October 2015 Vol. 70 No. 10



At a time when profit margins are shrinking, it is important for contractors to complete utility installations quickly and safely, without damaging existing utilities. Contractors need to expose existing utilities before they start digging, and that can be time-consuming. One Call paint marks have an area of tolerance, and that range varies by state. Some states may allow up to 36 inches on either side of the mark — which is a large window to find a small cable or pipe — and that hurts production time.

McLaughlin carries a full line of multiple frequency locators“I was on a jobsite a few weeks ago and the contractor spent six hours looking for an electric line,” explained Matt Manning, product manager – electronics, at McLaughlin. “The crew dug 4 feet down on the mark. They didn’t see the utility line, so they started searching to the left and the right of the locate mark. By the end of the day, they had created a small trench that had to be filled before they left for the evening. When I arrived the next morning, we spent 30 minutes confirming the utility location with a locator. The electric line was 5 feet deep and the paint mark was 1 foot off, which was within the tolerance range. The contractor lost six hours of production on that job.”

McLaughlin Utility Locators
McLaughlin carries a full line of multiple frequency locators, which give visual, audible, depth and current measurement index data to confirm a utility’s location.

The McLauglin G2 provides depth information and current measurement index between actual utilities and the bleed over, the unwanted signal on other utilities. It has good induction capabilities and can confirm a majority of the painted utilities inductively, which is a quick way to verify the locate mark and get a depth estimate. The G2 can also passively locate, direct-connect or clamp onto other utilities to confirm their locations.

The McLaughlin GX is designed for excavation and utility contractors who must locate existing lines on their own. The GX offers more frequencies and a more powerful transmitter than the G2 for applications requiring extra wattage; for example, when utilities are deeper than normal or the GX is required to push the signal a greater distance.

The GX is ideal for operators locating on a daily basis, like those for cable, electric, gas and water companies. A sub-surface utility engineering company, which is hired to map the facilities in advance so the owner knows what needs to be changed or moved, can also benefit from the GX.

The G2 and GX locators both have GPS mapping capabilities. This allows contractors to document the location, type and depth of the utility, which can easily be referenced for future projects.

The McLaughlin Vision FLX has advanced capabilities to find the point of damage in underground utilities. The FLX is designed for power, telephone and cable companies, and subcontractors who are frequently called to repair disruptions in customer service. The FLX can quickly pinpoint the issue so the line can be excavated and repaired.

The antennas on McLaughlin locators are mounted in rubber isolators for added durability. Because the antennas cannot move around, they provide more left to right locating accuracy and do not need to be recalibrated.

Given the locator technologies available today, it’s surprising that some contractors still rely solely on One Call marks for utility locates.

“There’s a misunderstanding in the market that if a contractor owns a utility locator, they are taking on additional liability,” said Manning. “But that’s incorrect. As long as the contractor follows the state’s One Call laws, having a utility locator does not add any liability. The locator will only help increase production and reduce the risk of damages.”

To learn more about McLaughlin and its locator product line, visit mclaughlinunderground.com.

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