iPEK Crawler Improves Pittsburgh Sewer Inspections

Company News
August 18, 2020

Sewer inspections are becoming significantly more efficient in Pittsburgh (USA) thanks to innovation in crawler technology from iPEK. Sulzberg, Germany-based iPEK, which manufactures wastewater inspection systems, recently partnered—through iPEK’s long-time master distributor in North and South America, Envirosight—with the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority (PWSA) to help make processes easier, more efficient, and drive productivity with the ROVION SAT II crawler.

In the past, PWSA team members have had difficulty examining inclines in pipeline systems. The Authority, established in 1984, is responsible for the entire city of Pittsburgh’s sewer system, roughly 12,000 miles of mostly combined sanitary and storm sewer lines. And there is no shortage of slopes around the historic city.

Using feedback from some of their most important customers, iPEK equipped the ROVION SAT II inspection system with 8-wheel drive and a new and improved belt drive for improved speed and power.

“We are constantly trying to climb hills with our equipment, which we used to find really difficult,” says Jason Auge, CCTV specialist and 13-year-veteran of PWSA. “Since purchasing the SAT II systems, we are doing it effortlessly.”

PWSA team members also face several other challenges in the city’s system, including increased debris due to the combined systems, sinkholes and frequent pipe junctions.

In the past, if the sewer pipe diameter of the sewage pipe changed, it would require the inspector to take the crawler out and adjust the setup, making the process time consuming and tedious.

“The number of lines that run junction to junction in our system is a unique challenge for us,” Auge said.

To improve the system’s flexibility, iPEK team members included a push rod and tv-cable, which allows the crawler to conduct lateral launches in a sewer system (Pictured Below)


“With the lateral launch on the SAT II, we are able to drive up one sewer main and launch the camera into other mains running perpendicular. And, using the carbon fiber antenna for the camera head, I’m able to lift over a lot of joints and steer through junctions that I wasn’t able to before,” Auge said.

In addition to developing a much more agile crawler, iPEK also added an automatic cable reel, which extends to about 300 meters of cable for camera use and 45 meters for lateral launches.

To see the Crawler in action, Click here

With the help of iPEK’s SAT II system in each of its three inspection vehicles, PWSA has already seen an improvement in productivity.

“There’s definitely been an increase in efficiency with the SAT II,” says Auge. “We are getting more done. It’s crawling faster and we’re getting to our problem spots quicker. It’s clear the technology has improved significantly.”

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