Inuktun Sighting #15: Keep Rolling

It’s always good to be discovered.

On September 23, 2015, Discovery Channel aired a six-minute segment on Inuktun’s modular multi-mission technologies. Filmed a month earlier, it features Inuktun quality control manager Alan Doucette and engineering assembly technician Steve Pilcher deploying a VT150 Vertical Crawler™ into a pipe at Harmac pulp and paper mill, located in Nanaimo, British Columbia.

The underground pipe recirculates bacteria into the pulp process, and any breach in the system would have severe environmental consequences and pose a threat to the safety of workers.

The VT150 Vertical Crawler™ is a unique inspection vehicle. Based on the successful VT100 Vertical Crawler™, the VT150 VC employs three Minitracs™ and an expandable tripod chassis, allowing it to perform difficult inspections over a range of pipe sizes from 18 to 36 inches in virtually any orientation.

VT150 Vertical Crawler being deployed for subsea inspection

The VT150 Vertical Crawler™ was originally designed to inspect a client’s subsea pipe that had buckled 25 metres below the ocean surface and almost 50 metres below the mudline. Equipped with a custom spring expansion that self-adjusts without pilot input to traverse the buckle point, the crawler also allows for third-party laser scanner integration. It proved to be a successful design.

Now, every television show needs some drama, and this segment was no exception. At the outset, Doucette voiced some concern over navigating a difficult Y-bend at the end of the required inspection run. The crawler navigated the first two 90° bends with ease, and performed the inspection flawlessly before getting stuck at the Y-bend that was the source of Doucette’s original concern.

MicroMag searches for stuck VT150 Vertical Crawler

An Inuktun MicroMag™ was deployed to take a look at the problem, and soon the crawler was recovered via a good tug on the specially engineered umbilical cable.

Problem solved and mission complete.

The inspection results assured Harmac engineers that the pipe is sound, with no need for expensive shutdowns or inconvenient and costly excavations.

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