Sensor Monitoring of Manhole Infrastructures

Utility Telemetry

Sensor Monitoring of Manhole Infrastructures

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- Philip Handley, Smart DCC Ltd.

The Challenge

In America’s biggest cities hundreds of service manholes catch fire or explode every year.

Manhole explosions can occur when underground electrical wires are damaged, causing sparks that ignite surrounding gases. This is caused primarily by bad weather and flooding interacting with aging power infrastructures.

To protect the people from these risks, our client wanted a system that could detect and transmit early warnings about sites before reaching critical state so preventative action could be taken.

The Approach

Plextek supported the design and manufacturing of a sensor array capable of operating in this harsh environment.

This included a novel power harvesting input to extend the sensor lifespan using locally available “free” energy sources.

To enable the client to quickly deploy the product into the market, we worked to a reduced timescale in delivering a fully functioning working prototype and software interface.

The Outcome

Our solution utilises a range of environmental sensors to detect and monitor the conditions of infrastructural systems so maintenance can be carried out.

The system prevents and mitigates the risk of gas explosions, stray voltage, flooding and other breaches of safety, environmental and quality control regulation.

Positively received by our client, Plextek are now working with them to refine the current design for high volume production.

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