours. The batteries are then able to power the unit at night, enabling 24-hour operations. In the event that there is not enough light to charge the batteries adequately, the unit is equipped with an efficient, silent-run generator to provide back-up power. The eco-friendly dual-power solution mitigates any noise pollution and minimizes project emissions.

“We are delighted to have collaborated with ULC on this unique new cabin and helped to find solutions to the operational, safety and environmental issues raised,” said Tim Allan, Director at Boss Cabins. “The purpose-specific design will, we hope, enable ULC to work more effectively over longer periods with less disruption and minimal environmental impact.”

Each cabin is outfitted with a state-of-the-art security system, custom designed by Tag Systems, Europe’s leading manufacturer of wireless security equipment. The system includes high definition CCTV cameras, motion detectors, and an alarm linked to a security response team.

The first two units were delivered in January 2020 and installed in Sloane Square, London, at job sites for UK gas distribution network Cadent. The units have received praise from local government and have enabled ULC Robotics to celebrate their first carbon-neutral day on January 31st.

ULC Robotics and SGN Team Up to Build All-Electric Excavation Robot

ULC Robotics

US Robotics Firm and UK Gas Network Develop World’s First Robotic Roadworks and Excavation System to Transform Utility Excavation

One of the largest gas network companies in the UK has partnered with a world-leading robotics company to transform the most costly and disruptive job in the industry – excavation.

With its gas pipes buried underneath Britain’s roads and pavements, excavating in the road is essential to enable SGN to maintain and upgrade its network. However, this doesn’t come without associated safety implications as well as disruption to residents and road users. SGN is committed to reducing the impact of its essential work on the public and so the company is investing in ground-breaking technology to alleviate these issues.

“Because we operate 76,000km of underground pipelines in the UK and dig thousands of excavations every year, we recognize the need for smarter roadworks,” said John Richardson, Head of Innovation at SGN. “We’re leading the effort to change utility excavation by investing in the development of technology to address this global problem.”

The Robotic Roadworks and Excavation System (RRES) project combines a powerful industrial robot, an all-electric track drive system, below-ground locating sensors, artificial intelligence, machine vision, and new vacuum excavation methods for safer, faster autonomous roadworks.

The collaborative project between ULC Robotics and SGN, which is funded by UK energy regulator Ofgem, will reduce accidental damages to buried infrastructure, minimize carbon emissions and improve the safety and speed of utility excavation and construction.

“We are at the midway point of the project and in partnership with SGN we have been able to create the world’s first functional all-electric autonomous excavation robot,” said Ali Asmari, Ph.D, Program Manager at ULC Robotics. “There is a significant amount of work remaining, including the development of additional tools and support equipment, as well as testing and validating the robotic operation in different environments, but we have an outstanding team and are confident that the robot will be ready to work come 2021.”

The RRES is currently conducting autonomous operations, including cutting of the road surface and performing a patented vacuum excavation method.

“Progress on the development, learnings and outputs of the project have gone above and beyond our expectations,” said Richardson. “We see RRES as a platform that can expand to meet the needs of the global utility and construction industries.”

Initial field trials of RRES are scheduled to take place in 2020 on the SGN network.

CISBOT Travels Manchester Underground to Remediate Cadent Gas Network

ULC Robotics

Continuing their dedication to reliably delivering gas to 11 million homes and businesses, Cadent has expanded their robotic remediation work to the greater Manchester area.

Using CISBOT, ULC Robotics’ cast iron joint sealing robot, Cadent is working on a 263 meter section of 16” live gas main running beneath the Langley Road area in Salford. Originally selected due to a history of gas leaks, CISBOT is also being used to seal non-leaking joints within the main, negating the need for repeat work on this same pipe.

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,” said Adam Hassall, Network Engineer at Cadent. “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.”

Over the course of one week, the robot will work quietly below ground to seal 50 joints and extend the life of the pipeline by an additional 50 years.

“Undoubtedly, the residents here are probably thinking, what are we doing?” said Graeme Cleeton, VP of UK Operations at ULC Robotics. “Because we are not impacting on them, we are not disturbing their gas supply and we are not digging excavations outside their property.”

Cadent has deployed a second CISBOT robot at Featherstall Road North in Oldham to operate within 299 meters of 18” pipe and seal 109 joints. Cadent has also identified an additional 4 kilometers of main in central Manchester for work in 2020.

To read the full story, visit Manchester Evening News.

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.

ULC Robotics & SGN Celebrate Six Years with CISBOT

ULC Robotics

Since 2013, ULC Robotics has partnered with UK gas network SGN on a variety of projects designed to drive innovation and solve daily operational challenges through ground-breaking technologies.

Our partnership had led to the commercialization of our CISBOT technology in the UK, where robotic repairs for gas mains remediation is now business as usual. Using CISBOT, SGN has been able to successfully upgrade 44 kilometers of live natural gas mains, sealing more than 12,000 joints beneath some of Britain’s most iconic, highly-trafficked roads including George Street, Edinburgh and critical portions of their southern network.

Using CISBOT technology over the past six years has really revolutionized roadworks. Robotic technology reduces the need for multiple excavations and trenches, reduces disruption on the roads and saves time and money, which is excellent news for motorists, our customers, and the local community.” -John Richardson, Head of Innovation, SGN

Read the full press release here.

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