Drives and Controls Magazine
Scottish firm wins €5,000 prize for pipe inspection system
Published:  09 May, 2019

A Scottish company has beaten off competition from 445 entries from 32 countries to win this year’s €5,000 manus award for innovative uses for high-performance plastic bearings. Aberdeen-based ToolTec received the award from igus at the recent Hannover Fair.

The award was for a device that allows operators of offshore oil and gas platforms to clean and inspect underwater risers and pipelines remotely. Until now, divers have had to perform this difficult and potentially dangerous job, making it costly.

ToolTecs inspection device wraps itself around the pipe like a sleeve and moves along it on rollers. While moving, it cleans the pipeline and inspects it for weak points. It can move on three axes and the carriage can rotate 360 degrees around a pipe to clean it and collect data.

The designers decided they could not use metallic bearings because these would have been susceptible to corrosion and would have needed regular maintenance. They therefore opted for lubrication- and maintenance-free polymer bearings, which are also resistant to the corrosive effects of seawater.

ToolTec’s pipe inspection system has won a €5,000 prize for its innovative use of plastic bearings

The team specified igus’ iglidur plain bearings, drylin linear guides well as an e-chain to guide cables safely.