3 Ways New Technology Helps Gas Utilities Improve Efficiency

ULC Robotics

As people who work with natural gas distribution infrastructures every day, we constantly develop new ways to advance gas infrastructure maintenance, making it safer for gas workers, contractors and the general public while reducing maintenance costs.

While you may be thinking about robotic technology and complex devices, new technology does not have to be complicated in order to improve efficiency–it can also be a simple change in process that provides a better way to accomplish your goals. Below are three ways new technology has helped improve the efficiency of infrastructure maintenance; either by reducing costs, creating a safer work environment or just helping gas utilities better understand their pipelines.

1. New Methods of Pipeline Locating Improve Safety During Excavation

Data from utility maps is highly susceptible to being out-of-date, incomplete and inaccurate and should be confirmed using a locating service before any excavation takes place. While conventional locating methods are commonly used to attempt to confirm data from maps, it is possible that many pipeline features are both not on the map and are not able to be detected using typical locating practices.

Using our in-pipe locating technology ULC is able to pinpoint the location of all your pipeline features and provide highly accurate mark out on the street surface to ensure the safest work environment when excavating near buried gas mains.

2. Inspecting Your Mains Will Help You Prioritize Maintenance Resources

Camera inspections of your live gas mains allow you truly assess conditions and look for damage without taking the mains out of service. Internal pipeline video provides data on pipeline wall conditions, valve positions, services, stub services, branches, tees and damage. Most of our camera systems are also used to locate sources of water infiltration and even provide video imaging when fully submerged underwater. This data allows gas utilities to identify and locate potential risks and gather the data needed to properly prioritize maintenance.

3. Updated Processes Open Up Better Ways to Do More With Less

In our industry, the processes and procedures in place for regular maintenance work have been around for many years and often remain unchanged. Process improvements are designed to meet our goals while minimizing risk by finding new ways to get our work done. As these processes are updated, gas utilities benefit from improved safety, lower costs and improved efficiency.

The updated process we developed with Con Edison to simplify the anode installation process clears multiple CWOs per day while helping to improve efficiency. The No-Dig Anode Installation Process can be performed entirely without excavation, eliminating the need for street opening permits. The process also reduces disruption to the public, environmental impact and lowers the cost of your cathodic protection.