Dec 2015
Gas Distribution
Robotic Roadworks (Stage 1)
Dec 2015
Apr 2016
Oliver Machan, Innovation Project Manager
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Network Innovation Allowance
GD - Safety and emergency
Gas Distribution Networks

The scope of the project is to perform a detailed feasibility study to minimize onward project risk and develop operational, safety and procedural guidelines for the Robotic Keyhole System, generate specifications for the device and solidify the design and analyse and perform a preliminary selection of key components for use in the system.

The objective of this project is to:

  • Carry out a preliminary investigation into performing current operational repair and maintenance activities using a new innovative robotic system.
  • Generate a list of potential keyhole and compact excavation repair/maintenance operations that may be used in the system. Additionally, focus will be applied to finding operations, not currently performed in keyholes, which may be performed in a keyhole when using this new system.
  • Begin to build a robust cost benefit analysis (CBA) which may be utilized to support an ongoing Stage 2.
The success criteria for the project are:

  • Generation of preliminary specifications for the system - Robotic Arm, Sensors, Custom Tooling or Adaptation of Existing Tooling, and Support Systems (Keyhole Rotary Cutting Unit, Vacuum, Compressor, Generator, Operator Controls, Etc)

  • Evaluation of key system components against technical and operational specifications

  • Generation of draft operational specifications and work plans outlining how the Robotic Keyhole System will be deployed in the field to perform keyhole excavations

  • Preliminary identification of key components including, Robotic Arm, Tooling, Sensor Packages

  • Preliminary 3D Computer Modelling of Robotic Arm Capabilities

  • A preliminary analysis of the proposed process with the inclusion of operator intervention points and safety evaluations

  • Produce a detailed feasibility report and share the learning with the other network licensees.