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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dig Safely, Utility Markers and MUUDS!

MUUDS are utility markers and is an acronym for Marking Underground Utility Depth System which is a patented METHOD, for identifying an underground utility.  Conceptually devising a method for this identification is significantly different from actually designing a device.

When we started, we had a simple basic premise as is defined in the patent.  An elongated rod that has a marked measurement on the side that extends down to a base and has in interior cord running through the center of the start.  The actual design of this kind of method can vary dramatically and in order to produce a product that would both meet the definition in the patent AND be functional in the field took some doing.

While our device in the end sounds simple and somewhat of a no-brainer, there are a number of patented devices that do NOT work.  Ours does, in large part because we did some exhaustive research in fine tuning the design.  We explored options, from different shapes of the rod as well as diameters, to a kit in which the marker is assembled in the field.  As we refined our design, we met with Dig Safe councils all across the State of New York to solicit their input and get their reactions.

We were provided with invaluable feedback that identified some of the drawbacks and potential problems with the device.  Our final design, addresses those problems and provides a marker that is economical, effective and easy to use.

In the end our goal is to provide a product that helps promote field safety for workers and utilities.  MUUDS markers promises to establish a uniform industry standard, nationwide, that protects underground utilities and the workers who uncover them, today and well into the future.

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