June 24, 2020

Tubot robotic startup became exclusive Russian partner of Inspector Systems – German pipeline crawler manufacturer

Starting from June 2020, Tubot robotic startup (part of the TechnoSpark Group of Companies supported by Sigma.Novosibirsk) will be an exclusive representative of German Inspector Systems robotic company in the territory of Russia.

Specializing in pipeline crawler production, Tubot robotic startup works on the development of a robot for oil-filled pipelines in cooperation with Transneft-Diaskan and Transneft companies. Since 2017, the company has been cooperating with Inspector Systems on pipe systems diagnostics projects, including the development of a system for oil pipes of explosion safety category 0. Due to its extensive experience, Tubot was given the right to represent its partners in Russia.


Photo by Inspector systems

The turnover of the global pipe systems diagnostics market is estimated at 20 billion dollars; the share of robot-aided diagnostics is 1 billion dollars. According to the analytics, in the next seven years, this will be the most dynamically developing segment with the mean average annual growth rate of 17%.

There are over 2.5 million kilometers of oil pipes alone in the whole world. Around 250 thousand kilometers of these pipes are located in Russia, and 80% of them have been in use for over 30 years. A significant share of these pipes lies under the ground, which makes it impossible to replace big segments of the pipelines. One of the functions of the pipeline crawler is the localization of the problematic areas for further replacement or repair.

“Inspector Systems has been developing and producing pipeline crawler systems for over 35 years. It offers the broadest range of products for the majority of industrial pipes and spheres of application. These include municipal heat supply networks, oil pumping station pipelines, nuclear reactor liquid cooling systems, skyscraper ventilation systems, as well as quality control for the pipe mill products. Now these solutions will be available for Russian companies,” said a member of the board of the TechnoSpark Group of Companies, CEO of Sigma.Novosibirsk Boris Galkin.


Photo by Inspector systems

The robotic units move through the pipes with the diameter ranging from 75 to 1200 mm, including the contaminated ones; they are capable of moving through horizontal, vertical and inclined pipes, getting through curves and bottleneck sections. The robots are used for visual examination, inspection, polishing, cleaning, painting. They can be equipped with video inspection, ultrasound, magnetic eddy current, polishing, and vacuum cleaning modules. Examples of application: diagnostics of the utility lines of thermal power plants/hydropower stations, applying coating inside the pipes, cleaning water supply pipes of dirt and scum, safety check of the nuclear power station cooling systems.


The pipeline crawler replaces the methods of external pipeline and utility system diagnostics, reducing the repair and maintenance expenses, at the same time increasing the inspection frequency by several times, which means preventing accidents, human lives and damage to the environment.

Marcus Hitzel, General Manager, Inspector Systems 

Inspector Systems Rainer Hitzel GmbH deals with the development and production of caterpillar and special robots for internal inspection and maintenance of pipelines since 1983. The main scopes of robot application are inspection and maintenance of the nuclear power stations, regular power stations, oil processing plants, chemical and petrochemical works, marine drilling rigs and pipelines, intercity heat supply networks and municipal sewage systems. Working all around the world, Inspector Systems is a regular contractor for many major companies working in the domains of power supply, oil and gas industry, chemical and petrochemical industry and offshore industry.


Photo by Inspector systems

SIGMA.Novosibirsk is a member of the nanocenter network of the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs of RUSNANO. Acting both as an investor and a technological entrepreneur, SIGMA.Novosibirsk creates new companies in different technological domains, such as logistic robotics, electric power storage systems, unmanned aerial vehicles, agrotechnologies, and new technologies in the oil and gas industry.

[1] Advances in the Inspection of Unpiggable Pipelines / George H. Mills, Andrew E. Jackson and Robert C. (Richardson School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds) —November 29, 2017.

Source: Media Office of TechnoSpark


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