Robotics & Automation News

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How Robots Repair Aging Water Pipes

Robots are incredibly useful when working in hard-to-reach areas, such as the cramped confines of the municipal water pipes.

But robots can perform the tasks of accessing and repairing these water pipes without facing the challenges that humans usually do.

Many companies are already building robots that can function in areas that are not easily accessible to humans.

Fixing aging water pipes

Old and aging pipes have become a pressing issue in most cities. A significant leak in these pipes may stop the water supply in hundreds of homes.

The state government cannot take that risk. The government checks the quality of the water supply, including the plumbing infrastructure of the cities every year.

According to the reports of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the country loses more than 6 billion gallons of drinking water every day due to aging and leaking pipes. This quantity is more than sufficient for supplying water to Californian residents for an entire year.

But there is no quick-fix to this problem because accessing the leaks is challenging for humans. To address this issue, a UCI engineering team has been given the responsibility to build robots that will travel through the water pipes and fix the leaks from the inside.

The experts working from the top will be able to see where the robot is going, thanks to the wireless camera attached to the robot’s head. The robot will follow the direction in which the experts want it to move.

The experts will take a look at the type of leak in the underlying water pipes using the camera on the robot’s head. Depending on the kind of leak, they will bring the robot up and equip it with the necessary tools to fix the issue.

For example, a breakdown in the valves may require new belimo control valves. The robot will carry one of these valves and replace the broken valve with the new one.

Benefits of robotics in plumbing

According to experts, robotics in plumbing will not only save tons of gallons of water but also make it easier to fix broken pipes. With robots, the government may require fewer resources to access and repair leaking pipes than through traditional methods.

Traditional methods are not only risky for the plumbers, but the quality of service is also not long-lasting as humans can hardly access the bends and corners of the pipes.

Nowadays, construction crews dig trenches to locate damaged pipe segments. This is one of the most expensive ways to fix leaking pipes. Moreover, digging trenches is possible on the outskirts and not in the heart of the city.

On the other hand, a repair robot can quickly enter the water system, travel through the line until it locates the leaking spot. It can use tough reinforcement material to apply a patch on the leaking area.

Although the robots are still under construction, it is safe to say that the USA will not waste billions of gallons of water every day in the future.


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