Robotic Pipeline Repair

Robitic pipeline repair faster and more durable with Exergen's micro IRt/c sensors

General info

With the fast increase of the human population, public infrastructure/utilities face serious expansion and maintenance work. Good working sewer systems (water/wastewater pipelines) are an extremely important and an essential part of the urban infrastructure. In many parts of the world, the underground sewage pipes were placed decades ago and need maintenance to remain operative.


Traditional pipeline repair requires that the section of the pipe that is damaged is excavated and repaired or replaced by a technician. This method has many disadvantages: the damaged pipe needs to be taken out of commission and excavated. This requires the use of heavy equipment and the area around the excavation needs to be sealed off, resulting in the closing of roads, sidewalks, or other areas. This in turn has effects on the traffic flow, accessibility of (shopping) areas etc. This made the repair of sewage pipes unnecessarily expensive, time consuming and cumbersome with many negative side effects.

Optimal solution

Sewage pipes can now be repaired without the need for excavation. Robots can be deployed that can repair the pipe from within (called CIPP: cured in place pipe). From an area where the sewage is accessible, a liner is being pulled in the sewer with the help of a winch. The UV liner is impregnated with a resin that is curable with UV light. Once the liner is positioned correctly within the patch of sewage pipe that needs repair, it is pressurized so it expands against the inner wall of the pipe. UV light sources are entered into the liner, and they illuminate the inner wall of the hose. When UV light encounters the resin, a chemical reaction takes place which hardens the resin. The newly formed layer of hardened resin now forms a novel inner layer of piping that is impenetrable for fluids. The damaged sewage pipe is now repaired.

Temperature in pipe repair

Temperature is a key parameter in obtaining fast, reliable, and durable results in the CIPP procedure. The time in which the resin is exposed to UV light to cure, is critical. Too short of an exposure time and the resin remains soft, too long of an exposure time and the resin become brittle. In both cases, the chance of an unsuccessful repair, thus recurrence of leaks, is significant. The exact timing of UV exposure can be measured by monitoring resin temperature carefully. Once a set point temperature is reached for a set time frame, the resin is cured perfectly for optimal results. This can only be measured using non-contact temperature sensors that are integrated in the robotic curing system.

Why Exergen IRt/c non-contact sensors?

Exergen’s unpowered, non-contact IRt/c sensors are extremely small, making integration in a complex robot easier. The sensors are passive devices, so no power supply is required. Therefore, the sensors do not drift and require no maintenance. The IRt/c sensor is very accurate as it makes it possible to measure the exact temperature during the curing process, with a resolution of approx. of 0,0001°C and a repeatability error of 0,01°C. Combine all these advantages with withstanding high ambient temperatures and not being sensitive to UV light, provides a technician all knowledge at what temperature to stop. cost-effective procedure.

Commercial advantages

Being able to fully control this process, highly increases the efficiency and the quality outcome of the total curing process turning it in a highly cost-effective procedure By simply using one of smallest, unpowered Exergen’s IRt/c sensor safeguards very reliable readings, no excavation therefore huge cost savings. Also, less labor, less downtime provides an increased efficiency level.

But of course, it speaks for itself that it is crucial to maintain sewage systems properly, otherwise, they can be harmful to the population and the environment. A proper maintenance program of sewage systems:

  • Prevents waterborne diseases from being spread.
  • It is also vital for protecting water resources.
  • Use your budget and staff as efficiently as possible.
Download this Application Note as PDF