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How a Typical Cable Avoidance Tool Works

How a Typical Cable Avoidance Tool Works

A Cable Avoidance Tool (CAT) is a device used in construction, excavation, and utility work to detect the presence and location of underground cables and pipes. It is also known as a Cable Locator or Underground Service Locator. The primary purpose of a CAT is to help prevent damage to buried utilities during digging or drilling activities.

Image reference from RadioDetection


Here's how a typical Cable Avoidance Tool works:

  1. Electromagnetic Detection: The CAT emits a signal, usually an electromagnetic field or radio frequency, into the ground. This signal can penetrate the soil and detect the presence of metallic conductors, such as power cables or metallic pipes.

  2. Receiver Unit: The operator uses a handheld receiver unit, which picks up the signals emitted by the CAT. The receiver unit typically has a screen or indicators that provide visual and audible feedback to the operator.

  3. Signal Strength Indication: As the operator moves the receiver over the ground, it detects variations in the signal strength. When the receiver is directly above an underground cable or pipe, the signal strength will increase, indicating its presence.

  4. Visual and Audible Feedback: The receiver unit displays the signal strength on its screen or uses a series of lights or sound indicators to help the operator determine the location and direction of the buried utility. The operator can follow the visual or audible cues to trace the route of the cable or pipe.

  5. Additional Features: Some advanced Cable Avoidance Tools may have additional features like depth estimation, different frequency modes for specific utilities, and GPS integration for accurate mapping of the detected utilities.

By using a Cable Avoidance Tool, construction and utility workers can identify the presence and approximate location of buried cables and pipes, allowing them to dig or excavate with caution, avoiding accidental damage and ensuring the safety of underground infrastructure. It is essential to follow proper training and guidelines while operating a CAT to ensure accurate and reliable results.

Check out our list of Cable Avoidance Tool.

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