Watertown Daily Times – Con Edison has begun using a robot called CISBOT, from ULC Robotics, for work beneath the streets. The mission of CISBOT is to repair potentially
leaky cast-iron joints in New York City’s aging infrastructure, something it can do without ripping up pavement and disrupting neighborhoods.
Robert Kodadek, chief technology officer for ULC Robotics, said that by using CISBOT, there is no need to shut off the gas, block roadways or close businesses when working on
the pipelines. The robot enters and exits the main through a “launch tube” from which the oxygen is expelled, eliminating the danger of fire or explosion.
CISBOT has LED’s to illuminate its path and censors that can detect whether gas is leaking from each joint it rolls past. It also has a drill head and an injection device to shoot sealant
into holes in the joint that it has drilled. The sealant fills the gaps between the strands of jute fiber, the material that was used to pack the joint, an effective seal “back in the day.”
As an example of the robot’s efficiency, Con Edison pointed to a stretch of West End Avenue, between 102nd and 103rd streets, where CISBOT inspected 109 joints in the gas main beneath the pavement. That was 109 holes that did not have to be drilled. Con Edison also noted that this specific job cost $400,000, and to do the job the old way would have cost between $1.5 and $1.8 million.