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Researchers in the UK have introduced what they say is the first ever friction stir robotic crawler for internal repair and restoration of inaccessible pipelines.

The FSWBot developed by UK firm Forth Engineering is garnering interest from around the world, says Peter Routledge, Forth Engineering project manager in an online article on Scitech Europa.

"We are getting a lot of interest and inquiries about the FSWBot from across the globe. Interest is really building, including from Saudi Arabia, America, Canada, France and Spain.”

The project, supported by Innovate UK, seeks to integrate several state-of-the-art technologies including friction stir welding, milling, patch deployment and ultrasonic NDT, onto a robotic system which can be deployed to conduct repairs on pipelines without the need for the pipeline to be closed down for the duration of the restoration.

In the same article, Mark Telford, managing director at Forth says the technology offers a "fantastic opportunity for other businesses"  in industries such as nuclear operations, oil and gas, renewables "and perhaps areas we haven't even thought of, to make use of that technology and to share their challenges so we can develop the FSWBot in ways to help them."

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