Say hello to my little friend – the robotic crawler

The robotic crawler is an incredibly useful Video Pipe Inspection tool.

Video Pipe Inspection is a method of visually inspecting a utility line to detect cracks, infractions, blockages, and the overall structural condition of the line. It is also used to locate service laterals and obstructions in the line. The process of Video Pipe Inspection involves navigating a camera through the line, either manually or via a remote control, which provides a video feed of the pipe interior to an on-site monitor for viewing.

Specialized equipment, like the robotic crawler or push camera, is necessary to navigate the utility lines and ensure the walls of the pipe are properly illuminated in order to get the clearest picture possible. It is also critical to know the number of access points available, as the more access points we have, the more comprehensive the investigation can be. 

Our robotic crawlers are able to traverse through pipes ranging from 6” –  98”. Our crawlers can be configured to more that 5 different sizes by changing the wheel size, changing the carriage, and/or using the elevator to raise and lower the head of the crawler depending on the size of the pipe.

Another variation of our robotic crawlers is our new lateral launch crawler. The lateral launch system is a standard robotic crawler, but has a push camera attached that can be launched into the laterals from the mainline.

Why the robotic crawler? We use the robotic crawler for pipes that are larger than 6” in diameter. A huge advantage of using the robotic crawler over the push camera is greater control over the camera. The robotic crawler’s camera head can be rotated and zoomed in. That greatly increases the quality and effectiveness of your Video Pipe Inspection.

Limitations to the crawler is that the pipe has to be bigger than 6” in diameter for it to operate properly. Another limitation to the crawler is that the robotic crawler cannot make it through the pipe if there is an abundant amount of soft sand/mud settled on the bottom of the pipe. In those instances, the crawler’s wheels will not get any traction and will not be able to advance. The main limitation to the robotic crawler is that turns cause issues for the camera and/or the wire. Turns can be made, but we avoid making the turns with the crawler because turns can cause the crawler to flip and/or could damage the fiber optic cable that is connected to it.

We have 3 deliverables that the customer receives after a robotic crawler inspection. The first is a field sketch done by an on-site technician outlining the locations of any and all surface features and access points. The stretch of pipe that was inspected will also be labeled. The next deliverable is called a Win Can Report. The Win Can Report outlines information about the pipe such as size and location. It also gives a list of any obstructions or structural observations along with their location in the pipe. The Win Can Report also includes a structural grading scale that is calculated based on the observations and findings within the pipe. The last deliverable we include is the actual videos from the Video Pipe Inspection.

When we do a Video Pipe Inspection, we inspect the integrity, condition, and location of the line so the client can make a decision on what they want to do and move forward with their project. The client also gains peace of mind and protection with pre and post-construction inspections to ensure utilities were not damaged throughout construction. Customers also use our Video Pipe Inspection services as a way to ensure their system is functioning properly with regular visits from us. 

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