VT150 a Member of the Family

Inuktun's Versatrax 150 is making friends wherever it goes, especially when it goes with Underground Pipe Inspectors Ltd. of Calgary.

Treated as a member of the family (UPI gives "him" a warm place to sleep at night) company president John Chad said the VT 150 has all kinds of adventures while working underground.

"We find that small creatures such as mice and salamanders are continually trying to make friends with our VT 150," joked Chad. "As patient as we are, we cannot wait for the bonding to complete."

Armed with a 457-metre tether to help probe underground and submarine piping, UPI's VT 150 has also been there to help out his human friends. On one assignment, UPI's VT 150 was asked to go and find another company's unit that had become lost in a pipe. "They had lost a camera down a pipe," said Chad. "So they called us to use our VT 150 to locate their own equipment and pinpoint where in the line it was."

As a member of UPI's family, sometimes Chad and his team worry about their underground workhorse's safety. Working in conditions below -25 degree Celsius, frozen mud and slick slime, sending the VT 150 into the unknown causes some worry but so far, like a faithful pet, it has always returned.

"One of our customers hired us to inspect a run of pipe that ran from the east side of the Queen Elizabeth 2 Highway which is a divided highway of six lanes through the city of Airdrie," recalled Chad. "Our fear was that if the pipe was in bad shape and our VT 150 got stuck, we would have to leave it stranded since no one would dig up such a major highway to find our small piece of equipment. He didn't get stuck and the little train that could, did."

Chad said the VT 150's willingness to get the job done in any condition has helped UPI improve its stature in the pipe inspecting industry. With clients like the City of Leduc, Bluebird Excavation, Blue Con Contracting, Whissell Contracting and the Calgary Stampede on UPI's client list, reliability is a must.

As reliable as the VT 150 is, it is also convenient. With a 457-metre tether, UPI can inspect significant sections of pipe with one set up before having to recall the robot and move the truck and trailer at a new location.

UPI provides pipe inspection services by using access points in the pipe structure, such as manholes. With the VT 150, real-time video is relayed back to the truck, revealing any faults or blockages to the crew immediately. UPI then analyzes the pipe video and submits a written assessment to the client along with a DVD of the video.

UPI is a small family run business that was incorporated in 2007 and is already poised to expand. "Our first year in business exceeded our expectations and we expect that our second will surpass our first," said Chad. "This is an exciting industry and we love every minute of it."

For more information on UPI visit www.undergroundpipe.ca

Canadian-based Inuktun Services is an industry leading designer and manufacturer of modular, mobile robotic systems and system components for use in hazardous areas, confined spaces and underwater applications throughout the world. For more information, call 1-800-468-5886 or visit www.inuktun.com.