Material testing and inspection services specialist Dekra Industrial has expanded its services to the water industry.
The company saw a need for its non-destructive testing (NDT) and inspection services to assist the water industry owing to regular failures relating to water infrastructure.
“The water infrastructure in South Africa experiences failures on a daily basis. This includes water losses that affect members of the public in particular areas, service interruptions and ineffective water reticulation plants,” explains Dekra Industrial MD Johan Gerber.
“We are able to consult to the water authorities regarding the status of their plants and other water-related infrastructure, to offer effective and preventive maintenance solutions. These make use of advanced NDT methods to provide early warning that remedial action is required,” says Gerber.
The company is able to conduct assessments of the condition of water sanitation plants with consideration to factors such as corrosion, erosion, leakages, and plant efficiency with regard to pumps, valves and the general status of the plant.
Dekra Industrial’s services range from being able to locate the cracks in a dam wall, down to the detecting of severe erosion and corrosion resulting in leakages and water losses in piping and other systems in water reticulation plants. The company is also able to offer assessments and solutions on South Africa’s overall water infrastructure, addressing leakages and efficiencies.
Gerber explains that the company has been previously involved in leakage detection and has significant experience with corrosion inspection and protection.
He adds that Dekra Industrial has vast experience in the field of corrosion control and NDT solutions which complements its expansion into the water sector.
“Dekra Industrial has therefore repositioned itself strategically as a holistic, ‘one-stop-shop’ service provider of NDT inspection, corrosion control, water leakage detection, and certification services,” says Gerber.
In addition to corrosion control via rope access, Dekra Industrial also offers painting and blasting to the water sector. This includes working on areas where corrosion takes place such as above-ground pipelines, water purification plants, reservoirs, tanks and dam walls.
South African water authorities have realised the need for private sector assistance through partnering to identify latent and inherent risks within their infrastructure. Authorities are aware of what the infrastructural problems are. However, they are not able to physically detect them, or inspect to find the exact individual leaks and other issues, explains Gerber.
However, Dekra Industrial has the technology to pinpoint exactly what and where a problem is through its NDT, inspection and remote monitoring systems, which allow clients to monitor their plants online. An electronic dashboard shows the exact problem such as a pump bearing that might fail, or a valve which starts leaking. Dekra Industrial is then able to apply specific testing techniques to ascertain the problems.
In addition, the company provides preventative and predictive measures for proactive maintenance, allowing the client to move to a time and cost-saving predictable maintenance model. Dekra Industrial also has expert consultants in the sector with many years of experience, allowing solutions implementation to be further fast-tracked.
Above and Beyond NDT
Apart from NDT services, Dekra Industrial offers clients in the water industry more advanced solutions using inspection technology through the use of drones, making use of light detection and ranging, or lidar, technology. This platform is used for advanced inspection and testing in a range of industrial applications.
“By using advanced, state-of-the-art drone inspections, in conjunction with lidar technology, Dekra Industrial is able to map plants and thereafter monitor them remotely once they are mapped,” explains Gerber.
The technology can be used both on- and offline to inspect plants. Online monitoring systems negate the need to physically go to the plant to monitor it or gather information.
Ground-penetrating radar can be used for internal pipe inspections to inspect for leakages without having to open sub-service pipelines.
“We can also carry out robotic inspections inside certain pipes. However, these inspections may be restricted due to the size of inlets and so on,” says Gerber.
Advanced ultrasonic methods can be used to measure and analyse cracks running through concrete water storage tanks, dam walls and similar water infrastructure. This method takes place inside the concrete and is not invasive or destructive.
Gerber adds that alternate current field measurement, acoustic emission and the use of a Hovermap – where an additional thermographic camera with in-built software is attached to a drone – are among the other innovative testing and inspection options Dekra Industrial offers.
Infra-red technology, when applied within the context of drone inspections, can also effectively inspect areas at risk of cracks and leakage.
“For example, ground-penetrating radar is particularly effective when detection of water leaks under substrate such as tarmac is required,” he concludes.