Ductile iron pipes are widely used to carry various types of fluids. One of their main uses is to carry potable water to the households. The typical water flow rate (potable) is 2 – 3 m/s. The quality of the pipes is of paramount importance as any defects in these pipes can lead to contamination of water. Ducticle iron pipes are also used to transport sewage water and pipe damage will contaminate the soil.
The pipelines require maintenance on a need basis. They also require replacement when the end of their useable life span approaches and/or whenever there is a requirement of increasing the fluid carrying capacity. The water supply schemes are designed for a life of 30 years. However, DI pipes usually have much higher life.
Most of the times, the details of these pipes, in terms of, laying designs, date of laying and their specifications are not available as they are underground. In addition, at present, there are no means to retrieve this information on the site.
In absence of required information, digging is carried out at several places to search for the (correct) pipes as there are other utilities buried in the vicinity of pipe network. Sometimes, the information about the changes made to each section of pipeline, is not available, which leads to a lot of delays in projects. This results in loss of water being transported, loss of revenue, wasted manpower and potential increase in the risk of the pollution of the larger manifolds. Also, due to rapid urbanization, lot of developmental activities are carried out like widening of roads, laying of cables for telecommunication etc does take place and there is no information about the layout of the pipelines. Thus, the digging may result in damaging of water pipes when such activities are carried out. A solution is, therefore, sought to mitigate the above set of problems.
The solution must meet the following requirements:
- Maintain a record of all the relevant information of each pipe such as
- its specifications
- date of manufacturing
- date of supply
- order number
- contractor information
- It should have the facility to record the location of pipes and any changes/replacements made
- It should enable tracing (locating) pipes, especially the old pipes, underground.
- Permit recording, modification and retrieval of the above information, at any location and at any time
- It should display a map of the pipeline based on the location
- Economical and easily scalable
- Simple to use
While developing the solution, the following points must be considered and addressed:
- These pipes are centrifugally casted Ductile Iron Pipes. If a tracking device is to be attached/embedded in the pipes, then it should NOT necessitate any (major) modifications to the existing manufacturing setup.
- These pipes have the life of more than 30 years, therefore any device installed, for tracking purpose, on/along the pipeline at the time of laying the should remain intact for the entire life span of the pipes.
- Most of the pipes (~80%) are laid within 3 m below the surface. The rest of the pipes are laid as deep as 6-10 m below the surface depending upon the topography. The minimum depth at which pipes are laid is at a minimum of 1 m. The solution, therefore, should have an ability to trace these pipes in this condition, at all times.
- Different lengths of pipes viz., 4m, 5.0m and 5.5m, are supplied. The pipes could be shorter as well.