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Electro Scan Delivers Tools For Unmatched Sewer And Water Leak Detection

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Cities can say goodbye to visual pipe inspection and simply rely on Electro Scan which brings unequaled tools for pipeline condition assessment. The company uses direct measurements and data collection that can easily pinpoint a leak’s location while scanning anywhere between 2000 to 54000 feet per day. To find out more we sat down with Chuck Hansen, Chairman & CEO of Electro Scan:

Chuck Hansen

Q: Chuck, tell us what do you find most interesting and rewarding in terms of running Electro Scan?

A: Providing intelligent solutions in minutes that once took weeks or months using an army of consulting engineers. This is not the first rodeo for key management of Electro Scan Inc., having built & deployed some of the largest enterprise applications that manage public sector assets like water distribution, wastewater collection, and highway transportation systems. Since we’re not first timers, it’s a relief to already have a well-established pedigree of doing business in the public sector and delivering some of its largest infrastructure management projects.

One of the biggest thrills is seeing the eyes of old guard managers go wide-open when they see our solution in action. It’s like hearing the horn section in the band Chicago – recorded in the days before ProTools – and knowing they could cut their parts, playing exactly the right note, in any key. Its just that amazing. And, we like to think we are, too.

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Q: Who are the primary clients of Electro Scan and what are some of the Key challenges you are helping them solve?

A: We sell our proprietary equipment and services to municipal utilities, primarily sewer and water agencies (yes, the people that provide drinkable water from our faucets and treat whatever we flush down the toilet). We have a few authorized contractors we work with that cover exclusive territories, international countries or regions.

Big cities, like New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami, have a lot of management layers and decision makers. Often managing thousands of miles of underground pipelines, eventually these cities will buy one of anything. What is truly amazing with our solution, is the number of smaller utilities, townships, and service districts, often supporting a few dozen miles of pipe, that buy a unit because of its game changing data.

You’ve seen a lot of what happens without our help. Overflowing sewers, sinkholes, water main breaks, boil water notices, and leaks. Prior to our product suite, cities were limited to either visual inspection of sewers – sometimes with high resolution cameras – or listening for water leaks using acoustic sensors and data loggers that typically miss the majority of a pipe’s defects and often incorrectly prioritize which pipes to fix first.

With over $1 billion in pipe rehabilitation, i.e. repair, relining, and renewal of our crumbling infrastructure, done each year in the United States, legacy technologies often allowed multi-year projects to be approved, only to have cities experience the same problems. Some say a Ouija board or dart board would have done just as good.

A huge waste of time and money, often funded by long-term municipal bonds.

But, using a solution that can accurately and reliably pinpoint problem pipes, quantifying defects in common terms, I’m reminded of Arthur C. Clark’s third law, “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” That’s Electro Scan!

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Q: What is unique about your technology and how does it stand out from competition?

A: Our technology is machine-intelligent offering an accurate, unbiased engineered solution.

We design, develop, and market state-of-the-art test equipment that tells people things about their pipelines that no one ever could before. What makes us different? We don’t require third-parties to analyze or interpret our data.

First, we take large amounts of data (i.e. OK, ‘big data’), collected in the field under some of the most difficult environmental conditions. Then, transmitted securely to our host servers via Amazon Web Services – any time, from anywhere in the world – using the slickest code written in C#, Html 5.0, and Python. Finally, data is munged through a proprietary rules-based engine that accounts for pipe material (e.g. brick, plastic, concrete, lined, vitrified clay, etc.), pipe diameter, and pipe length – not to mention Torritelli’s and Ohm’s laws, and other secret stuff, to automatically generate easy-to-understand reports.

The holy grail in the pipeline business has always been locating leaks to the nearest 1 inch and estimating defects by Gallons Per Minute (GPM).

In our case, we deliver locational accuracy of 0.4 inch and measure GPM to the nearest three decimals.

No false-positive readings, no missed defects, no customer service disruption, no noise or electrical interference, and no hassles since all field work is done by homegrown crews that know how to work hard and play hard. There is a reason we outfit most of our trucks with working kegerators.

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Q: What are your plans for keeping Electro Scan on the forefront of technology innovation?

A: Like any sustainable, data-rich solutions company – where more data makes smarter decisions – we aim to exponentially grow our baseline data sets to help us promulgate highly accurate, industry-specific steady-state, gravity, or pressurized pipe defect models.

Q: What can we expect from Electro Scan in the future? What are your plans?

A: Electro Scan is on a three-fold mission.

First, we want to target tent pole utilities in countries where people drink water from a faucet, flush toilets, and cook with natural gas. Beware, life is too short to work with utilities that want to stick to business practices from 30 years ago. Secondly, we want to protect our intellectual property by growing a virtual moat around our enforceable patents in a ‘Game of Thrones’ kind of way. And, third, we want to have fun delivering unequaled environmentally-responsible solutions that can help our customers safeguard their customers while they work and play.

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