What is a robotic cutter?

A robotic cutter is a high-tech tool used to grind out pipe obstructions. It is useful in blocked drain situations where a water jetter is unsuccessful in removing solid obstacles. Such items may include star pickets, very thick tree roots, concrete, timber pegs or crushed pipe.

Robotic cutters are inserted into the pipe and controlled via a remote-control system. The operator can maneuver the grinding head inside the pipe and carefully cut out the intrusions.

When is a robotic cutter required?

Robotic cutters are crucial to the success of a lot of pipe relining jobs. They can be used to grind out a competitor’s failed reline as this needs to be taken out prior to commencing a new relining job.

They are also required to re-instate laterals once the pipe relining job has been completed. This will allow sewage or stormwater waste to flow freely through any connections coming off the mainline. Without re-instating laterals, pipes will not function properly so this is an important step to carry out.

Robotic Pipe Cutting Case Study

A large building company had constructed a commercial building and the site experienced blockages soon after the tenants moved in. Several attempts were made to clear the blockages using an electric eel and a high-pressure water jetter. When this did not remedy the problem, further action was taken to suck the pipework dry using a vacuum truck. Upon further investigation with a drain camera, it became clear that a test plug was left in the pipe and became stuck and a section of the pipe had also become crushed.

Test plugs are used to plug the end of the pipework so plumbers can check their drainage work and be sure there are no leaks. In this case, the test plug had not been removed from the pipe and was wedged in a position where it was unable to be removed despite tireless efforts to do so. To further complicate the situation, the crushed pipe was not allowing the test plug to be removed using a jetter or a rod as it further limited the capacity of the pipe.

The test plug was eventually cut up and ground out using a robotic cutter. Approximately 30 to 40 percent of the crushed section of pipe was also ground out and then cleaned. It was then repaired by us using pipe relining technology.