Modern civilization cannot do without a working wastewater system. It is important that contaminated water makes its way safely to the sewage treatment plant. As many drainage systems and household pipe connections are now decades old, they often need to be repaired or replaced. Expensive repairs can be precisely planned and restricted to the affected areas by first conducting an underground video inspection. Microdrives facilitate complete mobility of the camera head of such inspection devices, ensuring optimal coverage of all sections of the drain and delivering a panoramic view to the camera operator. Compact dimensions are important for all components of the inspection system to ensure even narrow drains and thin pipes are properly checked.
Waste removal was and is an essential task for the survival of modern civilization. One such area is the underground sewage system, which is responsible for drawing off surface water and transporting wastewater to the sewage treatment plant. Any damage in this area can lead to both wash-outs and flooding of roads as well as contamination of the soil or groundwater. For this reason, many sewage regulations require drain inspections to be conducted at regular intervals. To take stock of the underground situation and check for any damage, the Kiel-based company IBAK developed a mobile inspection system with very compact dimensions, the centerpiece of which is a miniature telecamera. Drainage experts worked with FAULHABER microdrive specialists to come up with the ideal configuration. Several tiny motors with transmission attachments now move the camera so that the operator can view the system from any angle. Estimates suggest the true total in Germany is closer to 1 million km of drainage. All of these underground pipes and channels are subjected to several different pressures at the same time: “interior assault” or corrosion, due to chemical and biological reaction of the water with the pipe walls, and external impacts such as traffic vibration or ground subsidence. There is also interference from tree roots causing damage to the seals, or cracks in walls that can make even the strongest pipe walls burst. Sooner or later this leads to damage that has to be repaired as quickly as possible. Repair work on sewage systems can be very costly and time-consuming, and in many cases also cause major disruption to traffic above ground. The more accurately the extent of the damage can be identified and localized in advance, the better any repair work can be planned and carried out. With the help of IBAK inspection systems, it is possible to have the camera travel the full extent of the sewage systems, checking and documenting the condition of all pipes and components along the way.