A new product developed by Cadent to make it easier and quicker to find isolation valves in multi-occupancy buildings has just scooped an industry award.
After successful trials, Valve Track is now being deployed in around 600 buildings across our North West Network. These are home to 10,000 of our customers.
It's been funded through our Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance.
What was the issue?
Pipeline isolation valves (PIVs) are usually found underground. They enable our engineers to turn off the supply to a multi-occupancy building quickly.
Our experience shows that, even if installed and digitised in accordance with all regulations and requirements, locating them can often be challenging.
Over time, debris build up in the valve chamber can block the valve spindle, rendering it operable without excavating and clearing the area.
In the event of a fire, for example, it can be unsafe for a close visual inspection of the building line. This is a problem because that’s where marker plates are usually situated, which help our on-site engineers find the PIV.
What is Valve Track?
Valve Track is a low-powered tracking device attached to the PIV. It stays dormant until activated by an engineer via a secure mobile application.
Once activated, it emits a loud alarm, shows the precise location on the app, and gives the engineer important asset data.
Developed in conjunction with Manchester-based company Utility Innovation Services (UIS), the tracker has been trialled on a range of sites – including high-rise buildings, and on complex distributions systems and M1 valves.
Early installations were carried out by the manufacturer, with Cadent operatives now trained to do this work direct.
What does this mean for our customers?
This is something that has a direct positive impact on around 10,000 customers in the North West Network alone, in 600 buildings. Other Cadent networks are now assessing whether this new technology is suitable for wider rollout.
For customers, as well as the obvious benefit in emergency situations, it also means minimal and more accurate excavations when we do need to work on site.
But there are also huge indirect benefits for customers as a result of us installing this new technology. This is because, as the new trackers are fitted, we talk to each customer on-site – enabling conversations and advice to be given on carbon monoxide awareness, fuel poverty, priority services register, and more.
It's won an industry award!
Adam Hassall, Innovation Manager in the North West network, said: “This was one of those great innovations that came about initially because the same issue was cropping up during conversations.
“Around two years ago, it became clear there was an issue here that needed looking at, and that’s where the idea for Valve Track started.
“It’s been great to see that idea move from concept to design, to trial, to rolling it out – and last month we had the fantastic news that it won the award for land-based pipeline technology of the year at the Pipeline Industries Guild 2022 awards.”