- Case Study
Covert drilling system
- Low-noise, water-cooled drilling system used in hostage situations
- Pumpheads must be compact, reliable and offer low-flow capability
- First post-development systems already sold
- OEM pumpheads from Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Solutions help cool covertdrilling system
With security threats worldwide driving innovation in the surveillance industry, Gloucester-based RVA Synergies Ltd has incorporated Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Solutions’s (WMFTS) 102R series peristaltic OEM pumpheads into low-noise drilling system.
RVA’s drilling systems have been recently developed primarily for use in hostage and covert surveillance situations. The pumpheads ensure the supply of cooling water to the diamond core drill as it generates holes, almost silently, through hard wall materials such as concrete. WMFTS’s 102 series was selected because it is particularly quiet, compact and reliable.
Gloucester-based RVA Synergies Ltd is a small, successful business formed in 2011 that offers specialist equipment for use in industrial and security applications. For the latter, customers include police and security forces around the world, as well as many government organisations involved in special search and surveillance operations.
“We needed to develop a pump capable of working with a low noise, battery-powered drilling system which could make holes in walls, either to gain covert viewing access or insert a microphone for sound surveillance,” explains Terry Winnan, Director at RVA Synergies. “In hostage situations for example, it is difficult to implement a recovery plan without knowing the details of the captivity situation.”
Mr Winnan has considerable experience of pump technology having worked at WMFTS for 10 years in a previous role; his father Paul also worked as a design engineer for WMFTS for 45 years.
“I knew how to make a universal pump for commercial applications, which is what I did,” he says. “Over the course of the past 2-3 years we have evolved that design into a pump suitable for use on our new low-noise drilling system, the FOX-1.”
The FOX-1 relies on a 102R low-flow OEM pumphead from WMFTS, which combines ease of use with reliability, even when operating in close proximity to abrasive concrete dust. The pumphead accepts, without adjustment, WMFTS tubing from 0.5 to 4.8 mm internal diameter (with 1.6 mm wall thickness). It has a spring-loaded, two-roller rotor and is suitable for continuous use up to 65 rpm, providing flow rates up to 106 ml/min (intermittent use up to 130 rpm gives flow rates up to 212 ml/min).
“The pumphead feeds cooling water to the high torque 10mm diameter diamond core drill at low flow [10-30 ml/min] and high pressure,” states Mr Winnan. “A specially designed water collector creates a 'closed circuit' system resulting in practically no mess.”
The FOX-1 drill rotates at around 30-40 rpm; purposely slow to generate a hole in a concrete wall at near-silent noise levels. As it is impractical to expect someone to stand there for what could potentially be hours supporting and guiding the drill, the FOX-1 system comes with an innovative support and feed system. In effect, this provides some automation which means a precision bore and a safer, more discrete operation. All the while, low-flow cooling is being provided by the pump.
The WMFTS 102R pumphead may be driven in either direction; clockwise rotation will give longer tube life and is the direction preferred by RVA (the company uses WMFTS’s Pumpsil platinum-cured silicone tubing with 4.8 mm internal diameter).
WMFTS’s 102R is available with a choice of track material and rotor springs, and is suitable for either a 6 or 8mm drive shaft if mounted on the user's own drive (6 mm in the FOX-1 application). All 102R pumpheads have a choice of mounting points and a shatterproof clear polycarbonate guard, which is hinged to allow easy access for tube changing.
“There are only two rollers in the 102R, which means it is particularly quiet in operation – a very important factor for the FOX-1,” says Mr Winnan. “Further benefits include its compact dimensions, low-flow capability and reliability with abrasive concrete dust. We also like its simplicity and features such as the transparent guard. It might sound silly, but policemen and security personnel are not typically engineers, and for peace-of-mind they like to see the rotor moving, and which way to insert the tubing.”
Although RVA has only recently concluded its development of the system, a number of FOX-1 kits have already been sold worldwide. The company will now begin promoting the system at exhibitions around the world.
“To keep up with the changing threats we face in the world today, surveillance equipment must continue to evolve, and the FOX-1 low-noise drill represents a significant improvement for this type of security operation” concludes Mr Winnan.
RVA Synergies also uses the same 102R pumphead as part of groundwater sampling pumps sold to various customers in the commercial sector.