A day in the life of a CCTV robotic crawler

CCTV is a powerful tool for inspecting underground pipelines. The combination of advanced camera technology, software and robotics is an extremely smart solution for pipeline inspections and problem-solving. It takes the guesswork out of pipe inspections, enabling quick, accurate examination of drains, sewers and other pipelines without causing any damage to the infrastructure.

Most importantly, CCTV is a very cost-effective inspection method since no costly or time-consuming excavation is required. Problems are located, identified and solved quickly which helps reduce costs and increase productivity. Preventative repairs can be done using the information collected by the camera and minor faults can be sorted out before they turn into expensive and major issues. Solutions can be simple such as just cleaning pipes with root cutting blades or chemicals. If damage is more extensive but limited to only a few locations these parts may be excavated and repaired. And when damage is too severe it may require the entire pipe to be excavated and replaced.

The process involves navigating a camera through the utility line which provides a video feed of the interior of the pipe and is subsequently viewed on a monitor that is on the site. The main tools involved are push cameras and robotic crawlers. Push Cameras consist of a push cable installed on a reel, stainless steel camera head with LED lights and a flexible spring section. There are different variations of lengths of push cameras ranging from 65’ – 325’ to best fit the client’s project. The robotic crawlers can traverse through pipes ranging from 6”- 98”. The crawlers can be configured to more than 5 different sizes so it can fit into that specific pipe.

A day in the life of a CCTV robotic crawler

A new development was being built and the construction crew came across an outfall of a large storm pipe on the building site. The area was completely derelict with overgrown shrubs and bushes. The builder needed to know the exact location and condition of the pipe. Only a crawler such as this could have access to this site.

The service truck was parked above the access point of the pipe. The truck contains a small generator for power supply, a small air-conditioned compartment containing video monitoring and recording equipment. The crawler, with a flexible cable attached to the rear, was then placed into the pipeline.

The operator, from the inside of the truck begins the inspection, remotely operating the camera tractor from the truck and in real time inspects and analyzes what can be seen in the pipeline. The entire inspection is always recorded and saved and can be reviewed later at any time.

With the crawler in the pipe the operator determines the integrity of the pipe as he visually can inspect every inch of the pipe. The technician views and records the exact location of the cracks and root invasions. At the end of the day a detailed inspection report was then given to the client. The client is now equipped with a full understanding of the situation and based on these finding they can decide on the most cost-effective solution. In addition, the client gains peace of mind with pre and post-construction inspections that ensured utilities were not damaged during the construction.

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