Most companies that sell and install leak detection products do it as an “add-on” or a “bolt-on” to another product the company is already selling and perhaps is their main business. For instance, many of the companies that install different cooling systems for datacenters or install piping systems will try to sell a leak detection product to go together with their main product. However, the leak detection product is not the company’s core business.
AVA Systems was founded on the idea to deliver and install specialized leak-detection equipment to give the user an early warning. The company is built on knowledge and technology specifically intended to work in this relatively small niche market. Moreover, AVA Systems continuously seek new and improved technology and use our own trained installers to always provide the best available solutions for our customers.
This specialization is the reason why our understanding, experience, and ability to find the best solution is superior in this niche. Installation and maintenance of leak-detection is a field of expertise itself, and without proper knowledge on how to install it, even the best technology won’t function properly over time. Lack of knowledge will lead to unnecessary false alarms and in a worst-case-scenario miss real leaks.
The Logstor/AVA SafePipe solution is the only available technical solution at present for a pipeline having environmental membrane and leak detection as an integrated part of the pipe itself.
You can today find companies offering piping, various types of sensors for miscellaneous leak detection, environmental membranes in numerous formats and other related products as individual separate offerings. AVA Systems has in collaboration with Logstor developed a concept having it all integrated in one product offering. We have named this offering: ”the Logstor/AVA SafePipe solution”.
As a general statement one can say there are a lot of products available in the marketplace that on its own is serving its purpose quite well. For various types of piping solutions, leak detection solutions for different liquids and environments, and environmental protection solutions in general this is true as well.
There are three major challenges. The first comes up when you try combine these technologies in feasible and robust ways. The other becomes apparent when you try making these combinations commercially available in volume. The third is coming hard in when you try to install, commission and operate such a combined solution in the real world. That is, delivering a durable and workable project most likely in collaboration with a main contractor somewhere on a construction site alongside and coordinated together with numerous of other sub-contractors.
In short, the Logstor/AVA SafePipe solution does all this. AVA Systems has combined the dual-wall piping technology from Logstor with the sensor equipment and leak detection technology from nVent. We have developed techniques and procedures in how to install the bits and pieces on a construction site under time pressure. Finally, we know how to operate the system, and we offer our customers APC (Agreement on Periodical Control) on the SafePipe systems once they are put in regular operation.
There are many reasons for why TraceTek is superior to its peers. Most importantly, TraceTek’s technology and construction (instruments and sensors/sensor cables) are set up in way to limit any alarm-system’s biggest weakness: false alarms. Besides being time-consuming, annoying, and expensive to follow up on false alarms, it also ruins the trustworthiness of the system.
As a consequence of false alarms over time, the alarms will be ignored and the money invested in the system is wasted. Furthermore, when a leak does occur, it might not be taken seriously and expensive equipment that otherwise could be saved might be entirely ruined.
TraceTek technology is taking advantage of a dual circuitry set up with full symmetry. This is from an electronics point of view regarded as a symmetrical differential setup. This allows a leak detection and location with very accurate determination and report with respect to where a leak has occurred in the first place. Independent on where exactly you have installed the distributed sensing cable, and independent to where the leak takes place you will be able to pinpoint the origin. This is in opposite to traditional point-sensors where you will have to position and install each sensor on pre-determined places within the facility or alongside a pipe where you up front has predicted the most likely place the leak might occur.
To predict where a given leak will start first, and furthermore to predict where you most likely will discover the leak in your specific installation first, might be- or perhaps most likely will not be an easy straight forward exercise.
On the other hand, taking advantage of the TraceTek technology, a leak appearing somewhere in your installation related to liquids will be discovered and reported no matter where it starts. TraceTek will point out for you to the nearest meter the location to where the specific leak has been found to have started.
TraceTek has in addition to sensors for water specialized sensors for liquid hydrocarbons (all liquid oil-based products). This allow us, with the same instrumentation, to make sure a fuel leak related to for example emergency diesel backup generators will be located and immediately send an alarm to the operational center for the site. In other words, you have the freedom to detect water, various types of electrical conducting liquids and liquid hydrocarbons (oils, fuels, gasoline, diesel, jetfuels, kerosene etc. that does not conduct electricity) all with the same instrumentation.
Reason 1: Except from brand new buildings with no equipment pre-installed, we have yet to see a building without any form of leak-detection already installed. The fact that leak-detection is already installed prove to us that leak-detection is taken seriously and that the company is serious about safety and reliability. Furthermore, the company is most likely interested in low operating costs.
