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CISBOT visits St Philip’s Primary School | Inspiring the next-generation of engineers

Recently, employees from Cadent and ULC visited St Philip’s Primary School in Manchester to educate Years 4-6 on the Cast Iron Joint Sealing Robot (CISBOT) and CO Safety following a CISBOT project which would renew the pipeline that supplies gas to the school.

CISBOT is an innovative technique developed by ULC Technologies, requiring one small excavation to enable it to enter the gas main through a launch tube. Once inside the gas mains, it is remotely operated by highly trained operators working in an above ground eco-friendly cabin powered by solar panels. The robot travels along the pipe and injects a sealant into ageing pipe joints while gas is still flowing to reduce the risk of future gas escapes, renewing the pipe for carrying hydrogen and can extend the life of a gas main by a minimum of 50 years.

Cadent were called to St Philips Primary School after members of staff had reported the smell of gas. After assessing the situation, ULC Technologies were asked to deploy CISBOT to remediate an 18” and 30” low pressure gas main that ran through the school’s playing field, car park, and playground area.

The location of the pipelines presented major challenges as it would require multiple excavations, causing disruption to the children’s playground. Utilising CISBOT meant that the work could be carried out without the need for large excavations in the playground, as well as avoiding disruption to the gas supplies of the school required for heating and the kitchen for warm lunchtime meals.

During the project, ULC’s operatives sealed 83 joints on the two gas mains – all while the children were enjoying some undisturbed learning in their classrooms.

Cadent’s Marc Chester-Lees, who project managed this gas work at the school, said: “Using CISBOT on this job meant that, without interrupting school life, we could check and seal the joints on around 300 metres of pipes which run under the playground and playing field of the school. We’ve used robotic technology like this now on a lot of jobs across our North West network – under very busy roads, for example, as well as a golf course. This a first time for a school playground though!”

With some inquisitive children spotting the eco-cabins and work going on in their school grounds, members of Cadent and ULC’s teams went into the school following the project to educate Years 4-6 on the robot that was beneath their feet and carbon monoxide safety.

Throughout the day, the children got a chance to drive ULC’s Large VGC, a robotic inspection crawler that is inserted into live gas mains to inspect and identify features inside the pipeline. Our teams showed videos, and provided carbon monoxide safety information from the CO Crew.

Alex Pender, Senior Communications Specialist at ULC said: Thank you to St Philips Primary School for allowing us to come in and educate the children on gas safety awareness and how our CISBOT partnership with Cadent is helping to minimise disruption in local communities. We enjoyed the questions, innovative thinking from the pupils, and drawings of their own robots. Hopefully, we will see some of these children lead the way with engineering in the future at ULC or Cadent!”

Marc Chester-Lees added: “The children were very inquisitive and asked a lot of excellent questions throughout the day. It was great to be able to provide this day’s activities as one way for us to say thank you to the school for being so accommodating to the work we had to do there.”


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