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The SL-RAT’s Proven Acoustic Technology

The Avanti Company strives to offer the most reliable and proven Flow Meter Products and tools on the market. That is why we are proud to carry the state-of-the-art SL-RAT, the Sewer Line Rapid Assessment Tool that is specially designed to quickly detect and resolve blockages in your network.

Few issues are more costly and time consuming to utilities than sewage blockages. That is why the rugged, compactable, and lightweight SL-RAT utilizes the latest in acoustic testing technology to provide quick and reliable results with minimal effort. Manufacturer InfoSense has an established reputation in successfully developing and implementing such dependable and cutting-edge solutions.

Consider the following report from Engineering News-Record, which analyzed the development and implementation of the SL-RAT for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, N.C., Utilities Division (CMUD). Like many other Utilities, it used CCTV cameras to inspect its underground pipes, but found the images too dark or murky to be wholly accurate. Often times, pipes were cleaned that did not require it, while legitimate blockages were missed until it was too late.

In 2005, after turning to electrical engineering professor Ivan Howitt at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte to find a solution, the SL-RAT and its revolutionary acoustical approach were born:

The procedure works on 6- to 12-in.-dia pipes of any material. SL-RAT’s 18-lb transmitter and 11-lb receiver are designed to be deployed inside manholes 200 ft apart, but Howitt says it has achieved accurate results in 800-ft sections and longer. A brief transmission of a range of tones is usually enough to generate an acoustical profile at the receiver. The results can be read immediately or downloaded for subsequent analysis. 

“Essentially, you’re yelling down the pipe,” Howitt says, adding that a two-person crew can perform the entire operation in three minutes. They can inspect up to 10,000 feet per day of pipe. “A crew using CCTV usually does, at most, 2,000 feet per day,” he says.

Howitt adds that SL-RAT is intended to rapidly assess whether there is a blockage and inform where CCTV should be used. Then, CCTV can go in and determine the exact nature of the blockage.

 “If the SL-RAT’s results indicate blockage, you can then deploy CCTV to investigate the cause—roots, debris, grease, cracks and so forth—and what cleaning work may be necessary,” he says.

This innovative approach had tremendous success, such that, as of 2013, Engineer News-Record reported that CMUD has decided to purchase over thirty SL-RATs over the next four years for full-scale daily use. Numerous other Utilities in the southeast have expressed similar plans, or have already been utilizing the tool with great results.

Not only does the SL-RAT offers accurate results in less than three minutes, but its no-flow contact design gives it an operating cost of one-tenth to one-twentieth that of the common CCTV alternative – hence why Utilities are interested in this highly cost-effective and dependable approach.

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