The entire process of dealing with false alarms are more or less as expensive as a real alarm. The amount of money spent on false/wrong alarms are astonishing, and in many cases unnecessary. Typical false alarms are: cable-break, ground fault, condensation without a leak, short circuit, power failure, battery failure, etc. AVA Systems specialize in correct installation of leak-detection equipment, and one of the most important things to avoid is false alarms caused by the reasons mentioned above. A lot of money can be saved in the long-run by avoiding the majority of false and misleading alarms.
Reason 2: The sensors the market offers today are different kinds of “boxes”, two-leaders with “non-isolated fields”, or variations of fabric with woven conductors into them. They all have in common that you beforehand have to decide which places you believe a leak is most likely to occur. In most cases, the sensors are placed close to a drain, under cooling machines, or other devices that is connected to water/fluid.
Usually, this method is “ok” at the time of delivery. However, after some weeks, moths, or perhaps years, the conditions change. Walls get taken down, new one raised, and some moved around in the building. As a result, drains, walls, and other equipment that previously was taken care of is now placed in a new way, and hence not protected by the “old” placed leak-detection system. Small leaks could now potentionally not be detected since the sensors are in the wrong places.
Furthermore, installations in datacenters naturally deal with huge amounts of cables under the floor. This creates complicated paths and barriers for small leaks that attempt to follow the “easiest resistant” way principle. A water leak from a ruined pipe or another source suddenly find new and creative ways through the center. The water might not be in sight before it is 30-40-50 meters away from the original source.
TraceTek on the other hand is based on “distribution sensing” technology, where the aspect of guessing where the leak will occur, or travel, is taken out of the equation. The sensor cable will detect moisture and/or water over the entire length of the cable and report exactly (within a meter) where the leak occurred. The cable can stretch out 150 meters before a new controller is needed. One central alone can handle up to 128 controllers. In other words, several thousand meters of sensor cable can be controlled by on central. This kind of installations are typical for larger companies like EDB ErgoGroup and Digiplex.
Reason 3: AVA Systems was founded on the very business idea of “installation of world leading systems for leak-detection surveillance of critical areas for industrial, historical, and commercial use.” In other words, leak-detection is no “add-on” product we sell on top of our core business because it “fits in” with our main products.
AVA Systems core business is leak-detection. Our installers are trained, and we put pride in this specific niche. We have our products and spareparts in stock at Kolbotn, 10 minutes south of Oslo. That means if something urgent occurs that require a fast response, we are ready available with both expertise and equipment.
No. There are no such system or company in the world that can guarantee to detect any leak at all times with 100% certainty. This is true for system solutions delivered from AVA Systems as well. However, with the best available technology, an installation done properly by trained people, and a system that has a control and maintenance plan in place from day-1, we get closer to the 100% goal. Often, we see solutions being proposed and installed based on a ”bolt-on” leak detection solution approach to expand an already existing product bag.
AVA Systems has since its startup in 2004 gained both valuable experience and knowledge within our principal business area – leak detection and early warning. In addition we have developed an eye for details in the leak-detection niche that gives us an advantage over most other players.
Working with oil based products, in particular JET A1 and diesel, is a never ending school of learning. It is amazing how much trouble over time these chemicals can give to plastics and adhesives.
International, national and local laws and regulation may vary quite a bit. Often, there is a distinction wether or not an installation is above or below ground. No matter if it is a SafePipe installation or some other technical solution, the laws and regulations have to be complied to. This compliance is the responsibility to the main contractor, or the Buyer alone.
How a given material burn, as one example, is often more significant in above ground installations compared to below ground installations. Rules and regulations that might apply with this respect might vary as well.
You might, nevertheless, be allowed to install products with materials attributes that is normally not allowed to be used according to given standard rules and regulations. Such allowance, or an exception if you like, might be given from the local authorities based on an application filed for a specific exemption. This process including filing of the application and getting an approval in place is normally done by an engineering company. It is in most instances a part of the engineering company’s mission contract with their principal client. With respect to installation and operation of a SafePipe solution above ground a typical exception will be allowance for using PUR and HDPE materials that is burning given there is a fire.
The piping components SafePipe consists of has in general no individual CE marking. When building a pipe system, however, the system as such might obtain CE marking by fulfilling the requirements set up for the complete system.
The responsibility for CE marking compliancy lies with the Buyer.
For steel parts with hidden welds, e.g. bends and tees, any specific requirements to the welding procedures should be described by the Buyer.
AVA SYSTEMS and LOGSTOR can offer 3.1 certification according EN10204 for the pre-insulated components, NDT control and/or pressure testing. Such documentation will add an extra cost.