Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Safe Duct Access With Less Environmental Impact

Eco Live has created an innovative and effective solution that allows engineers to carry out any required works efficiently and most of all, safely

Cable ducting is used extensively across the UK for the installation of utilities and has many advantages, but there are some major disadvantages that are a cause for concern with regards to safety, costs, traffic disruption and the environment.

Currently it is difficult and costly to access utilities as a means to inspect, isolate, make connections or carry out maintenance works and repairs. Engineers are often having to excavate larger areas to undertake works which has a direct impact on the efficiency of the required work. Asset owner’s safety systems are at times both inconsistent and some may say arguably unsafe. They potentially put employees and engineers at risk and can impact time scales, which then has a huge cost implication, and the local disruption can be exponential.

This problem required innovation and a new method of working to improve engineer safety, minimise local disruption and have a more cost-effective duct access solution with less environmental impact.

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To this end, Eco Live has created an innovative and effective solution that allows engineers to carry out any required works efficiently and most of all, safely. The process allows works to be undertaken without risk to employee’s health and safety and with greater precision, cutting back on time, cost implications and creating less disruption with a reduced environmental impact. This solution can be conducted from a single excavation point directly above the suspected fault, or when the service requires exposure while the cables are live or isolated and causes no damage to the cable sheaths.

Key benefits of the new system include:

• Safe method of access to ducts with real time process control and capture

• Reduction in risk and liability (for DNO/IDNO) improving safety

• Reduction in repair times and projected major cost reductions

• Less excavation and associated site works

• Enables more extensive use of HDD and plastic ducts

• Reduced environmental impact;

• Less traffic disruption, less spoil, less reinstatement, reduced timescales for remedial works, reduction in CO2 emissions

• Better customer satisfaction supports ‘always on’ initiatives

• Full service available from Eco-Live

• Annual license available with equipment, application and full training

• Service level agreement available to suit your requirements

To accompany this process the ‘ControlPoint Application’ has been developed to assist the technician in multiple ways. The App, which allows for real time process control and capture, is linked with GPS to precisely locate the area of a works and provides live technical data to allow any works to be carried out quickly, effectively and safely.

The Process

The process starts with the operator using the ControlPoint app to pinpoint the asset and assign the work, prepare site, excavate the area and conduct a point of work risk assessment. Then the operator inputs the data into the ControlPoint app to ensure safety and to identify the exact tooling settings required.

Once the area around the suspected fault has been excavated, the duct is cleaned and identified. Then to access the duct, cut lines and sensor points are marked out. The operator then conducts an ultrasonic depth check on the sensor points and confirms the results on the app which identifies the requirement to undertake the works safely. The cutting equipment is then set to the correct tooling parameters for duct type, size and depth requirements provided by the app.

Accessing the duct then commences by completing a pilot plunge and reviewing of the duct membrane. The membrane is then pierced, and a gas check is completed. The operator then conducts a routing process to the required length and reviews the membrane. The tooling process leaves a thin membrane which always ensures there is no exposure to the cables, after localised heat is applied to remove the duct window that has been created, to gain access to the duct. Cabling within the duct is now exposed, safely and efficiently without damage to the cable sheath itself. Repair or other works can then be undertaken.

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