Accurate detection of underground blockages
4 November 2020
What if we cannot blow fiberglass through a pipe due to subsidence or blockage? Then we have to do a lot of digging to find and fix that hitch. Inspired by this challenge in the field, Allinq Labs set to work on the development of a detection solution that does measure accurately. The result: the now patented measuring probe. Rutger van der Graaff – manager at Allinq Labs – tells us all about it.
Invisible blockages in every industry
Pipes that are stagnating somewhere along the underground route. We are familiar with the challenge in every industry… blocked sewers, leaking underfloor heating networks, kinks in an electrical pipe, or fiberglass that cannot be blown. Whatever branch we are talking about; everywhere such an invisible blockade leads to a considerable amount of extra digging and solving. Current detection methods often provide a rough indication of where the underground problem is located. Then nothing else remains than to open the soil over the full length of the pipe. Time for progress!
A small sensor with a long range
Rutger: “We had the idea of incorporating a probe, a sensor with which you can measure very accurately, into a pressure cable. The up to 3 mm thin cable can transmit signals without much loss, leaving only the very tip visible while underground. You push that thin cable into the tube until it reaches the place where it stagnates. Only at that location it then emits a clear, non-clouded signal, which is easy to find from a distance. ”
Pioneering with a prototype
The idea was a great pioneer in Allinq Labs. Rutger: “We started looking for opportunities together. That resulted in a first prototype”. The prototype consists of an energy-efficient transmitter and a receiver that have been developed in such a way that the accurate location can be traced properly and without cross-talk by other cables and pipes. That makes the big difference compared with a traditional measuring system.”
Broader than the telecom industry
The field of application of the now patented solution is enormous. Rutger: “This invention can make the work of many people easier. Therefore, we shouldn’t keep that to ourselves. We are therefore looking at the possibilities of translating it to other markets, such as the installation sector and non-telecom-related companies such as gas, water and sewerage.” To be continued!
This invention can make the work of many people easier. Therefore, we should not keep it to ourselves!"
Rutger van der Graaff