Thames' 'micro-machine' to cut roadworks disruption
Thames Water is bringing an innovative new micro-machine to London to cut down travel disruption caused by essential roadworks.
Said to be the smallest of its kind in the country, the new micro vacuum excavator means the space needed to dig holes to reach water pipes, and the mess left behind, is greatly reduced. Work can also be done on pavements rather than in roads, in most cases. It also has the advantage of reducing the risk of striking other underground cables.
The custom-built machine is currently being used to install smart meters across London but the long-term ambition is to use the technology to repair leaking pipes without lane closures. It works by sucking the soil from the ground before recycling it back into the hole once work is completed.
Mark Cooper, Thames Water’s head of metering, said: “By helping to develop this new vacuum machine and bringing it to the streets of London, we aim to significantly reduce disruption for customers and commuters and make the process of installing meters easier for everyone.
“Our smart meter roll-out will save millions of litres of water by reducing demand and helping us better detect leaks as well as giving customers more control of their bills.”
Thames Water carries out thousands of excavations a year as part of its smart metering programme and is now looking at ways the technology can be developed for other uses. Given the tight streets of the capital, as well as the clay it is built on, there are a number of challenges to overcome but the company is working to find solutions.
Cooper added: “We only dig up roads when we absolutely have to but we also understand customers can find this extremely frustrating. This is why we’re continuing to invest in ways to use technology to minimise disruption and improve the resilience of our network.”
Finding innovative ways to improve the service Thames Water provides to 15 million customers is at the heart of the company’s five-year business plan, currently being considered by Ofwat.
As well as working with other organisations to develop technology like the vacuum, Thames Water will be investing £11.7 billion across its network to reduce leakage by 15 per cent and pollution incidents by 18 per cent.
- Report slams government for hindering water industry development The government has been criticised in a new report for not being "proactive" in the UK water industry. The... Read More >
- Syrinix unveils network-wide monitoring tool Intelligent pipeline monitoring specialist Syrinix has launched a new solution, PipeMinder, which promises to help... Read More >
- Water Industry Awards shortlist revealed The shortlist has now been unveiled for the Water Industry Awards, the annual celebration of excellence in the water... Read More >
- Abstract concept: How can water companies reduce abstraction? Despite concerns over supplies, water companies face pressure to reduce abstraction. As part of our Utility of the Future... Read More >
- Under pressure: Tackling leakage in new networks Leakage in new pipelines represents a significant problem but, working alongside Scottish Water, Ant Hire Solutions has... Read More >
- Is it time for trenchless? Could the regulator's leakage and customer experience challenges lead water companies to fully embrace trenchless... Read More >
- Comment: New tech and partnerships will up the ante on leakage Closer partnerships, technology and connectivity will be the key to tackling leakage, with collaborative delivery... Read More >
- SES Water seeks out below-ground intelligence Collaborative work to assess the condition of pipes in the Sutton and East Surrey region is set to give SES Water... Read More >