Measurement and Testing
Specialist in Network Survey Equipment Extends its Product Line
Dec 27 2012
If, historically, natural gas networks were inspected on foot, it soon became necessary to imagine faster ways to survey gas networks, by installing detectors on board vehicles. The use of network survey vehicles driven along buried pipelines represented significant gains in operating time and supplemented on-foot inspections dedicated to leak confirmation.
As a pioneer in the field, GAZOMAT S.A.R.L. (France), developed its first network survey vehicle in the early 1980s. Since then, the product has considerably evolved to meet the requirements of gas companies and regulatory changes.
With the EASY INSPECTRA vehicle, GAZOMAT introduces a new concept in gas network survey for much easier and more cost-efficient inspections. This new network survey vehicle complements the INSPECTRA product range developed by GAZOMAT for natural gas distribution network surveys.
GAZOMAT has selected a new type of vehicle, the French car manufacturer RENAULT’s TWIZY electric vehicle and installed on board all of its newest innovations. The purpose is to provide a survey vehicle that offers all the performance and functionality of the traditional INSPECTRA network survey vehicle in addition to the ease and flexibility of on-foot inspection. With the RENAULT TWIZY vehicle, gas companies are offered a complete VSR solution in a far more compact format, 100% electric, environmentally-friendly and specially dedicated to highly urbanised areas and town centres.
The vehicle is equipped with the exclusive INSPECTRA analyser integrating a high performance laser diode and multi-pass cell, the measurement system of the EASY INSPECTRA vehicle provides 1 ppm sensibility over a 1 to 10.000 ppm range and total sensitivity to methane, with no false measurements due to the presence of hydrocarbons and exhaust gases.
Air sampling proceeds through 4 suction hoses fitted at the front of the vehicle via an additional pump with a flowrate of 400 litres per hour. The system is supplemented by a hand-held sampling rod which the operator will also use to check gas meters directly from the vehicle, while remaining seated and saving time as well as effort.
The whole measurement system is controlled by GAZOMAT’s new NGS Network Survey software. Its simplified, intuitive-type interface with both visual and audio messages guides the operator throughout the survey mission.
The survey mission is displayed in real time on a rugged laptop PC. An efficient external GPS receiver gives the precise location with exact geo-positioning of the vehicle and of all gas leak indications detected during the mission. The NGS software offers the possibility to load and display the customer’s proprietary mapping data such as gas networks and buildings, in addition to the usual country road map. With an automatically generated report in PDF format at the end of each survey, integrating all measurement data and information entered, the NGS software ensures total traceability of the survey.
Powered by a 15 KW 20 Horsepower electric engine with an operating range of 80 KMs, the vehicle makes it possible for the survey operator to work an entire day without recharging batteries. Recharging the batteries takes only 3.5 hours (230 v-16A – 50Kz socket) making the vehicle very easy to keep in operation.
With a maximum speed of 80 KPH, the EASY INSPECTRA vehicle can be driven directly to the survey area – so there is no need to transport it. Its survey speed of up to 20 KPH makes it perfectly adapted to urban environments.
Equipped with quad-type wheels offering a large distance between the chassis and the ground level, it provides easy access to pavements and pedestrian areas in town centres and can survey zones not accessible to traditional VSRs.
The operator is fully protected inside the comfort of the vehicle, which is easy to drive with excellent power control, and simple to operate thanks to the NGS software. The EASY INSPECTRA VSR requires only one driver/operator, thus reducing the size of the survey team and therefore gaining significant savings in operating costs.
The EASY INSPECTRA VSR is a compilation of GAZOMAT’s network survey advances: it offers gas distribution companies an innovative solution - simple, reliable and cost-efficient – that can be used in combination with traditional survey systems for optimisation of network surveys.
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