Articles & Case Studies

New Water Tower Clean for Panton’s Robots

Posted: Wednesday 11th July 2012

Water quality engineering firm Panton McLeod has taken a significant step forward towards expanding its innovative robotic division with the successful completion of its third water tower clean with its robotic cleaning machines.

The firm has used robotic equipment to complete a routine cleaning project for South West Water at Branscombe Tower in East Devon, ensuring that thousands of households in the region continue to receive the freshest drinking water from their taps.

Panton McLeod used its innovative VR600 robot – which resembles the Pixar character Wall-E - to clean a natural build up of material from the floor of the water tower while it was still online, maintaining the highest purity of drinking water. By using the robot, the firm ensured that the facility did not need to be taken out of service and drained, ensuring that customers faced no disruption to their supplies during the project.

The clean is only the third elevated water tower project that Panton McLeod has completed with the remotely-controlled VR600 machine and follows a successful clean of Minety Tower near Royal Wootton Bassett and Whychurch Tower near Malmesbury for Wessex Water.

In order to access the Branscombe Tower facility, the firm had to hire a crane in order to lift the robot to the top of the 35 meters high tower before disinfecting it and lowering it into the structure. A team of engineers then manoeuvred the remotely-controlled machine throughout the interior of the structure to complete the cleaning work.

Gordon McDonald, who heads Panton McLeod’s robotic division, said: “Until last year we have never used robots in water towers or other elevated water storage facilities. However, after challenging the adaptability of the equipment earlier last year, we realised that the VR600 could be used to successfully complete tower projects and this has allowed us to expand the services we offer.

“Branscombe Tower was another big challenge for the team as we had to hire a crane in order to hoist the robot to the top of the tower before we could begin cleaning the facility. Once this stage was complete, the rest was pretty straight forward and we are delighted with how smoothly the project was completed.

“We hope that this latest water tower clean can continue to open up new avenues for Panton McLeod across the UK water industry and we look forward to completing more of these projects in the future.”

The VR600 is a special tracked robot that is manoeuvred along the floor of any water storage structure and removes any sediment build up on the floor of these facilities. It can also be used to inspect the condition of huge underground water tanks, known as storage reservoirs, including checking the interior of the facilities for corrosion or damage.

Panton McLeod also operates other ROV inspection robots which are manoeuvred like a submarine through the water in a service reservoir and is able to inspect the walls of the tank, joints, and the roof for damage or leakage.

Both sets of machines are remotely operated from the surface and fitted with cameras and lighting equipment, allowing staff controlling the robots to assess the interior of the tanks. They are also used solely within clean potable water environments and meticulously cleaned and disinfected prior to every use to ensure they can be safely used in the public water supply, and Panton McLeod conducts rigorous tests before and after each inspection.

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