LMK Introduces Versatile Robot To North America

First Look
By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | May 2010 Vol. 65 No. 5

LMK Technologies has introduced to the North American market a new robotic camera/cutter system for rehabilitating sanitary sewer laterals.

The German-made Schwalm robotic systems, widely used in Europe and Asia, are available now from LMK Technologies, said Larry Kiest, chief executive officer and president of LMK.

Kiest said the remote-controlled Schwalm Talpa milling and rehabilitation robots not only can inspect pipe and reinstate laterals after mainline pipes have been rehabilitated, but also mill offset joints smooth prior to lining, grind off protruding taps and chisel away concrete in pipes. It will also install sectional liners, cured-in-place connection seals and lateral lining from the main pipe without the need for a clean-out or any excavation. The robot also can insert mechanical plugs up into service connections to temporarily or permanently abandon the connection.

There are two Schwalm robot models: the Talpa 1330 is for use in main line pipe diameters from 6 to 12 inches, and the Talpa 2060 is for operation in main pipes with diameters from eight to 24 inches.

Basic components of both models include the self-propelled tractor, pan/tilt camera, cutting head and miscellaneous tools as needed. The Model 1330 weighs 150 pounds when equipped for 8-inch pipe, and the Model 2060 is 225 pounds when equipped to work in 24-inch pipe. Tractor and camera are DC powered, and the lifting arm is operated hydraulically from a small, self-contained hydraulic reservoir and pump, eliminating the need for hydraulic hoses between the robot and service truck.

Operations
The camera operates independently of the cutter head. When debris from cutting falls on the camera lens, the operator simply presses a button and the lens is instantly cleaned with window washing detergent, allowing the robot to stay in place and continue cutting.

“The cutter can cut straight forward and 360-degrees around the pipe wall,” Kiest said. “This means that a ‘lift’ in a CIPP pipe can easily be trimmed flush allowing a proper repair to be performed without excavating. From an eight-inch main, the arm can extend 12 inches into a six-inch service lateral -- a big advantage when it is necessary to remove resin slugs from lateral connections.”

A joystick controls forward and backward movement of the carriage, raising and lowering, and 200-degree rotation of the working arm, 360-degree rotation of the tool holder, panning of the closed circuit color camera and adjustment of the multiple LED lights.