For more than 20 years, copper wire marker tapes and the installation of solid copper tracer wire – buried alongside polyethylene (PE) pipes – has been standard practice used to help utilities locate underground conduits. However, with the increased use of more demanding operations – such as horizontal directional drilling (HDD) this creates challenges and can cause breaks in tracer wire during installation.
Trace-Safe™, a new water blocking tracer wire that lasts longer, costs less than traditional solid copper tracer wire, and provides enhanced protection to both workers and pipelines, is now available from TEN. Ideal for the gas, sewer, water, power, and telecom markets, Trace-Safe is the only water blocking tracer wire on the market today. It features a 19 gauge solid copper conductor at its core, polyolefin insulation material, specially- designed water blocking yarns, and a HDPE outer jacket. This unique construction gives Trace-Safe its unparalleled tensile and break strength and ultimately extends the life of the tracer wire.
Its impact strength ensures continuity in open trench applications where it might contact rocks and equipment like excavator buckets. As a client specifying a marking solution for your conduit infrastructure, the longest lasting and most durable tracer wire product will ensure the product serves its purpose for many years to come. Thin gauge wires in marker tapes are prone to breaking during installation and if they survive installation and backfill, they corrode very easily and quickly – providing a very short lifespan and a future inability to trace conduit paths. If a tracer wire’s conductor is susceptible to corrosion, it will inevitably break down and interfere with signal strength. But Trace-Safe® features unique water-blocking characteristics, so its conductor will not corrode. Combine that with Trace-Safe’s inherently higher signal strength, and you get easier and more precise location — which is especially important when locating gas and sewer lines. The high tensile and breaking strength of Trace-Safe makes it perfect for HDD and rocky backfill applications, and will provide many years of tracing capability for your sites.
According to Larry Shelton, Neptco Business Unit Manager, “Our research indicates that corrosion with traditional solid copper and copper copper-clad steel is a significant problem in the utility industry. If a tracer wire’s conductor is susceptible to corrosion, it will inevitably break down and interfere with signal strength. But Trace-Safe has unique water-blocking characteristics, so its conductor will not corrode. Tts higher break strength and lower cost also makes it very attractive to those who specify tracer wire.”
Trace-Safe has undergone rigorous testing to determine both signal strength and the effects of lightning on a metallic conductor. In terms of signal strength and locating ability, Trace-Safe was field tested by Mike Parilac at Staking University in Illinois, USA. When compared to traditional solid copper and Copper Clad Steel, Trace-Safe delivered higher signal strength and achieved superior locating results versus 12 gauge copper. During a lightning strike simulation conducted at Lightning Technologies, Inc., Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Trace-Safe did not conduct an electrical current when struck by lightning. This enhances worker safety and can help prevent damage to the pipeline.
Trace-Safe is available in lightweight, recyclable plastic reels with a minimum break load of 818kg. Tracer Wire and Reels are color-coded by Australian industry accepted colours by application (Orange for Power, Blue for Water, Yellow for Gas and Green for Waste Water). Combined with their simple water blocking, no strip connectors, the Trace-Safe system provides peace of mind, project cost savings and greater accuracy in your detection activities.
Neptco has nearly 60 years of experience engineering materials for commercial, industrial and military applications. TEN is proud to distribute the range of Neptco products for the Australian market. For more information, contact Lindsay Taylor at TEN on 0400 968 238
Trace-Safe® water blocking benefits include: