Innovation From Concept to Commercialization
Field Deployment of Advanced Technology

ULC Robotics Mentors Participants in Stony Brook University Hackathon

ULC Robotics

Each year Stony Brook University hosts a two-day interdisciplinary hackathon at the Center of Excellence in Wireless Information Technology (CEWIT).  With a focus on industry-relevant challenges, Hack@CEWIT enables forward-thinking students from Long Island and its surrounding regions to design real-world solutions to industry challenges.

This President’s Day weekend, over 150 college students gathered to tackle technical topics surrounding big data, machine learning, IoT, and robotics. The event included hands-on workshops and an industry mentor program, through which engineers, program managers, and drone pilots from ULC Robotics helped to guide the next generation of technology leaders toward the success of their projects.

After a sleepless but productive 43 hours, the hackathon participants presented their final projects to a panel of judges from local businesses and associations. ULC Robotics was pleased to present the award for the Best Use of 3D Visualization/Simulation to the United Sensors of America team.

For more information on Hack@CEWIT visit the event website.

Engineering News-Record Names Gregory Penza Top 25 Newsmaker

ULC Robotics

Each year Engineering News-Record highlights the most innovative influencers in the construction industry. Today, ENR named ULC Robotics President and CEO Gregory Penza one of 2018’s Top 25 Newsmakers for his work with pipeline rehabilitation and the invention of the Cast Iron Joint Sealing Robot (CISBOT).

ENR commended Penza for “finding his competitive advantage in construction robotics” and his ambition to revolutionize pipeline repair. Long-term client Kenneth Daly, Chief Operating Officer for U.S. Electricity Businesses at National Grid, endorsed the nomination, saying that Penza has “delivered industry-changing robotic solutions to the complex operations and engineering challenges” faced by the utility.

Read the full ENR article here.

ULC Robotics Opens New UK Facility

ULC Robotics

ULC Robotics is excited to announce that we have moved our UK operations to a new location. We are now stationed next to Heathrow Airport, in the heart of Trading Estate, one of Heathrow’s leading industrial areas.

Located at Unit 656, River Gardens, North Feltham Trading Estate, TW14 0RD, our spacious multi-purpose industrial unit offers excellent facilities that will allow us to conduct large operational workshops, host meetings with our clients, and serve as a base for our growing UK operations.

The past five years have seen much growth and success for our UK branch, and we view the location change as the start of another chapter in our history. We couldn’t be more excited about the move.

Thank you to our clients, customers, business associates, sub-contractors, and friends for all of your support. We would like to give a special thanks to John Eastwood, Flow Stop Services and his team for helping us establish ourselves in the UK by providing a secure facility from which to build our business.

We welcome you to contact us and schedule a visit to our new office.

CISBOT Featured on Cover of Network

ULC Robotics

Network, the magazine for engineering leaders in the UK’s energy networks, featured Cadent’s pipeline remediation work with CISBOT in their most recent issue. James Harrison, Head of London Operations, says “CISBOT has enabled us to deliver the work in weeks rather than months and with fewer and smaller excavations. We were also able to keep the gas mains live while doing our work. Using CISBOT also helped us keep costs down.”

Cadent is currently using CISBOT for repairs beneath Oxford Street. To read more visit network.online.

PSEG LI UAV Inspection

PSEG Long Island Deploys UAV Technology to Improve System Reliability

ULC Robotics

Continuing efforts to enhance their electric system, PSEG Long Island has partnered with ULC Robotics to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to advance inspection operations. Building off the success of a recently completed pilot program, PSEG Long Island has chosen to integrate UAV technology into existing operations to provide safe and reliable energy to more than 1 million customers.

Last Friday, ULC’s pilots worked with PSEG Long Island employees to complete a right-of-way inspection in Brentwood, NY. Flying a UAV outfitted with a high-definition camera and LiDAR sensor, ULC surveyed the utility asset for faults that could cause reliability issues in the event of a storm. The aerial data collected will aid PSEG Long Island in strengthening their system prior to major storms, as well as enable more informed decision-making and better resource allocation during post-storm response, ultimately reducing service restoration times.

“Compared to using helicopters or ground-based observation, UAVs give us better data on the electric system, which directly improves system reliability and employee safety,” says John O’ Connell, vice president of transmission and distribution operations at PSEG Long Island.

Earlier in the week, our team worked with PSEG Long Island to assess the condition of powerlines in Levittown, NY and investigate reliability issues. Friday’s flight will be followed by the aerial inspection of an electric substation as well as other assets within the PSEG Long Island transmission and distribution system.

The Energy Awards Shortlist Announcement

ULC Robotics Shortlisted for The Energy Awards Innovation of the Year

ULC Robotics

ULC Robotics, leading Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) solutions provider and developer for the energy industry, has been shortlisted for The Energy Awards in the Innovation of the Year: Technology – Physical category. The Energy Awards is a prestigious event that recognizes the outstanding companies working to advance the energy industry.

With the number of applications nearly doubled this year, ULC was shortlisted for their work with Cadent and tRIIO on the innovative M1 Live Gas Main Inspection Crawler System. The M1 was developed to expand internal inspection capabilities in large diameter gas mains and enable inspection in mains not previously accessible by existing technologies. It was successfully trialed within the London Medium Pressure network in January 2018.

