Millions of miles of municipal water pipelines across North America, Australia and the Middle East, among others, are functioning more reliably today because of the work of Queen’s physicist Dr. David Atherton. His patented electromagnetic system for inspecting prestressed concrete water pipes enabled utilities, for the first time, to reliably and accurately identify breaks or weaknesses in pipeline segments, leading to more efficient repairs and savings of up to $14 million per mile of pipe.
With PARTEQ’s help, Prof. Atherton’s work formed the basis of the award-winning Pressure Pipe Inspection Company, a world leader in inspection technologies for physical infrastructure. More than one million segments of pipe have been inspected by this noninvasive, robotic system, and its ability to pinpoint weaknesses has prevented catastrophic breaks and vastly reduced water loss. The value of this technology was enhanced in 2010 when Pressure Pipe was acquired by Pure Technologies Ltd. of Calgary, for $35 million.