Harrogate-based Synthotech has extended its partnership with the University of Sheffield to develop the next generation of industrial robots.
As part of the Pipebots initiative, Synthotech will work with leading UK water companies to conduct a research and feasibility study into using robots for mains inspection.
The project will run for 10 months and aims to accelerate the development of in-pipe condition assessment and rehabilitation technologies to meet water industry needs.
The Pipebots team will work with Synthotech to test the robots on iron pipework using accelerometers, ultrasonic probes and electromagnetic (EM) induction sensors. The sensors are attached the Synthotech’s LeakVISION robots to help gather data.
Professor Kirill Horoshenkov, programme director at the University of Sheffield, said: “The Pipebots partnership brings together leading innovators from industry and academia to accelerate the development and adoption of the latest robot technology in the UK’s pipeline networks. The benefits of pipeline robots include fewer roadworks for motorists and communities, alongside significant efficiency improvements for utility companies.”
Pipebots was awarded £15K as part of a research and feasibility study funded by the OFWAT innovation fund and committed a further £30k as an in-kind contribution towards this project as a part of their EPSRC Grant EP/S016813/1.
Synthotech develops advanced robots that can detect leaks and fix pipes. The robots can be deployed remotely for long distances, which speeds up the investigation process to aid safety and reduce environmental impact. The robotics are designed, developed and manufactured in the UK
The engineering business has spent over £1.2 million to create advanced robots to find and repair water and gas pipe leaks.
Simon Langdale, engineering director at Synthotech, said: “Our partnership with Pipebots allows us to work in close partnership with leading academic institutions to fast-track the advancement and adoption of this technology. As Synthotech continues to go from strength to strength in the UK and overseas, it’s important that we continue to innovate and meet the needs of our customers.
“Over the last year, we’ve invested to build an extensive testing site that replicates underground utilities. It allows innovators to test and evaluate the cutting-edge technologies generated in Academia. The unique site and capability allow us and utility networks to get to grips with using advanced technology in real-world scenarios, without impacting water supplies and homeowners.”