Underground cable and pipe locators are safety tools used for pinpointing the exact location of underground services before excavation work is performed. They allow workers to safely dig and do their job, preventing them from doing costly damage and injuring themselves. Underground pipe and cable locators are comprised of two parts – transmitters and receivers.
An electrical signal is sent through the transmitter to the ground, which then bounces off the underground utility, and is picked back up by the receiver. This allows operators to trace the path of the signal and locate the pipe or cable that’s underground. Buried pipes and cables are a real threat to construction workers, and there are many cases of injured workers and disrupted services due to damaging an underground utility.
There are a couple of different factors to consider when shopping for underground pipe and cable locators in order to ensure you’re getting a model that suits your needs and provides the best value for your money.
The first thing to consider is whether the locator has the strike alert feature, which sends an alert to let the operator know that they’ve found something below the ground that’s shallow and likely to be struck if excavation work is performed. Next, consider whether you want a model that has depth estimation, which, as you can probably guess, lets you estimate the depth at which the utilities are located. And lastly, consider whether you want the locator to have an internal GNSS/GPS receiver that adds positional data to log records.
Besides picking the right locator, you need to consider picking a few accessories that can increase its safety and capabilities. Some of the most commonly bought locator accessories are a signal generator, signal clamps, sondes, flexitrace and a carry bag. These accessories make your locator more functional and add convenience when working or transporting it.
The most popular brand of locators available on today’s market is Radiodetection. They have produced the C.A.T4 and Genny4 ranges of underground service utility locators that enable operators to safely and quickly locate buried cables, pipes and other utilities. Their range is broad, so you can rest assured you’ll find the right locator suitable for your application. You can find Radiodetection locators online relatively easy and browse through the specification sheet to see which models have which features. Understanding what you need is key to getting what you want, so do your own research before shopping.