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What is Electronic Service Locating?


What is Electronic Service Locating?

Electronic Service Locating, also known as Utility Locating or Pipe and Cable Locating is the method of locating underground services. Electronic Service Locating allows us to obtain a depth and alignment of underground pipes and cables that contain Electricity, Telecommunications, Gas, Water, Sewer & Stormwater.

How does Electronic Service Locating work?

Service Locating equipment uses state of the art electromagnetic frequency technology to detect pipes and cables under the ground. An EMF locator uses a transmitter and receiver to omit and detect EMF waves through a conductible asset. An EMF Locator can be seen in the image below.

underground service locators gold coast

(Radiodetection RD8100 EMF Locator – Transmitter Box & Receiving Wand)

Clamp Induction, direct connection & Drop Box induction

Using an EMF locator like the one in the picture above, an accredited service locator is able to locate underground pipes and cables. There are a few different methods a service locator can use to do this. They are known as clamp induction, direct connect induction, and drop box induction.

Clamp induction is the most common method used of EMF service locating and depends on access to service pits or poles where a locator can place an induction clamp around a conductible pipe or cable. Once the induction clamp is placed around the conductible pipe or cable an EMF signal is sent out by the transmitter box and can be traced using the receiving wand. This allows the locator to identify the depth and alignment of the underground asset.

Direct connection method uses the same technology as clamp induction however rather than placing a clamp around the desired pipe or cable a set of alligator clips are used to create an EMF circuit. A positive alligator clip that is plugged into the transmitter box is connected to the pipe, cable or earth stake and a negative alligator clip is used to earth out a circuit. This circuit allows an EMF signal to be sent down the conductible asset and is received by the locator with the locating wand.

Drop box induction is the last preferred method of service locating as is has the ability to spill its signal on to other services. Drop box induction is used when there is no access point to use clamp induction or direct connection methods. For example, this can be the case when locating a trunk water main or a high-pressure gas main which has few valves and pits.

The box is simply placed on the ground above the pipes estimated location and EMF waves are sent through the ground and reflect back up from the conductible pipe. It is a must that the material of the pipe is conductible to carry a signal. This signal is then traced with the receiver wand and the depth and alignment can be obtained.

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