Robotic Tools For Video Inspections Of Live 12- 36-Inch Natural Gas Pipelines

By Angelo Fabiano, NYSEARCH/NGA; and Gregory Penza, ULC Robotics | January 2011 Vol. 66 No. 1
Small VGC – front view

• Large Variable Geometry Crawler (LVGC) - live gas mains 20- to 48-inch;
• Small Variable Geometry Crawler (SVGC) – 12- to 16-inch; and
• Pipeline Periscope - pipelines 12 inches and greater.

The video inspection systems developed by NYSEARCH/ULC Robotics are designed for rapid deployment, high reliability, low cost and have the ability to provide detailed video data. Gas distribution companies will be better able to react quickly to emergency and maintenance issues by locating internal pipeline problems such as cracks, pipe damages, abnormalities, unknown branches, service tees, valves, fittings and water intrusion. These newly developed inspection systems can become an invaluable tool for pipeline rehabilitation projects by providing critical information for assessing pipeline cleanliness, corrosion activity and structural integrity. The availability of this data assists pipeline operators in the planning stages and as a result can produce significant cost savings. The use of these video inspection tools, prior to a major project, will allow engineers/operators to make cost effective decisions when selecting repair/replace options.

Summary of benefits:

• Live Inspection of 12- to 48-inch Pipelines;
• Fast Deployment;Entry Through Small Hole;
• Use Standard No-Blow Equipment;
• Navigate Bends and Offsets;
• High Resolution Video Imaging & Recording;
• Maintenance Planning;
• Rehabilitation Method Selection; and
• Emergency Response;

Large VGC
The Large VGC is a crawler system designed for 20- to 48-inch live gas mains operating up to 100 psig. The crawler is launched through a 4-inch taphole drilled into the main using standard no-blow hot tap technology. After the inspection, a standard completion plug is installed.
VGC Crawler with Expanded Tracks

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