Versatile in continuous operation: the MicroGator cutting robot

In the city of Ulm, 120 sewer reaches with diameters from DN 200 to DN 600 were rehabilitated.

Systems and technologies involved


The extensive measure was put out to tender by the waste disposal company of the city of Ulm (EBU). The contract was awarded to Kuchler GmbH, which spent several weeks on site with 3 IBAK robotics cutting units and 2 UV systems to rehabilitate the main sewers by the pipe lining method.


To execute the order, 5 teams work simultaneously and in coordination with each other on the activities that are chronologically connected. The coordination of the teams is of central importance for a smooth process. In addition to the competent planning of the work phases by the site manager, communication and cooperation among the Kuchler employees is the basis for successful construction. "Coordination between colleagues who know their trade and react with flexibility to the situation on site contributes to quality and timely execution," explains Kuchler.


"But only the right tools enable our specialists to deliver quality. Knowledge and experience are of little use if the technical prerequisites are lacking. That's why we always use the best technology currently available," continues Kuchler. Performance and reliability of the cutting robot systems are necessary to ensure that the work can be carried out without any interruptions, not only during jobs like the one in Ulm.

Before one of the UV teams starts installing the pipe liners, the cutter teams perform preparatory cutting work in the sewers. This includes such things as removing roots, removing protruding pipe connections and adhering deposits and smoothing out misplaced joints. Cutting causes chipping and makes further filth swirl. This is not an ideal environment for a camera. "This is not a problem for the CutterCam: a permanent air flow keeps the camera lens free of cutting dust. I can also flush away larger particles with water in seconds at the touch of a button," reports Bügler. In the case of extreme soiling, it is also possible to remove it completely by rotating the camera over a rubber lip.

In the pipe lining process, a seamless glass-fibre fabric pipe is installed in trenchless construction. After cleaning and camera inspection, the sewer reaches are prepared for rehabilitation with the MicroGator electric cutting robot. The folded pipe liner is then inserted into the pipe with a winch and positioned by the application of compressed air. As soon as the pipe liner is optimally in contact with the inner wall, curing takes place by means of UV light. The curing process is monitored and recorded. "In order to quickly allow households to freely drain their wastewater again, we cut open the laterals sealed by the pipe liner immediately after curing," says Kuchler, summing up the classic procedure of the common rehabilitation method.

The laterals are then reopened with the electrically driven IBAK Robotics cutting robot. "Depending on what you find and how you get to it, rough opening takes 1 to 6 minutes," Bügler explains. "We want to have the laterals reopened quickly. That sometimes takes until the evening. But we also want to disturb residents as little as possible with noise. So it's a good thing that you can hardly hear the MicroGator," Bügler continues. With the almost silent operation of the electric cutting robot, Kuchler has not only been able to significantly reduce the workplace exposure of its employees, but also to increase the approval and acceptance of night operations in residential areas such as in Ulm.


Kuchler GmbH uses the MicroGator cutting robot in Ulm, among other things

  1. for preparatory cutting work prior to pipe liner installation (in this case, smoothing out misplaced joints)
  2. to open laterals after liner installation
  3. for preparatory cutting work before the installation of top-hat profiles (in this case, roughening the laterals with the steel brush attachment)
  4. for inserting, positioning and removing the top-hat profile packer.

Company introduction

The Kuchler group of companies, headquartered in Munich, is divided into specialized and independently operating divisions and employs more than 260 people. Rudolf Kuchler runs the family business in the 3rd generation. From drain cleaning via sewer inspection and rehabilitation through to municipal sewer management, Kuchler GmbH offers a wide range of services. With the company's fleet of approx. 50 systems, the certified specialist company handles jobs for private households, commerce and industry and cities and municipalities.