Robotics

THE SUBSIDIARY (ROBOTIC INSERTION ASSETS)

The robotics subsidiary was established after years of Mr. Christian H. Clayton working for two Carnegie Mellon Robotic Institutes spin-off companies; medical robot company and a Department of Defense robotic outfit. The deficiencies relating to poor mechanical and electronic motor controller circuits, and graphic user interfaces led to unreliable robotic platforms. Experience gained provided the opportunity to venture into the utility robotic industry where the only product for pipeline inspections were “pigs” an limited tethered inspection tool. The Department of Transportation which regulates pipeline inspections for water and natural gas released a document outlining that all pipelines would be required to have regular inspections. This legislation which would take place in the next couple of years opened up a new opportunity that had zero competition.

Inspection & Repair Robotic Systems for Utilities Infrastructure

  • Pipelines: crude oil, hydrogen, natural gas, sewer, and water
  • Transmission lines: coaxial cable, fiber-optic, and electric

Military and Government Agencies

  • Reconnaissance
  • Tactical operations
  • Explosive ordinance disposal

Robotic System for deep mining, marine, and sub terrain exploration

THE PROBLEM

The pipeline robotic system came into existence to give a complete scope of the country’s aging infrastructure. To determine the remaining lifespan of the pipelines using innovative technologies.

July 1, 1929 the United States Bureau of Mines estimated that 40,800 miles of natural gas trunk lines already existed in the United States. But out of these 40,800 miles of natural gas trunk lines they did not met the API Standard 5LX “Specification for High Strength Line Pipe.

The EPA estimated in August 2004 that the volume of combined sewer overflows discharged nationwide is 850 billion gallons per year. Sanitary sewer overflows, caused by blocked or broken pipes, result in the release of as much as 10 billion gallons of raw sewage yearly, according to EPA.

The pipelines are ticking time bombs, and majority have never been inspected since their installation.

Current inspection methods are hazardous, inaccurate, not cost effective, offer limited inspection (tethered), and cause service interruption.

As pipelines age the stress concentration factors accelerates rapidly causing fatigue in pipe joints, elbows, and wrinkle bends.

CURRENT INSPECTION METHODS LACK ACCURACY DUE TO THE FOLLOWING

Natural Gas migrates away from leak

Numerous leaks upstream and downstream of initial leak

Natural Gas saturates the soil over a large area

Detection equipment is not properly calibrated, or the correct narrow-bore tubes and pumps do not match gas application, causing excessive dilution of the sample by air

Detection is performed above ground not at leaking source

Water table variable distorts above ground metering of gas leaks

Sense gas concentrations 10% Lower Explosive Limit (0.5%) gas and detect leaks from low pressure service lines.

FUNCTION OF THE ROBOTIC SYSTEM

The robot system acts primarily as a preventative maintenance tool, and also early warning indicator of existing infrastructure problems.

To inspect the entire plumbing circuits (including valves, tees, couplers, reducers, and elbows) of gas, water, and sewer lines on a routine basis for all U.S cities and outlining areas.

The robot will give the end user (utility company) the ability to function test the valves while the robot provides live video feed to the end user of the condition and operating thresholds of the valve from a visual perspective. Is the valve working within specifications?

To provide engineers with data to determine which pipe segments need cleaned, repaired, or replaced. And to determine which pipe segment are in immediate need of corrective measures. 

To locate leaking gas lines and determine the saturation level of contaminated soil around pipeline.

Ultimately to provide data in reference to stress and fractures, detection of cracks, corrosion, abrasion, and other abnormalities inside pipeline.

INSPECTION AND REPAIR OF INFRASTRUCTURE

Robotic platforms can be configured to handle a magnitude of platforms (or systems) ranging from natural gas lines to water and sewer lines. Generation two will be geared towards high power transmission lines and coaxial cable lines. The platforms will provide the end user real time interfacing with live data and video feedback during mission or task.

Product on the Market Today

Inspection w/ standard camera configured with LEDs

System has limitations in poor conditions (water, mud)

– excavation required to insert tool, service interruption on gas service

– cannot maneuver vertically or horizontally through elbows, connectors, reducers, and valves throughout system

System has distance limitations along with no live feedback and control functions; the systems operate on program and allows no user interface control during operation or until retrieval

Robotic Insertion Asset Platform

Robotic Insertion Asset

A battery of inspection cameras, imaging scopes, and specialized sensors for toxic chemicals and nerve agents.

Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL) sensor or Permanent Magnetic Perturbation (PMP) sensor

No service interruption, robotic is inserted at existing service port

Robot is configured to travel vertically or horizontally including passing through elbows up to ninety degrees and traveling through valves.

Wireless robotic system

Re-charging system allows for unlimited travel

Emergency retrieval circuit configured to robot

End user can control robotic system remotely to enable three-dimensional mapping of compromised pipe sections.