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Lateral thinking

Combining mobile robotic technology with localised patch repair can provide clients with an economic trenchless solution to ageing sewers with lateral pipeline connections.

Modern patching techniques offer a tightly bonded impervious barrier to localised infiltration or exfiltration of water or chemicals. However, the often haphazard intrusion of lateral pipelines can prevent an inflatable packer unit - used for delivering a patch repair - from being manoeuvred into place. Sewer renovation contractor Fastflow Pipeline Services uses a multi-faceted robotic device Ka-Te to inspect the sewer for protruding connections using a mounted camera. Once an obstruction is identified, a technician can remotely guide the robot to grind out pipework blocking the sewer using a diamond charged drilling tool.

An Econoliner patch repair system can then be safely winched into position. The liner is impregnated with epoxy resin and is wrapped around the inflatable packer. Once in place, the packer is expanded using heated pressurised water to ensure that the lining meets the side of the sewer and cures in place. The lining will provide a secure seal over leaking joints and existing but unwanted connections. If the lateral is to be kept open, the robot can also be used to cut through the lining to make a new clean joint.

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