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Thread: Electronic Marker Systems

  1. #1
    Junior Member Gas Man's Avatar
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    Default Electronic Marker Systems

    G’Day all,

    Chasing some information from you learned folk.

    I have a customer that is enquiring about transponders or electronic underground marker systems. I know of the 3M product (http://tinyurl.com/5ge826) .

    What I am looking for is any information or experiences with this system or any other system that you feel is worthy of inspection.

    All information greatly appreciated.

    Cheers from down under
    Jeff
    www.provac.net.au

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    Conservative Meanie ifinditunderground's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electronic Marker Systems

    Go with the Dynatel (3M) I use it, and it does everything they advertise......and it's relatively inexpensive as well. I have the locator/writer/reader unit, and use the iD balls with writability.
    There is a fine line between "Hobby" and "Mental Illness."
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    Default Re: Electronic Marker Systems

    Probably the 3M unit is one of the best out there, we use that and a Rycom and the Dynatel is the best of the two to pick the biggest vareity of EM markers.

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    Junior Member rohit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electronic Marker Systems

    Hi Everyone,

    I am looking doing a project in which i have to estimate the market size of electronic markers. It is the same product like the 1400id disk markers manufactured by 3M. Guys please pour in your ideas.
    How much difficult is it to locate non metallic pipes/optical fibres using the locators.
    If i have DGPS coordinates, how pinpointed the location is and how much easy it is to use DGPS.

    Thanks

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    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electronic Marker Systems

    Quote Originally Posted by rohit View Post
    Hi Everyone,

    I am looking doing a project in which i have to estimate the market size of electronic markers. It is the same product like the 1400id disk markers manufactured by 3M. Guys please pour in your ideas.
    How much difficult is it to locate non metallic pipes/optical fibres using the locators.
    If i have DGPS coordinates, how pinpointed the location is and how much easy it is to use DGPS.

    Thanks
    The big buyers of markers are the utilities or the contractors that install their plant for them.

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    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electronic Marker Systems

    Quote Originally Posted by Gas Man View Post
    G’Day all,

    Chasing some information from you learned folk.

    I have a customer that is enquiring about transponders or electronic underground marker systems. I know of the 3M product (http://tinyurl.com/5ge826) .

    What I am looking for is any information or experiences with this system or any other system that you feel is worthy of inspection.

    All information greatly appreciated.

    Cheers from down under
    Jeff
    www.provac.net.au

    I have made an observation over the years.

    Markers are in many shapes from the old orange 'carrots' that marked phone lines to the red or yellow or other colored disks for utilities.

    Principally I have found the two popular shapes are either the disk or the ball. These shapes have an interesting characteristic that causes me to favor the disk.

    There is one form of the disk that is shaped like the lid on a campers toilet and commonly called the toilet seat, this I favor.

    The other is a sphere a bit larger than a softball.

    There are two uses for makers, long term and short term.

    The long term marker is to mark a splice junction or stub for future expansion. The junction markers will be in the ground for decades and the future expansion stubs usually a year or so.

    The short term use for the marker is for the service stubs to individual houses, usually an electric marker is used. These are in the ground for a few months only and then dug up. It is here where a problem occurs, some markers are too durable.

    The toilet seat marker is large enough that when the stub is dug up by the back hoe the teeth of the bucket usually pierce it making it useless. It would be nice if they threw a working marker back into the hole once the services are spliced in becasue this is a common spot where the electric service fails. Water commonly works it's way into the electric splice and the service burns open there. But how it is easily damaged is actually an asset for the toilet seat marker.

    The ball marker is more resistant to damage from a backhoe or shovel. Most of the time the bucket just scoops it up and it's round shape allows it to twist under impact rather than be punctured. That toughness is the problem. That darn ball is just left on the ground and you can walk on it, run a backhoe over it and it just gets pushed into the ground intact. The crews that install the services do not put these markers on their trucks for disposal, they just leave them on the site. The round shape allows them to roll around the construction site and they go all over the place.

    The result is that these ball markers get re-buried where there is no utility and give false location signals for decades.

