Is this the answer for locating Plastic Utilities?

As Professional Locators we struggle on a daily basis to locate non-metallic services that the utility owners have had installed without any form of trace wire to aid accurate and safe location. This situation carries and extreme inherent risk of death or injury or at the very lease damage to the utility.

Is the Ultra-Trac® APL from Sensit Technologies the answer?

The Ultra-Trac® APL is an acoustic pipe locator designed to locate piping systems constructed of any material including (but not limited to): plastic, metal, clay, concrete, fiberglass, cast and ductile iron. The piping systems can also be located regardless of the type of surface above the pipe such as gravel, soil, grass, concrete, or asphalt.

The Ultra-Trac® APL uses a highly specialized acoustic transducer (actuator) technology that requires coupling with the ground surface to send signals into the ground. Highly sensitive accelerometers sense the reflected energy. The data is processed and converted into easy-to-understand results on the display. There is no connection to the piping system required with the Ultra-Trac® APL.

The Ultra-Trac® APL is not affected by electrical fields or overhead power systems. The system incorporates noise filtering technology that eliminates false readings due to traffic or equipment that may be operating in the area of the test.

Principle of Operation

The Ultra-Trac® APL locates pipe through acoustic impedance mismatch. The speed of sound through ground materials differs from pipe material. This makes the pipe detectable using the Ultra-Trac® APL. The acoustic wave pattern of specific timing and frequency is monitored and processed using the device’s accelerometers. Based on the return signature the instrument will determine if a pipe is present within the minimum requirements as set in the software.

The Ultra-Trac® APL is set on the ground. The manner in which the operator uses the device is critical to create proper coupling with the ground. The scan button is pushed to send a signal (set of pings) into the ground. The pings last approximately 2 seconds. This is called a slice. The operator then moves the APL 150mm or 300mm either to the right or left so another slice can be performed. After taking a minimum of 5 slices, a button on the tablet is pressed to plot results of the scan. Multiple scans create a survey (the final result for locating the piping system). By comparing all the scan data from the survey, the user can then determine a best fit line and locate the pipe in question. A pattern indicates likely target line location.

Performing a Locate

1. Place measuring device in desired test area. For best results limit the test length (scan) to 4m.
2. Place instrument on ground adjacent to the first mark on your measuring device.
3. Place foot on footpad and ensure good coupling.
4. Push the handle firmly forward.
5. Press and release the large black scan button at the top of the handle (just below the control box). Remain stationary and continue to maintain good ground coupling until the APL beeps, indicating data has been collected.
6. Move to the next test location (slice) adjacent to the next 150mm or 300mm mark on the measuring device.
7. Repeat steps 2-6 until scan distance has been completed.
8. Press the “Plot” button to review scan results.
9. Mark the locations on the ground adjacent to the measuring device as shown on the APL.
10. Move measuring device forward or backward 2m to 5m away from current location. Repeat steps 2-9.
11. Repeat scan process as needed to mark location. Press the “New” button to begin a new scan. Press the “Yes” button to use the same settings. Press the “No” button to create new settings. The “Back” button returns to the previous screen.
12. Review marks to determine utility line location.

Locating Unlimited Pty Ltd (RTO ID 45518), Australasia’s leading provider of Underground Damage Prevention Training acknowledges and supports this emerging technology and offers training solutions to industry to help maintain safe work practices around buried utilities and prevent damage to this infrastructure.

Contact Jeff at Locating Unlimited – 0419 44 66 27 or