Alternate Crack Sensor (NYSEARCH Project M2016-004)

Figure 1: Testbed for Alternate Crack Sensor

Figure 2: Alternate Crack Sensor Configuration

The Explorer series of robotics inspection platforms is a wide range of technologies developed by the NYSEARCH consortium to address issues related to pipeline integrity, specifically the inspection of unpiggable pipe. It has been licensed by InvoDane/Intero and has been in commercial service for over a decade with numerous North American jobs completed. Once the Explorer Series of Robotic Inspection platforms were commercialized with corrosion detection and mechanical damage sensing capabilities in 2011, NYSEARCH initiated development of additional sensing and operational capabilities to increase Explorer’s efficacy, effectiveness and productivity with respect to the services it can provide. An important value-added feature was the design, development, and testing that is now complete. This NYSEARCH accomplishment now provides the ability of InvoDane/Intero – through its service company, Pipetel Technologies Inc., to commercialize an alternative crack sensor to extend the benefits of the robot’s inspection services.

This alternate crack sensor, which is also known as the weld crack sensor, is designed to be utilized in 20”-26” diameter unpiggable pipelines to detect cracks along the seam welds of the pipe. The robot continuously scans the seam weld with minimal stop or start maneuvers. The operational routines of Explorer equipped with the crack sensor minimize the impact of the inspection process on pipeline operations. Phase IV of this project is near complete. It focuses on optimizing the sensor to achieve additional weight reduction, improve detection capabilities, and refine sizing routines. This capability is expected to result in commercialization and deployment of the sensor on the Explorer robot later in 2023.

For more information Contact NYSEARCH.


For over thirty years, NYSEARCH has worked as a consortium of natural gas Local Distribution Companies (LDCs) who have a common interest and need for research and technology development and demonstration. Today, as part of the Northeast Gas Association (NGA), NYSEARCH manages over (30) projects in various stages of development for LDCs, transmission companies, federal agencies and their manufacturing and commercial partners. NYSEARCH is located in Parsippany, NJ and NGA is headquartered in Needham, Massachusetts.