ULC Robotics Inc., a leading developer of innovative technologies and processes for the energy and utility industries, is transforming the way vital energy infrastructure is maintained and operated by making robotic systems business-as-usual.
ULC Robotics helps the energy industry confront the issues of critical infrastructure maintenance and operation head-on. The technology we develop improves the inspection and repair process by minimizing environmental and social impact while increasing worker safety and operational efficiency. In order to repair and maintain buried infrastructure, natural gas utilities perform hundreds of thousands of costly, disruptive street excavations annually.
The robotic systems we develop allow for significantly fewer excavations, minimizing the disruption and expense associated with such street work. One of the most labor-intensive requirements by electric utilities is the frequent inspection of high voltage power lines. Employees walk or drive hundreds of miles over a period of weeks in order to verify the operational integrity of these lines.
However, UAV inspections more than half the cost and time typically required for this process. ULC continues to grow at a rapid pace, with additional developments in robotics and automation. By addressing industry challenges through research, development, commercialization, ULC is revolutionizing energy industry operations and advancing infrastructure improvement.
ULC Robotics works with gas and electric utilities in the U.S. and U.K. to develop and deploy robotics to transform energy infrastructure operations and maintenance. 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, including gas pipelines, high voltage cables, and power plants. ULC’s technology creates significant advancements in the field while reducing the operational costs associated with manual inspections, excavation, public disruption, and environmental impact.
ULC continues to contribute to the advancement of the industry with the deployment of CISBOT, used to rehabilitate over 30 miles of large-diameter, cast-iron natural gas pipeline across the U.S. and U.K.
CISBOT prevents harmful methane leaks and greenhouse gas emissions aging pipelines for SGN, National Grid, Con Edison, and Spire Energy.
In 2017 and 2018, ULC has deployed its seventh and eighth robots into the field to address increased demand. In Q1 2018, ULC Robotics was awarded one of the largest-ever robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) contracts with SGN. ULC will use CISBOT to restore 24 miles of 16 in. to 36 in.-diameter pipeline over the next several years.
In partnership with SGN, ULC Robotics was awarded a large-scale project to develop a robot capable of excavating in road and conducting work on buried pipelines. The Robotic Roadworks and Excavation System (RRES) will use innovative below-ground locating sensors, artificial intelligence, and machine vision to detect and avoid infrastructure during excavation.
Eliminating the need for traditional construction equipment, the RRES promises environmental and social benefits such as decreased traffic disruption and minimal project emissions.
ULC’s R&D division had also worked to create an Air Gap Inspector for ABB, a global robotics solutions provider. Completed in 2017, the robot is as thin as a smartphone and equipped with a system of cameras used to locate and identify problem areas such as broken laminations, blocked vents, and more. The modular design adapts to a variety of motors and generators and helps determine the need for asset repair or replacement.
ULC’s Aerial Services division is successfully penetrating the market of unmanned aerial inspection services. ULC has entered into a master service agreement with National Grid for the introduction of UAS services across their U.S. gas, electric and power generation facilities.
The agreement is the first of its kind for National Grid and one of the first UAV services contracts in the U.S. In addition, ULC Aerial Services is working with NUAIR Alliance, one of several designated FAA test sites, to conduct long-range flights for the utility and energy markets.
- Gregory Penza, President
- Graeme Cleeton, VP of U.K. Operations