System P

Pipes and penstocks: Inspection and documentation

Inspection reveals the asset integrity status – important information necessary for determining maintenance requirements. And it is video documented.

Pipes and penstocks: Pressure water cleaning

Penstock organic growth reduces hydraulic head pressure, resulting in lower efficiency rates and lower value. Pressure washing removes organic growth. Our robots can clean an entire penstock during a 2-4 day operation.

Pipes and penstocks: Surface preparation - sandblasting

Robotic sandblasting makes the process go consistently faster – safer – better and produces high-quality results.


System P is a portable robotic system for pipes and penstocks. The robot works inside the pipe, and the operator uses a remote control from a safe distance in order to perform the operation.

  • Remote controlled robot, using hand controls and a realtime video feed to the operator
  • A two-person team handles the entire operation of robot and blasting equipment
  • Easy to operate, basic semi-automatic functions in addition to remote hand control operation
  • Module basis – portable function, enter through manholes
  • Module assembly and ready for operation in 30-60 minutes
  • Weight 150kg when setup for pipe diameter Ø3000 mm
  • External winch driven, heavy load capability
  • Range 1000 m+
  • Handles any nozzle size for pressure washing and sandblasting
  • Vertical and horizontal operation possible (dual winch during horizontal operation)


How fast does the robot work?

The robot arm replaces the traditional sandblasting operator in the work area. While it uses the same blasting equipment as in manual performance, the robot handles any tool size, even those that are a greal deal larger than any used in manual operation. The robot works at top speed limited only by the applied blasting equipments capacity. A more detailed analysis about how fast the robot can operate, and variables that influence its speed, may be found here.

Basically, while in operation, the proven capability for System P has reached a peak close to 180 square meters of sandblasted surface during 12 hours of work and under the following conditions: 9mm venturi nozzle at 8 bar, blast media alu oxide grit, average 300um coating film. Several variables may reduce this speed, such as coating film thickness and type, pittings, suboptimal blasting media, etc. On the other hand, there are parameters capable of increasing the speed even more, such as using a larger nozzle, and/or nozzles in parallel.


Robotic surface treatment eliminates the HSE challenges of traditional manual operation. When looking at sandblasting, typical challenges when performing manual operation are:

  • Noise – 115-120dBA measured sound pressure level in penstocks, at the sandblasting operators ear position, resulting in a work permit of maximum 2 hours pr day pr operator.
  • Dust – risk of breathing toxic dust because of air turbulence in small space and resulting air leakage into the sandblasting operator’s helmet.
  • Rescue – very difficult rescue of personnel from small diameter penstocks. Imagine a scenario pulling an unconcious person inside a 0.6 meter diameter pipe for 150 meters up to the nearest entry opening.

These work conditions are no longer required under surface preparation.  During 2017 Surface Dynamics’ robots made it possible for sandblasting operators to perform 2500 hours on penstock interior by putting a robot inside instead of themselves so they can control the robot from outside the penstock. Human risk exposure is then redued by 2500 hours.

Robotic Surface Treatment – increased work efficiency