Mobile Navigation

Chemical Engineering

View Comments

Confidently detect leaks and map pipelines

| By Mary Page Bailey

The SmartBall platform (photo) is a free-swimming inspection tool used to detect leaks and gas pockets and map pipelines. The tool can be used in pressurized water and wastewater pipelines without disrupting regular service. It is a valuable addition to a proactive pipeline management program, helping pipeline owners better understand the condition and location of their buried assets. The SmartBall platform is equipped with a highly sensitive acoustic sensor that can detect pinhole-sized leaks. The sensor also identifies the sound of trapped gas, which can adversely affect pipeline flow or lead to pipe wall degradation in wastewater force mains. The tool indicates the location of leaks and gas pockets relative to known points, typically within 6 feet (1.8 m). The SmartBall platform can map the X and Y coordinates of the pipeline using the latest accelerometer and gyroscope technologies, advanced location algorithms, and field-collected global positioning system (GPS) points. — Xylem Inc., Rye Brook, N.Y.