During the Water Campus Business Cafe on 28 May 2015, organised by the Water Alliance, the recently created company Acquaint B.V. held a pitch on the innovative project ‘Inspection robot for drinking water pipelines’. Time for us to get acquainted.
Water-related customers were looking for practical inspection technology
“Acquaint B.V. was founded in 2014”, said the general manager Rudy Dijkstra. “One of our objectives is to develop inspection methods and techniques for the drinking water and wastewater sector. With this, inspections can be executed and pipeline infrastructure owners and managers will be able to detect possible failure mechanisms and verify and adapt maintenance strategies.” The company arose from an initiative of HDM Pipelines B.V., a consultancy company specialised in supporting pipeline owners with their pipeline management systems and day-to-day pipeline operations. “Water-related customers were looking for practical inspection technology, one of HDM’s areas of expertise”, explained Dijkstra. “Acquaint B.V. was created to assure absolute clarity in the distinction between services and products, and most important independence and transparency towards customers. The name Acquaint originates from the words ‘aqua’, ‘integrity’, ‘international’ and ‘to acquaint’.
Prevention of failures
Inline inspection methods are well known within the Oil & Gas sector, but in the water sector pipeline systems were initially not build to be inspected. Nowadays the drinking water system within The Netherlands counts 117.000 km. These systems are ageing and require a more pro-active asset management approach and therefore inspection technology is required. Dijkstra elaborated “When, where and how to do this, taking into account costs, risks and materials, is one of the questions drinking water companies have to deal with. HDM Pipelines lobbied for developing an inspection robot for drinking water and wastewater pipelines for a few years, to be able to get insight in the condition of the pipelines. This was exactly what Dutch Drinking Water companies were searching for. Based upon this market demand Acquaint B.V. was founded. The company builds upon expert knowledge and experiences in the development of intelligent inspection techniques for In-Line Inspections (ILI’s) mainly within the Oil & Gas and industrial sector.”
The Drinking Water companies PWN, Vitens, Evides, Oasen, and Brabant Water and knowledge institute Wetsus have signed a collaboration agreement with Acquaint B.V. for the development of a Prototype Inspection Robot for drinking water pipelines. To be able to complete the finance of the so-called proof-of-concept phase of this innovative project, Acquaint together with Wetsus and launching customers have applied for a grant with Fryslân Fernijt IV. This is a subsidy programme from the Province Fryslân that stimulates economic development among Frisian business companies and innovation within the region, financed by ‘Ministerie van Economische Zaken’, ‘Samenwerkingsverband Noord Nederland (SNN)’ and ‘provincie Fryslân’. The application was successfully submitted with assistance and support of the Water Alliance.
Dijkstra concluded “On the 17th of June 2015 we received a call that the project was granted with a Fryslân Fernijt IV funding. This was great news, now we can start the development of the prototype, which will provide insight in the condition of the pipeline systems of the water companies. This will allow them to upgrade their pipeline asset management approach accordingly.”