Recently, a small town of 8,200 residents purchased a DT340 pipe crawler and took control of their storm water inspections.
The town of Renfrew is a small municipality, with storm and sanitary system including 89 km (55 miles) of pipe. In 2005, Renfrew hired a CCTV service company to inspect 75% of their system, totaling $400,000 to complete. The town understood that CCTV camera inspections of storm water pipes ensure the integrity of the system, and minimize risks of contamination, flooding, blockages and collapsed pipes, although the high cost of inspections limited their abilities to do so.
Purchasing a pipe crawler was not something this town had previously considered. Deep Trekker decided to show them how even small municipalities reap financial benefits and preserve structural integrity when they own and operate their own inspection system.
How feasible is a Deep Trekker crawler system for small inspection companies and municipalities?
Deep Trekker systems start under $13,000 USD, with additional options available for PTZ camera heads, counter reels, elevating arms, carbonite wheels, additional wheel sizes, and tracks. In 2005, the town allocated $400,000 to recorded about 75% of the pipe infrastructure. Not only was this information becoming out of date, but the remaining 25% of the system still required inspection. With the daunting cost to continue the inspection, the capital investment to purchase a Deep Trekker pipe crawler made complete sense for the town.
Similarly, a commercial dive company or utility service company may also subcontract, or rent a CCTV inspection system for their specific jobs; due to the typical high upfront costs of the CCTV vehicles and cumbersome systems. The town of Renfrew used to call on a contractor 10 – 12 times a year to provide CCTV services. With this sort of recurring work, service providers equipped with an affordable and highly capable system from Deep Trekker can easily recoup their investment costs and profit from owning a DT340 CCTV crawler.
As you can imagine, municipalities, utilities, and service companies can easily justify the purchase of a DT340 pipe crawler. It is our mandate to ensure inspections can be done with the appropriate tools in an affordable way. The DT340 pipe crawler is just that; a CCTV inspection camera designed for the challenge of your pipelines while also being accessible and affordable for any size municipality or service company.
The Town of Renfrew Demonstration
In the video, we deployed the pipe crawler down a manhole on a residential street. The DT340 crawler then entered a 10 inch pipe and began its inspection. This specific storm pipe led to a river at the end of the street, but at the time was almost entirely dry.
The goal of our demonstration was to showcase the functionality and ease of use of a DT340 pipe crawler system. Everyone on the municipality’s team was able to operate the handheld controller, maneuver the CCTV camera and view the live video feed on the unit’s super-bright integrated screen.
What Makes the Deep Trekker CCTV Pipe Crawler Different?
The most significant factors which differentiate the Deep Trekker CCTV pipe crawler from others on the market are its compactness and portability. Internal, on-board batteries mean that no generators or topside power sources are required. Traditionally, CCTV inspection systems require a dedicated truck for all of the components including a tether, winch, and power source. The Deep Trekker DT340 packs down into two carrying cases and can be set up and deployed in less than a minute.
The handheld controller displays pan and tilt information for the camera and also documents the distance traveled (in feet or meters) within the pipe. At each seam and lateral pipe, operators have the ability to stop the vehicle, zoom in and rotate and pan the camera to get a very detailed look at the pipe’s integrity.
This inspection was recorded using a digital video recorder, which simply took the straight video from the hand-held controller and recorded it on an SD card. Alternatively, with one cord to your laptop, the video and data can be integrated directly to an inspection software program such as WinCan.
WinCan is one of many options when it comes to overall infrastructure inspection software. It is ideal to log and create documents of inspections, including imperfections/pits/cracks in the pipeline for later review or potential repairs to be completed.
Deep Trekker’s History in Infrastructure Inspection
Our underwater drones (ROVs) provide a unique solution to inspecting storm water pipelines. The compact size and rotating camera made it a favorite for many inspection companies and municipalities to monitor their storm pipes and other submerged infrastructure in a cost effective way.
With more and more customers in utilities and the infrastructure inspection business, there was a pull from the market to create something similar to what the ROV offers in terms of portability and ease of use, but is not limited to inspecting pipelines with enough water to cover the thrusters to swim through the pipe.
Some of our customers affixed floatation devices to have the ROV remain floating at the top of the water with the thrusters submerged, which proved very fruitful – but we wanted to do better.
In comes the DT340 pipe crawler.
This complete system takes what we learned from building underwater ROVs and incorporates it into a submersible battery operated pipe crawler. Since its launch, the community has welcomed this new design concept with open arms. The robust construction, steerable wheels, pan/tilt/zoom camera provide all of the functionality typical of a traditional van mounted pipe crawler. A Deep Trekker DT340 is more affordable and eliminates the requirement for a dedicated truck.
The pipe crawler is traditionally used for sanitary, storm or drinking water infrastructure inspections. Similar to our ROVs, Deep Trekker customers continue to find new ways to take advantage of its abilities. Recently it was even used to inspect a hydro-electric intake.