New technology now allows cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) installers to capture and record temperature readings all along the pipeline they are rehabbing — this technology ensures that proper and complete curing of the liner will be done.

Zia Systems developed the breakthrough technology, called CiPPi — Cured In Place Pipeline Intelligence. The system uses small sensors that are strung inside the pipeline every 10 to 20 ft, prior to insertion of the liner. Once the liner is in place and the curing process begins, the CiPPi sensors read and transmit temperature readings to an onsite computer in real-time, giving crewmembers the information they need to determine when the proper time is to begin the cool down period during the CIPP process.

“As it is done today, [contractors and installers] take sensor readings at the manholes, which can be anywhere from 300  ft or more apart,” says Zia Systems vice president of operations Gary Rapp. “They really don’t know what the temperature is all along the host pipe. Now they have that capability… The sensors give them an eye in the ground.”

The temperature readings at the manholes show the how hot it is at the ends. There are times, Rapp explains, where “cold spots” occur along the pipeline, which can result in problems with the liner down the road because the liner didn’t cure properly during the curing process. The way the curing process is monitored today, installers would never have that information, he says.

Zia Systems LLC is an Ohio-based company that specializes in integrating wireless technologies that allow customers to remotely monitor and control assets, validating the need for a more accurate and cost-effective, real-time asset location and sensor monitoring system, Rapp says. The CiPPi system has been in development for more than a year and was unveiled to the public at the October WEFTEC show in New Orleans. Zia Systems was approached by longtime trenchless industry stalwart Jack Conie, a partner in The CIPP Corp., a pipeline rehabilitation company in the United States that offers steam and hot water CIPP and the Berolina-Liner System UV Cure, a system of renovating pipelines throughout Europe.

“Jack [Conie] was looking for a way to upgrade the monitoring process,” Rapp says. “He approached [Zia Systems] with the idea and we designed it.” Since then, Zia Systems has been conducting pilot projects around the country, testing out the sensors and perfecting the system before going into full production.

How It Works

Before the CiPPi sensors are installed, the pipe is cleaned and CCTV’d just as it’s done for each CIPP installation. Once the CIPP installation is ready to begin, the temperature sensors are attached to a cable and then strung through the pipeline. The sensors can either be strung through the pipe via attachment to robotic camera for smaller diameters or by a crewmember for larger diameters. The sensors are placed every 10 ft for larger diameters and every 20 ft for smaller diameters. The sensors are very small and thin — about 1 in. long by a ½-in. wide by 3/8-in. thick — and are left in the pipeline after curing.

Once the curing process begins — whether it uses water, steam or UV light — the sensors are at work. “Crews are waiting for the exothermic reaction to begin between the resin and the liner. Once that happens, they can begin cooling down the steam or hot water that has been run through the liner. The sensors will let them know whether there are any cold spots along the pipeline, which will help determine whether the curing process needs to continue,” Rapp says.

The sensor temperature readings are sent back to the computer. The computer operator monitoring the sensors will see a color-coded bar chart on his/her computer screen. “The bars start out as green but once the targeted temperature is reached, the bars will turn to red,” Rapp says.

“This technology allows contractors to know what the temperatures are based on this data. Today, contractors will run the curing process for longer periods of time potentially as insurance to ensure the liner was properly cured,” he notes. “With our sensors, they’ll know that it has reached its exotherm all along the pipeline, saving time and money.”

Pilot Project

Zia Systems recently completed a pilot project using CiPPi in Montpelier, Ohio, a small village just outside of Toledo. In this project, 800 ft of 54-in. sewer line that was about 100 years old needed rehabbed. CIPP was the selected method of repair. Kokosing Construction was handling the CIPP installation using hot water as the curing vehicle for the liner.

“In this case, the pipe was large enough for a crewmember to walk inside the pipe and lay the cable down,” Rapp says.

The curing of the large diameter liner took about 24 hours and was monitored by the installer throughout the night on the laptop. “For large pipe, such as this one, and for those covering a long distance, the curing process can take a few days,” Rapp says. “We feel that they can reduce their time once they know what the temperature readings are during the process. On average, we are finding that crew can save up to $185,000 per year using our technology through reduction of labor, equipment and fuel costs.”

Rapp says the response the system received at the WEFTEC show was tremendous, given that it is a water, wastewater-oriented show.

“Municipalities that have pilot-tested CiPPi have embraced it due to the information they can get  from the technology,” Rapp says, noting that for a pilot project in Florida, one of the sensors showed a cooler temperature than the others. “The installer knew that they had to treat that cold spot and run the curing process a little longer.”

Sharon M. Bueno is managing editor of Trenchless Technology.

See Discussion, Leave A Comment