LineCat Inspection for Pipelines – Technology Overview, Benefits and Development
Pipelines though usually inert, pose many potential hazards if permitted to deteriorate. The pressure contained within can escape, cause blowouts, cracks can cause spills, environmental damage can ensue, lawsuits, media condemnation, personnel safety some of the problems which could arise from poorly kept pipelines and piping.
The use of regular NDT (Non Destructive Testing) methods might help ensure the safe operation of pipelines and supply extra intelligence on the is occurring in each the main pipeline, which may help to make more informed decisions and take more appropriate actions.
An illustration of this may be to perform a complete inspection in the first place, Coating Thickness Gauge the level of deterioration, identify at risk areas, then inspect the less urgent areas less regularly. For a pipeline it may not be financially possible to inspect the full pipeline at once, based on its length, nevertheless the principle can put on to smaller segments also.
One of the finest developments for pipeline inspection comes out of an Houston lab, with all the development of automated long term pipeline scanning, using LFET (Low Frequency Electromagnetic Testing) and UT (Ultrasonic Testing) technology.
The equipment was bore out of necessity, when a prominent petroleum company suffered a decrease of containment incident within the scenic and environmentally important North Slope of Alaska. The cause of the leaks came about by internal pitting corrosion on the bottom 1 / 2 of transit pipes (0.85m – 34 inch diameter). The pipeline was to blame for the transportation of 400,000 barrels of petroleum every day and immediately must be shut off.
Due on the risk of massive environmental disaster, press, environmental groups and jurisdictional authorities acted quickly. A Corrective Action Order (CAO) was issued and legally bound the corporation to perform UT inspection exclusively through the 4 to 8 o’clock sectors of all 11 miles of pipeline.
In practice this turned out to be incredibly slow, and barely feasible, with 108 UT technicians working round the clock, it was still estimated to take 184 days, as a result of various constraints. A case was presented to USDOT for that using alternative technologies. After tests were performed with EMAT (ElectroMagnetic Acoustic Transducer), and LFET, LFET was determined to function as considerably better technology and USDOT accepted the proposition for that using LFET.
Due to technology already underway for deep water testing of an similar nature, a fast modified rig was come up with for that automated scanning using RFET and UT. The rig proved effective and saved technicians from potentially hazardous height, challenging to reach areas over water, and exposure.
The rig has been progressed into the LineCat, for automated pipeline scanning, and is also still one of the most effective solutions for pipeline inspection.