An Overview of Robotic Cutting Technology


An Overview of Robotic Cutting Technology 

Robotic cutters are considered to be extremely useful tools in the arsenal of a drainage specialist. According to their size and capabilities, robotic cutters can be used in a myriad of drainage applications. Available in different models such as pneumatic, electric, hydraulic and battery, these tools are used extensively these days for the removal of different solid objects from a pipe. The best thing about robotic cutting technology is its ability to avoid disruptive and expensive excavations. 

Understanding the technology  

Recent advances in technology have taken the possibilities of pipeline rehabilitation to a new level, and much of this can be attributed to robotic cutting.  When pipe lining was first introduced as a means of repairing them, digging down was necessary for opening up the lateral connections.  However, this disruptive method is not always a good option. 

The first generation of handlebar cutters were able to avoid excavation. However, a separate camera system had to be introduced from the other end of the pipe because these systems had no built-in camera. In this method, one common problem was camera damage caused by cutting heads spinning out. 

These days, we have the option to choose from a comprehensive range of robotic cutters including pneumatic, self propelling, air-driven, hydraulic, and the top-of-the-line all electric precision cutters. Selection of the right cutter for any given application depends on several factors including the material to be cut, the diameter of pipe, distance to the cutting site, etc. 


Compared to other pipeline rehabilitation techniques, robotic cutting presents several compelling advantages. 

  • Robotic cutting is safer for the pipeline operators compared to traditional excavation.
  • Allows workers to operate remotely from above ground, ensuring quicker job completion and less disruption compared to digging down.
  • Low carbon footprint on site.
  • Suitable for all locations including rural, city centre, and high traffic environments. 
  • Cheaper than full excavation. 
  • Causes little or no inconvenience to the communities. 

Some Common Applications

Today’s highly sophisticated robotic cutters can address many different pipeline related issues with minimum fuss. 

Opening lateral connections: Branch pipes connecting our homes to the main sewer are referred to as lateral connections. To rehabilitate a defective drain, insertion of a cured in place pipe (CIPP) is considered to be an effective method.  A new pipe is created within a pipe by installing a liner, utilising remote-access no-dig technology. The new lining covers all lateral connections joining the main sewer. 

Prior to relining, the exact position of the lateral connections is recorded using sophisticated CCTV cameras. Modern remote cutters are used to open or cut away the point where the lateral joins the main pipe, after the liner inside the pipe has cured. 

Removing solid obstructions: A variety of obstructions can be removed from pipes and sewers using robotic cutters. Generally, these obstructions are found while carrying out a CCTV survey during regular maintenance.  

Root ingress: This is a common issue that can cause serious damage to the drain’s structural integrity. It causes blockage by acting as a screen to catch other debris. Robotic cutters are excellent tools for removing these roots. 

Building materials: During construction work, it is common for materials such as cement, concrete, and tile slurry to get into the sewer network and drains. Robotic cutters are capable of getting rid of all these materials.  

At Austeck, we offer some of the most advanced robotic cutters in the market. Please contact our experts today to discuss your needs.