Innvotek and Northumbrian Water Group will design a 'Smart Porcupine' to prevent sewage blockages

Innvotek and Northumbrian Water Group will design a ‘Smart Porcupine’ to prevent sewage blockages

As part of Digital Catapult’s Made Smarter Technology Accelerator, Innvotek and Northumbrian Water Group  will develop a cost-effective, unmanned monitoring system aimed at preventing environmental contamination due to sewer blockages and flooding.

This project will develop a low-cost, unmanned monitoring system to tackle the challenge of unflushables, such as wet-wipes, nappies and cotton-buds, and reduce sewer flooding and environmental contamination within the sewerage system. The integrated prototype ‘Smart Porcupine’ is a detection module, placed physically in the sewage stream with a wireless data connection to the company computer server.

Connected to a user software dashboard, the system will perform remote observation and tracking of potential blockages. After the blockage event is detected by the sensor, notification will be sent automatically to the server to alert the operator. The system will operate continuously and provide the company with data on the time and location of blockage events. The recent advent of low-cost microcontrollers, capable of advanced AI software and using very low power, guarantee cost-effective deployment of the prototype. For the water sector, the solution will be providing a unique, new and cost-effective offering that has never been tried before. The system will have applications in other manufacturing sectors, e.g. process industries, food and beverage, where anomaly detection in complex flow environments are important for quality and process control.

“Innvotek is excited to be working with Northumbrian Water and The Digital Catapult through the Made Smarter Technology Accelerator. We look forward to helping Northumbrian Water reduce the risk of sewer flooding through the deployment of our innovative smart sensor technology”, said Dr Michael Corsar, CTO for Innvotek.