Process, Instrumentation & Environment

Underground pipe locator Combiphon CG50 - Sewerin

Acoustic location of plastic pipes.

Plastic pipes cannot be located by conventional electromagnetic means because they are not electro conductive. A different principle is applied when locating pipes using the acoustic method: The pipes transmit mechanical vibrations better than the earth that surrounds them. When the pipe is caused to vibrate appropriately, these vibrations spread along the pipe to the earth's surface where they can be picked up by a ground microphone. In the same way as water leaks are detected by acoustic means, the pipeline is located where the intensity is greatest. This method can also be used to locate fiber cement pipes and metal pipes.
The COMBIPHON® system consists of the Generator CG50 central control unit and various impulse generators, so it can be used anywhere. Stoppers or tappers are used to generate noises on the line which can then be acoustically detected by the AQUAPHON® or AquaTest T10 systems.
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Generator CG50 remote control
When locating house connections, adjustment of the intensity is unavoidable – for example, a high intensity is required over a large distance, whereas this would cause sound contamination close to the generator.
A remote control means that the user does not have to keep going back to the generator.
Water or gas house service connections
Are caused to vibrate using a Knocker. This steadily taps the pipe from the outside like an electric hammer.
Gas or air-filled pipes can sometimes be problematic as there is no transmitting water column.
Water mains
Require more energy to vibrate. The water column is set in motion by controlling the volume using a Stopper at a hydrant. The resulting waves then propagate.
The pressure is controlled using a manometer to prevent pressure spikes in the pipe. The sound can be detected over large distances.
Acoustic pipeline location / Locating pipes with the ground microphone
Once the pipeline has been caused to vibrate by the Knocker or Stopper, the location is pinpointed using the ground microphone.
This involves systematically testing the ground surface at short intervals. The receiver displays an accurate visual and acoustic comparison of the noise intensities.
Is the noise getting louder or softer?
The volume increases as you get closer to the vibrating pipeline.
The signal is loudest directly above the pipe, thereafter the intensity starts to decrease again. The visual display is particularly helpful for novices or those who do not use the system often.
  • Locating metallic and non-metallic water distribution pipes;
  • Hearing the pipe's location;
  • Locating and tracing water or gas pipes into houses.
  • Portable;
  • Autonomy: Power or battery operated;
  • Application in residential, distribution and supply networks.
  • Water distribution companies;
  • Service providers in water industry.

F.Fonseca is distributor of Sewerin in Portugal.
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