Meet the intelligent robot that repairs urban pipes

robot inteligente

Inspenet, November 27, 2023.

An intelligent robot generated great impact when it was revealed during the Smart China Expo 2023 held in September in southwest China. This innovative device, with dimensions of 80 centimeters long and 20 centimeters wide, caught the attention of urban equipment suppliers while floating in the exhibition pool. It fluidly transmitted images in real time to a screen.

This is a floating robot we developed mainly for the repair of underground urban sewage pipe networks ,” said Liu Jun, smart devices project leader of the southwest branch of the Second Construction Engineering Bureau of China.

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Liu made a simulation between the underground sewage network and the capillaries of a city, highlighting their fundamental role in daily urban functioning. Traditionally, repair and maintenance of these networks often involved road excavation or “major surgery” procedures.

It not only consumes a lot of time, but also causes traffic congestion, emissions and other problems ,” Liu said.

The floating robot can work in underground environments such as sewers and swamps ,” Liu said, adding that the robot is designed for drainage pipes of 600 to 3,000 millimeters in diameter.

How does this intelligent robot operate?

It should be noted that when the robot enters the pipeline, it activates a 360-degree rotating camera to capture a panoramic image of the pipeline. These are presented in real time, facilitating the creation of an inspection report, according to Liu.

It’s just the first step in restoration ,” said Mu Songwen, a company technician. ” If a problem is identified, we first clean the pipe with a sewage suction truck and then use another robot to do the restoration part .”

The newly developed robot will apply polymeric repair materials to the damaged pipeline and then use ultraviolet (UV) light curing irradiation to ensure rapid formation of the materials on the pipeline. Mu compared this process to placing a new layer of clothing on the broken wall. According to him, these robots have the potential to reduce labor repair time by 80 percent and decrease the cost of pipe repair by 30 to 40%.

Not only is the repair faster, but the results are also better ,” Mu added.

The floating robot has already been used in numerous projects in southwest China, including initiatives for environmental water treatment in the Qi River in Chongqing and for wastewater treatment in a biocity in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. .

The Smart China Expo, held annually since 2018, serves as a platform to foster global exchanges of smart technologies and facilitate international cooperation.

During this year’s edition, 84 investment projects were formalized, with contracts totaling approximately $29 billion.

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