• Element four


    Remote service line connection

    Pipe insertion is a technique which involved putting a smaller into an existing, larger one.  It allows us to install new pipes, but with a much lower level of excavation on the roads and in customers’ homes than necessary with other methods. 

    The need for fewer excavations means that we can save resources and cost, for example by reducing the need for permits and the cost of restoration.


    There are two ways in which distribution networks can insert pipes - live and dead insertion.


    • Dead insertion We disconnect the pipe from the main and excavate the pipe, making a cut out to insert a new polyethylene (PE) pipe.

    • Live insertion We insert a pipe into a live gas main and services are replaced using specialist ‘foam off’ technique to allow us to maintain supplies at all times throughout the operation. Once we have inserted PE pipe into the entire length of the main, we need to connect each individual service pipe connection to the new piping.


    Element four of our project will develop a robotic technique to connect the newly inserted PE pipe to customer’s service lines, from within the pipe itself.


    The new robotic method will:

    • Reduce the amount of time a customer supply is disrupted.

    • Reduce the amount of excavation required.

    • Reduce the costs associated with obtaining permits and restoring roads and customers’ properties.