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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number NIA_NGN_184
Title Remote circumferential pipe cleaning tool
Status Completed
Energy Categories Fossil Fuels: Oil Gas and Coal(Oil and Gas, Refining, transport and storage of oil and gas) 100%;
Research Types Applied Research and Development 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Metallurgy and Materials) 25%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering) 75%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Project Contact
No email address given
Northern Gas Networks
Award Type Network Innovation Allowance
Funding Source Ofgem
Start Date 01 December 2016
End Date 01 July 2017
Duration 7 months
Total Grant Value £27,067
Industrial Sectors Technical Consultancy
Region Yorkshire & Humberside
Programme Network Innovation Allowance
Investigators Principal Investigator Project Contact , Northern Gas Networks (100.000%)
Web Site http://www.smarternetworks.org/project/NIA_NGN_184
Objectives Stage 1 - Design and Development, Prototype manufacture and Internal Testing: Finalising the design concepts and developing detailed manufacturing drawings. Once design has been signed off a unit will be manufactured in house to allow our field engineers to test the system under controlled conditions. (12 Weeks) Stage 1a - (if required) - Modifications: Modify design to eliminate issues found during prototype and testing phases. Remanufacture required new parts and retest, iterate until solution is acceptable. (4 Weeks if required) Stage 2 - Field Trials: With the GDN trial the equipment on 3 sites to ensure their acceptance of the equipment (8 weeks) Stage 3 - Approval and Network acceptance (2 weeks). Successful completion of the project will have delivered the development and field testing of a new mechanical method of cleaning metallic mains utilising long handled tooling to a degree whereby appropriate repair clamps can be attached to the host main. The product would be at a point where it could be commercially available and ready for implementation within the network. Successful implementation of the product will ensure that the GDN will be able to apply a safe, mechanical operation to clean a host main to enable the operative to apply a repair clamp through core and vac / small ex working.
Abstract In the UK there are approximately 275,000 km of various sized gas mains with approximately 115,000 km constructed from cast iron or ductile iron dating back up to 100 years in age. Connected to these gas mains are many more thousands of service pipes connecting private, business and commercial customers to the mains gas network. These metallic pipes can leak due to, amongst other reasons, fractures due to weather conditions/movement or failure at joints which may be caused by the drying of yarn within the joint used as filler for a lead seal. This follows the switchover from wet Towns gas compared to the dry natural gas used today. GDNs currently undertake excavations in the public highway to perform maintenance and repair on these buried pipe assets. Traditionally excavation to expose these buried assets often negatively impact customers or the environment by; creating traffic disruption; reduced property access; sending material to land fill; high, sustained noise levels; etc. Since approximately 2008 ‘core and vac’ technology has been used that allows a circular core to be cut and removed from the surface courses of the carriageway exposing the base and bed layers. This relatively less dense material can then be broken up using air powered picks and the spoil removed using a vacuum (‘vac’) excavator, exposing the buried gas main. Inspection or repair of the pipe can then be achieved using long handled tooling, allowing the operator to work from the surface without entering the excavation. Following work on the gas pipe the spoil is reused to back fill the excavation, compacted to standard and the original core sealed back in place - reducing spoil to landfill and decreasing risk to the public from changes in road surface grip. Disruption to road users is significantly reduced where this technique can be deployed. Currently operations to repair leaking joints require only a small area of the pipe crown to be cleaned, allowing the drilling of the pipe joint and the injection of joint sealant. The GDN is looking to further increase its capability of work using long handled tooling via core and vac. Operations in the future, including fitting access and repair fittings will require the pipe to be fully cleaned around its circumference, removing surface debris and taking the pipe back to a visibly mechanically clean surface. Currently should the underside of the pipes surface require cleaning a hammer and chisel or a manual scrapping type tool mounted on a hand pulled belt is used, this is drawn under the pipe surface. Surface preparation using this technique is inconsistent and can lead to poor surfaces for mechanical fittings to seal against. There is an opportunity to reduce customer/traffic disruption and costs associated with these activities and the GDNs are keen to see a variety of potential alternatives or solutions to the problem. The innovation will be deployed as part of the tooling for the ‘core and vac’ teams within NGN and NGG. It will be used following ‘core and vac’ exposes the pipe, prior to a further operation being undertaken on the pipe such as a repair clamp. The innovation may then be adopted for all operative teams within the networks.Note : Project Documents may be available via the ENA Smarter Networks Portal using the Website link above
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 26/10/18