Versatile remote monitoring for cathodic protection systems

21st June 2021
Posted By : Lanna Deamer
Versatile remote monitoring for cathodic protection systems

Omniflex has released the iREF8 Cathodic Protection (CP) monitoring module to its PowerView cathodic protection range, also providing a convenient and cost-effective way of adding remote monitoring capabilities to existing CP systems without the need for a complete overhaul. The iREF8 has eight isolated inputs and can monitor reference half-cells and other inputs like Transformer/Rectifier (T/R) voltages and currents. Unlike previous systems, the iREF8 also provides the ability to read all reference electrodes in a CP system simultaneously.

Previously, CP systems cycled through the references taking readings sequentially. In an Instant Off test, this could require the system to be turned on and off multiple times while each reading was taken. Eventually, this can impact the polarisation of the structure being protected while the test is in progress.

“The new iREF8 module is a completely new design, allowing all the references in a PowerView CP system to be read at the same time,” explained David Celine, Managing Firector of Omniflex. “This means that, regardless of the size, the PowerView CP system only needs to be cycled on and off once to read all the references in an Instant Off test.

“The new PowerView iREF8 module has eight fully isolated inputs that can be used to read reference potentials from -3 to +3 volts DC with an accuracy of 0.2% and an input impedance of greater than 100Mohm. This versatile module can also monitor current shunts as low as 50mV and T/R voltages as high as 60V making this an ideal module for monitoring existing CP systems with minimal intervention. Each input has surge protection to protect the inputs to surges in excess of 60V.”

Traditionally, site managers have relied on physical site inspections, where engineers undertake time-consuming and costly surveys of CP systems that are often housed in hazardous or difficult-to-access locations, to tell them if their systems are working as intended. Because of the infrequent nature of this approach, asset managers are left for long periods of time hoping, rather than knowing, that their systems are working as intended and that structures are protected against corrosion.

“We regularly come across applications where one Transformer/Rectifier is connected to a series of anodes and no monitoring systems are in place, meaning operators cannot tell if the T/R is distributing current and voltage equally between them,” continued Celine. “The iREF8 module allows operators to monitor current and voltage distribution, providing peace of mind that all anodes are connected and working as intended.

With the world still suffering from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, site visits and manual system inspections cannot proceed as normal. Businesses that rely on these to check system status have struggled to gather operational data over the last year and are left hoping that nothing has gone wrong.

Remote monitoring is no longer just the most cost-effective way of gathering system data, it is now the only way to do so in many cases. If you’re a consultant working from home and you’re responsible for monitoring CP systems fitted with an iREF8 monitoring module, you can continue to monitor system performance 24/7, despite the disruption caused by the pandemic.

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