ST. LOUIS, March 28, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Every day, Spire crews are working to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of natural gas to customers. Now, they have an extra crew member to help with the work – a robot.
The robot, named CISBOT, was developed by New York-based ULC Robotics and can travel through large-diameter gas mains to repair joints from the inside without interruption to natural gas service. The joints connect pieces of pipe together every 12 feet along the pipeline and are inspected regularly to ensure integrity and reduce future repairs. These inspections and repairs prevent future leaks and extend the life of large-diameter pipes underground.
"At Spire, we're constantly looking for innovative ways to improve the delivery of natural gas – both for field operations and for our customers. While the robot focuses on this project, additional construction crews are freed up to work on other important projects around the metro," said Tim Goodson, vice president of operations for Spire.
Customers will see multiple benefits from this robotic technology:
Spire can complete repairs in a matter of weeks, compared to the traditional methods, which takes months.
Because the robot can travel underground for 750 feet in either direction, there are far fewer excavation sites in neighborhood streets.
- More Efficient
With robotic technology, fewer crews and large equipment are needed – and those efficiencies help to avoid costs for Spire customers.
- Stay Connected
During the project, customers stay connected to gas service.
"We will be sealing around 14,000 feet of pipeline robotically this year with limited disruption to neighborhoods," said Goodson. "Using this technology, we're delivering on our promise to customers to always provide a reliable system while keeping our rates as low as possible."
"Partnering on these projects demonstrates Spire's commitment to investing in infrastructure to better serve the needs of customers," said Ryan McGowan, vice president of field operations at ULC Robotics. "Identifying and sealing these pipeline joints with CISBOT helps Spire to provide even safer and more reliable service for years to come."
At Spire Inc. (NYSE: SR) we believe energy exists to help make people's lives better. It's a simple idea, but one that's at the heart of our company. Every day we serve 1.7 million customers making us the fifth largest publicly traded natural gas company in the country. We help families and business owners fuel their daily lives through our gas utilities serving Alabama, Mississippi and Missouri. Our natural gas-related businesses include Spire Marketing, Spire STL Pipeline and Spire Storage. We are transforming our business and pursuing growth through 1) growing organically, 2) investing in infrastructure, 3) acquiring and integrating, and 4) innovation and technology. Learn more at SpireEnergy.com.
ULC Robotics, Inc.
ULC Robotics, Inc. is a leading Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) solutions provider and developer for the energy industry, transforming the way that vital infrastructure is maintained and operated. Our diverse team of engineers, sensor scientists, unmanned system pilots, and field operators provide end-to-end solutions for real-world application across a variety of environments. The deployment of ULC's robotic systems and unmanned aerial systems helps utilities lower operating costs while minimizing their impact on customers and the environment. For more information please visit www.ulcrobotics.com.
SOURCE Spire Inc.