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#Digitalization

Pipelife eases maintenance tasks using digitalization

The Wienerberger Business Unit Piping Solutions is already able to provide smart solutions, thanks to the integration of the recently-acquired digital solutions company Inter Act. Pipelife Norway shows how the all-in-one smart solutions comprising assets combined with sensor technology, software and cloud services solve customer problems.

Pipelife Norway

Pipelife Norway – A case study of all-in-one smart solutions

Imagine a municipality that operates a fresh-water reservoir up in the Norwegian mountains. A 1-hour drive away from the townhall, in a place where there is no internet access and no electricity. To check the water quality, a local government worker has to travel there every week. If something goes wrong, it can take up to 6 days before anyone notices.

Solving customer problems with technology

Pipelife Norway set out to solve this customer problem by equipping infrastructure systems with sensors and connecting these to the cloud. Given that piping solutions are often installed underground or in remote locations where there is no electricity or conventional 4G/5G coverage, the digital solution Narrowband IoT opened up new possibilities for Pipelife Norway. All over the world, Narrowband IoT is provided using existing 4G and 5G base stations within a lower frequency band than conventional 4G solutions, ensuring coverage even in places that are traditionally hard to reach such as underground, in valleys and up mountains, and off the electricity grid.

“For Pipelife, the main goal is to provide holistic solutions for the challenges facing our customers – and we do so using the best technology on the market,” explains Harald Schwarzmayer, COO Wienerberger Piping Solutions. 

For Pipelife, the main goal is to provide holistic solutions for the challenges facing our customers – and we do so using the best technology on the market.

Harald Schwarzmayr

Harald Schwarzmayr

COO Wienerberger Piping Solutions

1 Technology – 3 Use Cases

The innovative digital solution successfully tested and implemented by Pipelife Norway offers opportunities for three different use cases, which are all crucial for municipalities, highway agencies and energy providers. The many advantages of the smart solution for the customers are self-evident:

  • 24/7 Monitoring: Instead of a weekly manual inspection, water quality is monitored 24/7. The data is then visualized on a dashboard for mobile and desktop devices. In addition, automatic alert functions are also available. An example: Monitoring water levels upstream from a grid-concealed drain prevents flooding of nearby roads as potential critical situations can be detected and resolved promptly.
  • Measuring Water Masses: To operate hydroelectric power plants more efficiently, water levels in rivers and dams are monitored by a sensor.
  • Various Water Quality Measurements: Sensors can be used for measuring the temperature, pH values and conductivity of water within pipe systems, in manholes or in open bodies of water

Helping our customers provide a better service

The municipality of Surnadal, energy provider Agder Energi, the region Viken and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration are just some of our customers, who have successfully implemented the new technology by Pipelife Norway.

The proof of concept for the Surnadal project started in early 2020. Installing an IoT narrowband sensor solution gives the municipality access to data in real time, whereas previously 2-3 manual inspections per week were required. This has been hugely beneficial for the local community as it not only saves time, but also uncovers potential problems before residents suffer water shortages or other problems.

“With the help of Pipelife's complete solution, which includes assets, sensors and efficient communication technology, we can now extract information about water levels and temperature – both outside and inside the intake room. All data is available in a cloud which means that we as operators have a complete overview of the situation from the office or on our mobile phone. This technology has vastly improved the quality of our everyday lives as we work to guarantee our citizens a reliable supply of high-quality drinking water,” says Kåre Dragset, VA engineer at Surnadal Municipality.

With the help of Pipelife's complete solution, which includes assets, sensors and efficient communication technology, we can now extract information about water levels and temperature – both outside and inside the intake room. All data is available in a cloud which means that we as operators have a complete overview of the situation from the office or on our mobile phone. This technology has vastly improved the quality of our everyday lives as we work to guarantee our citizens a reliable supply of high-quality drinking water.

Kåre Dragset

VA engineer at Surnadal Municipality

  • Four men, forest, thumbs up, composite cover
    Indre Østfold Municipality – happy customer having both a measurement solution and composite lids installed during winter 2020.
  • Man standing in front of a measurement station
    Per Egil Heggset works late nights to do installations during cold winter months
    Pipelife Norway
  • Sewer cover, norwegian landscape, snow, fjord
    Installation in Sula municipality
    Pipelife Norway
  • Man rides snowmobile to a measuring station
    Installations at Fauskåvatnet, Surnadal Municipality – in a very remote areas where scooter is needed to get there.
    Pipelife Norway

Real-time sensors for monitoring critical hotspots

The private-sector energy provider Agder Energi saves time as it is now able to automatically monitor water levels in rivers and dams that are often in areas far away from roads and other infrastructure, and which are usually inaccessible in winter. The Norwegian Public Roads Administration and the Viken region both benefit from the real-time sensors to monitor critical flood hotspots, especially during the spring flood periods.

“We want to test and use equipment that gives us a better overview of the condition of our roads. These sensors monitor the water level in the gutters, something that in the past has required a personal inspection, either by us or by the operator”, says Petter Storødegård at Drift øst 1 in the Norwegian Public Roads Administration.

Have a look at the video by Viken Fylkeskommune (only in Norwegen)

Viken Logo Viken Fylkeskommune

“We now want to automate the process to a greater extent so the contractor can know whether action needs to be taken or not. IoT can save us a great deal of work”, says Ihmad Bason, Viken Fylkeskommune.

The next level: Predicting floods using machine learning

Together with its partners ADS, Knowit, InterAct B.V. and Telenor Norge, Pipelife is currently taking part in an innovative tender in Gudbrandsdalen in Norway. The ambitious Pipelife team wants to use this project to take its solution to the next level. “As part of the project we would like to use the data collected by sensors and link it to other available data sources such as weather forecasts so we can predict floods before they actually happen with the help of machine learning,” explains Eirin Kalsto, Manager of Digital Solutions, Pipelife Norway.

As part of the project we would like to use the data collected by sensors and link it to other available data sources such as weather forecasts so we can predict floods before they actually happen with the help of machine learning.

Eirin Kalsto

Manager of Digital Solutions, Pipelife Norway

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