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Turning a pipe dream into tomorrow’s reality

Visionary Project GRAID is set to bring the future closer – and make never-before-seen technology a reality for the first time. It will mark a move from predictive modelling into a brave new world of sending robots inside high-pressure gas pipelines to analyse the condition of critical assets.

This technological leap will allow NGGT to cut asset maintenance costs by eliminating unnecessary excavations and providing data to allow asset life extension. It will also generate carbon savings of more than 2,000 tonnes annually, equivalent to the emissions from almost 500 UK households. It is a critical benefit as we move towards a low-carbon economy.

Project GRAID’s pioneering robotic platform will negotiate its way through complex pipework geometries, while withstanding extreme pressure of up to 100 Barg. That’s five times the maximum pressure that would be experienced underwater by a submarine.

It will take visual and wall-thickness measurements that will then be translated into meaningful intelligence about these critical assets.

National Grid is collaborating with three SMEs to deliver the project: Synthotech Ltd, who specialise in robotic solutions; Premtech Ltd, who will map the sites, create a GPS system for the robot to follow while underground and design the launch and retrieval device and testing facility; and Pipeline Integrity Engineers, who will transform the measurements into relevant data by using complex calculations.

The quality of this new data will allow NGGT to better focus its excavation and pipe-replacement work, and reinstate assets that are found to be still in good condition. Read on to discover exactly how the project is set to unfold…