    So give me a toilet seat anytime.

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    Junior Member rohit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electronic Marker Systems

    Is it a well practiced norm by the utility companies to use electronic markers in USA. What is the usage pattern in USA to identify and mark underground assets. I know 3M is the largest and most visible manufacturer of electronic markers. But why there are only two manufacturers of electronic markers namely 3M and Omni. Please reply asap with any details you all guys have.

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    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electronic Marker Systems

    Quote Originally Posted by rohit View Post
    Hi Everyone,

    I am looking doing a project in which i have to estimate the market size of electronic markers. It is the same product like the 1400id disk markers manufactured by 3M. Guys please pour in your ideas.
    How much difficult is it to locate non metallic pipes/optical fibres using the locators.
    If i have DGPS coordinates, how pinpointed the location is and how much easy it is to use DGPS.

    Thanks
    Electronic markers are overall great. They are durable and easy to read.

    How easy to read is largely determined by the receiver used to search for them, The dedicated receivers that are only for finding the EMs work great, they do not have to compromise to share their circuitry with other functions.


    Now many locating receivers have a circuit for EMs but they share the circuitry and often do not work as well, but they do work well enough.

    As to why so few manufacturers I do not know, the first place I would look is who has the patents on these devices.

  9. #9
    Junior Member rohit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electronic Marker Systems

    I know 3M is the best one out there.

    I wanted to know that is it a norm to always place electronic markers while laying underground assets by the utility companies.

    If yes, why Radiodetection has not given EMS compatibility in its new series of detectors namely RD7000 & RD8000, while it was there in RD4000

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    Junior Member rohit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electronic Marker Systems

    Quote Originally Posted by ProfessionalLocator View Post
    Electronic markers are overall great. They are durable and easy to read.

    How easy to read is largely determined by the receiver used to search for them, The dedicated receivers that are only for finding the EMs work great, they do not have to compromise to share their circuitry with other functions.


    Now many locating receivers have a circuit for EMs but they share the circuitry and often do not work as well, but they do work well enough.

    As to why so few manufacturers I do not know, the first place I would look is who has the patents on these devices.

    There are only two manufacturers of ball markers 3M and Tempo. These two have patents for producing spherical field, which is a necessity for manufacturing ball marker.
    But what about the disc markers.

    Is it a norm in USA to use electronic markers for utility companies.

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    Senior Member headcipher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Electronic Marker Systems

    I can tell you that we, as a municipal h20, gas, electric company, use electronic markers throughout our facilities. We have gas markers at all gas main or service stubs as well as all newer main tees. We also have electric electronic marker at most conduit stub outs and in all junction boxes. We are planning on putting fiber markers in all hand holes. And last of all we use h20 markers for any mains that are unlocatable due to broen tracer wires or depth, I. E. going under a creek.

    A good Electronic Marker System is essential to our locating all of our facilities.

    It's frustrating when very good locators do not have a EMS system available. It's probably what would keep us from seriously considering the RD8000 or RD7000, although we are currently running some demo's through their paces.

  12. #12
    Mke
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    Default Re: Electronic Marker Systems

    The City Agency where I work loves these electronic markers. They actually required them on a project we were designing. The issue I have with these electronic markers is the "prefered" placement of the markers. For example; The marker ball is shown to be placed zip tied to the utility, however if you read the details that the optimal depth of these markers is 3-4'. Most of the times these markers are used to help Identify unlocateable facilities or splices. The most common unlocateable facilities are Storm water, and sanitary, wich are usually deeper then the 3-4' optimal range. The balls are a little more forgiving then the toilet seats for placement, ( for those of us who have tried to find a toilet seat that was placed upside down).

    The markers are at the whim of the contractor who places them, if they don't place them correctly, or if they have strict specs on how to backfill the trench (like we do) the toilet seats don't hold up to our compaction standards, however the balls usually do.

    I look at it this way. If you are that concerned on the location of your utilities, survey them when they are placed. You will then have coordinates on the location of the utility that can be supplied to contractors of future projects and to prevent any conflicts.


    mke

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