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Intelligent Pig Inspection


Intelligent pigs are used to provide information about the condition of a pipeline and can be used to locate problem areas. Intelligent pigs are either ‘free flowing’ pigs, that are propelled by the fluid and are totally self-contained (onboard power, data collection, etc.), or they are tethered (or cable) pigs, that are connected to a power supply and/or data acquisition equipment via a cable. The latter can either be driven by motors, or pumped through the pipeline and are particularly useful for ‘unpiggable’ lines such as loading lines.

There are many types of intelligent pig that can perform a multitude of different tasks, including:
  • · geometry measurement
  • · metal-loss detection
  • · leak detection
  • · pipeline profiling and mapping
  • · temperature and pressure recording
  • · bend measurement and curvature monitoring
  • · product sampling
  • · photographic inspection
  • · wax deposit measurement
  • · crack detection
The most common intelligent pigs used for ‘integrity’ monitoring are for geometry measurement and
metal-loss detection, with an increasing use of pigs that can detect cracks, and pigs that can map
pipeline co-ordinates.
 
Metal-loss detection pigs are used to detect defects that have resulted in wall thinning in the pipeline
and can discriminate to some extent between manufacturing defects and corrosion defects. There are
two main types of metal-loss pigs: magnetic flux leakage and ultrasonic. 

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