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Working in partnership to reduce
and prevent pollution

Research and Development

Introduction to Detectronic’s Research and Development initiatives

As a specialist designer/manufacturer of smart-sensors, monitoring, logging and telemetry equipment, Detectronic leads the way in the field of Smart Wastewater Network Monitoring. The philosophy of the business is to partner with the most capable research partners and by doing so, integrate the best available technologies into our hardware and software products and services. Our RD&D (Research, Design and Development) team, led by Dr Keith Kirby (pictured below) is responsible for continuous product improvement and new product development. Our sensors, dataloggers and self-powered telemetry systems are designed and manufactured for long life and reliability in the hostile and aggressive environment of our Sewers and Storm drains.

Dr-Keith-Kirby.jpgnewEach Detectronic sensor-type is developed and has its calibration profile established in the Hydraulics Laboratory at our Colne premises. Our precision-calibrated Flow Rig is capable of emulating a very representative range of sewer and open-channel flow conditions with flowrates ranging from 0.9 to 88 l/s.

The Detectronic Operations and Data Centre, in conjunction with our software development team, has created and is delivering an exciting new service. It uses sophisticated methods to detect blockages and other operational issues in our Clients’ sewer networks and storm-water systems.

Data from wide deployment of our range of Smart Monitors is collected via global mobile phone networks and delivered through our automated Data Harvesting systems to our Operations and Data Centres. Data are processed in near real-time through our Analytical Systems which combine newly-developed Smart Data-Screening software with ‘Interactive Human Intelligence’ to deliver useful management information. This means that our Clients receive only validated intervention reports which enable them to quickly respond to impending issues and resolve them before they cause a serious problem.

This proactive approach has, over the last 4 years, been proven to prevent relatively minor issues from escalating into serious flooding and pollution incidents – saving time previously wasted responding to ‘false’ alarms and the cost of carrying out environmental recovery and clean-up operations after flooding or pollution events. Our clients also benefit from considerable cost-reductions in Fines and Environmental Penalties – achieved though Flood Reduction and Pollution Prevention.

This helps all our customers to meet their operational and environmental targets and, in the UK, to meet the new ODIs (Outcome Delivery Incentives) introduced for AMP6.

This Research and Development page of the website will be used to highlight recent examples of hardware improvement, software developments or new technologies:

On the R&D trail with the University of Warwick

Over the last 12 months, we’ve been working with the University of Warwick via the Centre for Industrial Ultrasonics (CIU) on a project involving Finite Element (FE) modelling and prototyping of titanium flexure mode unimorph ultrasonic transducers.

Explains Dr Keith Kirby, our director of research and development: “Most of the proprietary transducers of this type are made from aluminium, which would not survive very long in a chemically aggressive atmosphere that can exist in a sewer environment.

“Initial results were positive in that it was shown that such transducers could be made. As the resonant frequency of a flexure mode transducer is largely determined by the characteristics of the material and its dimensions, to achieve the required resonant frequency the diameter of the transducer had to be quite small at around 14mm.

“To obtain a large effective aperture and a narrow beam width, the transducer was used in conjunction with acoustic reflectors in a Cassegrain configuration. This is just one example of a variety of design concepts currently being evaluated.”

Concludes Keith: “At Detectronic we’re consistently looking at ways to further improve our products and monitoring capabilities and this latest project with the CIU at Warwick underlines our continued commitment to excellence.”

Read more about Dr Keith Kirby on his profile page

Detectronic – detecting blockages before they cause flooding or pollution

Watch our Predictive Data Monitoring Video here

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Regent Street,
Whitewalls Industrial Estate,
Colne, Lancashire,