Syrinix’s advanced TrunkMinder devices will be installed onto Thames Water’s major strategic water mains over the next few years beginning this summer, providing a constant monitoring of pipe integrity to Thames Water online and helping the company to detect and minimise leaks. Several devices have already been fitted and are working well.
The Olympics, the Diamond Jubilee and the worst drought in decades are converging to make 2012 an especially sensitive time for leaks in South East England’s urban areas, with thousands of miles of ageing networks in London alone. The accuracy of TrunkMinder in pinpointing small leaks will be invaluable, saving time and money whilst minimising disruption, as well as lowering overall repair bills and compensation payouts, which can run to tens of millions of pounds annually.
“Before now, water companies had to wait for a burst before they knew there was a problem,” says Syrinix CEO James Dunning. “With this technology, they can find the leaks and repair them before they cause a catastrophic failure. We are the only highly sensitive, automated 24/7 monitoring system on the market which can detect early stage leaks.”
TrunkMinder uses a number of sensors, placed in pairs approximately every 750 metres along a trunk main, which monitor the integrity of the pipe using a hydrophone, geophone, pressure sensor and optional flow monitor to detect vibro-acoustic patterns caused by water running through the pipes. The sensors are physically attached to the pipe, and constantly feed back information to Syrinix’s central servers via broadband or mobile data links. The data is analysed many times each second using Syrinix’s algorithms, 24 hours a day, and a computer model compares the information received with the expected data for use at that time. This allows even minor changes in activity to be noted and monitored, and any minor leaks to be detected and tracked within one metre, providing an automated, precise, highly qualified early warning system on threat areas for major leaks.
Primary assembly of the TrunkMinder technology is carried out at Syrinix’s Norwich base, and the company is using UK suppliers to ensure quality and consistency. “We could go abroad and save money,” says Mr Dunning, “But quality and timeliness are at Syrinix’s core and if anything goes wrong on a production run, we can go through everything with local suppliers. That is a 30 minute car journey rather than a 13 hour flight.”