Articles & Case Studies

Custom Built Robot Provides Hartlepool Water with Cleaning Solution

Posted: Friday 18th October 2013

MA market-leading water engineering firm has gone above and beyond in order to complete a milestone project for one of its oldest clients.

Panton McLeod, one of the UK’s foremost water engineering companies, has re-designed its innovative water cleaning robot, in order to carry out time and money saving work for Hartlepool Water.

After inspecting Hartlepool Water’s Throston tanks with a remotely operated mini submarine ‘ROV’, the firm realised the hatches were too small for access with the VR600 so it re-designed a smaller version of its innovative water cleaning machine, the VR480.

Paul Henderson, Sales & Marketing Director with Panton McLeod, said: “We have a long history of supporting Hartlepool Water through our traditional confined space entry cleaning services but in 2009 we carried out a programme of ROV inspections on the tanks they could not easily remove from supply.

“During these inspections we found that our existing cleaning robots would not be able to pass into the tank due to restrictions at the hatches. We have always strived to be innovative and this challenge spurred us onto to develop a new member of our robotic division.

“Providing the VR480 to Hartlepool Water allowed the tanks to be cleaned while they were still full and ‘in service’. This prevented disruption to the water supply as well as utilising time and resources more effectively.

“Our existing robotic cleaners help us clean and collect invaluable information on the condition of tanks in a cost efficient way, therefore we went back to our original design and modified it in order to create a smaller but equally effective version that could be used for Hartlepool Water.

“Although we have used the VR480 for cleaning other tanks since it was developed, it is heartening to see it service such a longstanding client for whom it was designed especially.”

Panton McLeod uses its Robotic fleet to allow engineers remote access to storage tanks, not only allowing them to clean but also providing visual images of the insides which lets them identify, schedule and budget for any repair or refurbishments works prior to the tanks being drained.

This reduces “out of service” time and reduces the risk to the client, ultimately ensuring the optimum level of service to the public as the end user.

The works accomplished for Hartlepool Water were carried out by a Panton McLeod team working out of the firm’s most local base which is located in South Shields.

Kevin Friedl who lead the team onsite said “Its great to see this project come full circle, being involved in the initial inspections back in 2009 and now finally completing the works has given the team great satisfaction and a real sense of accomplishment.”

Chris Wingrove, Engineer at Hartlepool Water, said: “We have been delighted with the service provided to us by Panton McLeod, in particular through the use of the VR480”

“Not only did they create the VR480 specifically to fit into the narrower opening of two of our water storage tanks, they also managed to create a cleaning option that meets the strict water quality standards for potable water including turbidity”

“Although we were originally wary of the use of robots for cleaning and inspecting tanks, our experience with Panton McLeod alleviated our concerns and we would not hesitate to use this technology in the future”

“It is great to know that there are service providers who take the time and effort to provide the highest level of service possible, even if it means going back to the drawing board and developing a new tool specifically.”

Having recently won a framework agreement with Anglian Water, owner of Hartlepool Water, the team at Panton McLeod were keen to demonstrate the high level of cleaning and data collection they could provide using both the original and newly designed technology.




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