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Oct 242007


I’m on the lookout for some Victorian era clothes to wear to the steampunk themed Chaos Communications Congress this winter. If you’ve got a source or costume shop to recommend, let me know. While searching for top hats, bow ties, and vests, I stumbled upon some interesting facts about steam in New York City.

Some 30 billion pounds of steam every year flow beneath the streets of Manhattan from the Battery to 96th Street. While it is unknown to most New Yorkers, Con Edison’s subterranean steam system is the biggest steam district in the world, larger than the next four largest U.S. steam systems combined and boasting an annual steam production more than double that of Paris, Europe’s largest system.Link

And the steam system’s got an 800 pound robot!

The Welding and Inspection Steam Operations Robot (WISOR) was developed for Con Edison of New York as a semi-automated means of maintaining subterranean steam pipes. While tethered to the surface for power and fiber optic visuals, WISOR uses an inch-worming motion for mobility through straight pipes where it mills and welds flanges. It is equipped with five cameras for inspecting damage and repairs, a milling device, and a MIG class welder that can rotate a full 360 degrees.Link

It’s a giant robotic mig-welding worm that crawls through the steamy underbelly of the city!

  3 Responses to “New York City – City of Steam (Robot Included)”

Comments (3)
  1. holy shit. that is so amazing. i want to see it!!!!

  2. I want to see the video it gets!

  3. Wow, the things that go on without people knowing! I imagine that’s one expensive peice of equipment. And I agree, they should hook the cameras up to a webcam 🙂

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