The winners of The Energy Awards will be announced on December 5th during a ceremony held at the Hilton on Park Lane in London.

For more information or to see the entire shortlist visit the awards website.

cadent robotic gas main remediation bbc

BBC: Robots Fix Gas Mains in London

ULC Robotics

BBC visited Cadent Gas and ULC Robotics on the Oxford Street CISBOT project site in London. “Traditionally, it would take two years to dig up and refurbish one kilometer of gas pipe,” reports BBC Transport Correspondent Tom Edwards. “With CISBOT it takes two to three months.”

Deployment of the technology at gas networks in the UK such as Cadent and SGN are also delivering social and environmental benefits back to gas customers. “[CISBOT] enables us to keep the roads open, it enables the residents to keep the gas on at all time and it massively reduces the duration of the project,” says Jonathan Rowing, Head of Highways Inspectorate at Westminster Council.

cast iron gas main joint rehabilitation

Cadent Deploys CISBOT for Mains Remediation Beneath the Strand

ULC Robotics

CISBOT is now operating beneath The Strand, one of Central London’s busiest thoroughfares, to remediate a critical segment of the gas distribution network. In conjunction with UK gas distribution network Cadent, CISBOT technology is being deployed along a majority of the 850m section of the A4 within the City of Westminster to minimize impacts on the public, transportation, and environment.

According to an article published in The Telegraph, there are 300,000 holes are dug every year in London for roadworks, resulting in 36% of the city’s traffic delays, costing businesses £1 billion, and causing considerable disruption to the public. By utilizing CISBOT Cadent is eliminating the need for traditional large-scale excavation and disruption of gas services while minimizing interference to the area’s traffic and pedestrian flow.

The first project site is located just outside of the Charing Cross railway station where ULC’s advanced robotic system will work to extend the life of Cadent’s vital distribution system. The entire project is expected to continue through this summer.

ULC Robotics to Streamline Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Maintenance

ULC Robotics

With over 200,000 miles of hazardous liquid pipeline spanning the US, the need to ensure the integrity of these pipelines is tremendous. Pipeline operators are under pressure to perform meticulous in-line inspections and accurately collect data in order to maintain the security of crude oil, refined petroleum, and biofuel pipelines.

Using funding from the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, ULC will study the feasibility of using guided wave Electromagnetic Acoustic Transducer (EMAT) technology to create an enhanced dual-purpose in-line inspection tool. Able to integrate with existing internal cleaning systems, the tool will streamline inspection and maintenance operations into a single process.

EMAT technology uses a permanent magnet and electric coil to generate ultrasonic waves, allowing it to measure wall thickness and detect, assess, and characterize defects or material properties. Over the last five years, ULC has made significant advancements in the research, development, and commercialization of this technology. Most notable is the integration of wall thickness measurement EMAT technology into ULC’s CIRRIS XI™, an in-line inspection robot for cast iron natural gas distribution mains. Since then, ULC has continued to develop expertise in guided wave EMAT for the inspection of steel and cast iron pipelines to identify corrosion and cracks.

Through further research, design, and testing ULC will work to maximize guided wave EMAT sensor sensitivity to defects and produce live inspection data for immediate remedial action. The resulting dual-purpose tool will enter the pipeline through existing pig traps to simultaneously perform cleaning operations while inspecting for defects such as wall loss and cracks, presenting a low-cost, lightweight solution.

By integrating such an inspection tool with an existing cleaning system both processes will be completed in a single pass, reducing operating costs while performing critical maintenance and providing unparalleled insight into asset health. The tool will ultimately enable pipeline operators to ensure the safety and integrity of their mains and prevent potential hazardous leaks and spills.

CISBOT cast iron main remediation contract UK

SGN Awards ULC Robotics 36km CISBOT Mains Remediation Contract

ULC Robotics

ULC Robotics has taken another step towards the expansion of their CISBOT operations with the award of the largest robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) contracts in the gas distribution utility market. In line with efforts encouraged by Ofgem’s RIIO-GD1 regulation, gas distribution network SGN will employ ULC’s CISBOT system to remediate 36km/22mi of natural gas mains across the south of England.

“In terms of the scope of the robotic remediation works, it is equivalent to running the robots around London’s Inner Ring Road twice,” says Ryan McGowan, VP of Field Operations at ULC Robotics. “At this scale, the environmental benefits and reduction in social disruption being delivered back to SGN’s gas customers is greatly amplified as well.”

ULC crews will work to extend the life of large diameter cast iron gas mains, ranging in diameter from 16” to 36”. A majority of the repairs will occur in London, a challenging location due to its dense population and high traffic. Other locations spanning SGN’s southern network include Brighton, Portsmouth, Southampton, and Salisbury.

In addition to the multiple robots and crews fielded by ULC Robotics, the multi-year contract provides for services that encompass excavation, site preparation, fitting installation, valve installation, and more through subcontractors. This turn-key approach streamlines the entire operation to better meet production levels.

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