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3M Upgrades Dynatel Locators
The company reports its 2500 series can identify pipes, cables and RFID markers buried more deeply in the ground, and better map out their locations.
Willson calls this series of locators "super-intelligent," because the mapping module provides a visual representation and coordinates for the pipe or cable. "It's kind of like having X-ray glasses into the ground," he says. "They're designed to be more accurate."
According to Wilson, utility service companies will begin to see more devices with services that offer a variety of functions for field workers. Additionally, he notes, locators will also integrate more easily with back-office systems.
As collecting and logging that data on utility lines becomes more complicated, Wilson says, 3M's challenge to expand the devices' integration means keeping tools simple and intuitive. This, he adds, will reduce the learning curve and increase productivity.
The company offers two main interfaces to upload the information. One way allows workers to store data in the locator while in the field, and then upload that information to the PC upon returning to the office. The other is to combine trace and RFID data with location information supplied by a GPS receiver mounted on the locator, and then upload the linked data into a back-office system, such as ESRI's geographic information system (GIS) software.
Similar to other Dynatel units offered by 3M, the 2500 series locators provide pipe, cable or sonde depth measurements, offering a digital readout either in feet and inches, or in centimeters. The locators also provide a direction indication to the cable, in order to help the operator distinguish the target object in congested areas.
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