We don’t like to blow our own trumpet, but sometimes the news is significant enough that it is important we let people know.
Since its inception, dipstik® technology has been revealing faults that were not visible to the naked eye. The structural defects that existed on street lighting columns were potentially life threatening but thanks to the innovative dipstik® technology, could be identified in a non-destructively without excavation. The first dipstik® was called the model A which was introduced in 2002. Over time, improvements were made and the model B dipstik® was unveiled but without fanfare. It did the same thing, the model A did, but had minor aesthetic improvements along with some better functionality to the benefit of the user.
Jump to 2020 and after a soft launch in the field, we can now proudly reveal the model C dipstick® technology. Unsurprisingly, it does the same thing that the model A and model B dipstik® does. It detects a loss of thickness in the wall section of a metal column. And that is where the similarities end.
The model C dipstik® has a digital screen which replaces the old analogue screen present on both the model A and C. A colour co-ordinated dial, (digital, we are old fashioned that way) is colour coordinated so that loss of thickness measurements can be easily classified as Red, Amber and Green. Big red lights (again, digital) also announce to the inspector the loss of signal when the cable entry hole is detected.
The dipstik® is excellent at detecting loss on steel columns. The eddy currents bond to steel very well, however aluminium as a material has a different composite makeup and typically the model A and B required a different calibration method to return accurate results. The model C addresses this issue and with a simple adjustment, the aluminium setting is selected and measurements are recorded.
Bluetooth and GPS
The model C now comes with a GPS function which enables a more accurate location of where the column is when carrying out the test. This is reflected in the mapping software we use when providing data and reports back to our clients through the Easyweb 5 portal.
The bluetooth function is where the dipstik® model C really separates its self from the Model A and Model B. Previously, an inspector would lower the probe into the column and read the analogue dial, looking for a loss if the needle changed position. He would then manually enter the results into his tablet which would then be uploaded to the server at the end of the working week.
Our model C, now does that itself.
The inspectors tablet and dipstik now talk to each other with no further input or involvement from the inspector. When the probe is lowered, the model C dipstick® will scan the column for a loss of thickness and enter the findings into the tablet itself. If the probe speed is excessive then the test is aborted and the procedure is completed again. Through the bluetooth function, it will then populate the tablet with the measurements which will not be updated at the end of the week upon completion of a dataset but in real time.
Most impressively, the dipstik® will be responsible for indicating whether a column has a red defect or not and this information can be sent back to the office so that the client can be informed in real time of an imminent structural failure. Our standard GN22 or TR22 Inspection is then completed by our inspector complementing the structural test.
This significant shift in dipstik® technology removes the human element, increasing our level of consistency and accuracy. Our data has shown that over time, column condition is getting worse with a significant lack of investment in column replacement starting to show. With a trend towards ‘sweating the asset’ defective columns now routinely have multiple retests extending their residual life.
It will never be more important to have a rigorous testing programme that can accurately detect defects. Looks like the Model C dipstik® has arrived just in time.