Water quality engineering firm Panton McLeod used its VR600 cleaning robot to clean the Wessex Water tower while it was still active and in service to minimise disruption to customers.

The operation involved using a crane to lift the robot to the top of the tower before disinfecting the machine and lowering it into the structure.

A team of operators manoeuvred the remotely-controlled machine throughout the interior of the structure to remove any build-up of natural materials on the floor of the facility.

Cleaning work is carried out regularly to ensure that the drinking water stored in the tower remains at the highest quality levels.

The robot is normally used to clean reservoirs and storage tanks but this was the first time it has been used to clean an elevated water storage structure in the UK.

Panton McLeod operations director, Paul Henderson, said: “Before the project at Minety Tower, we had never used the robot to clean a water tower.

“It represented a big challenge for our underwater team, but we were able to use our expertise to ensure that the project was a success.

“The most challenging aspect was lifting the robot to the top of the 35 metres tall tower in the first place, so we could insert it into the facility and start the cleaning process.

“We had to hire a special 55 tonne crane to hoist it to the top, but once this was complete, the rest of the project was fairly straight forward.”

The VR600 is a special tracked robot that is manoeuvred along the floor of any water storage structure and removes any sediment build up on the floor of the structure.

It can also be used to inspect the condition of the water tanks, including checking the walls and interior of the facilities for corrosion or damage.

Alison Brown

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