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Inline Inspection (ILI)

Inline Inspection Pigging and Data Management Services for Pipeline Integrity


Geometric Defect Location Screenshot
Streamview Software Screenshot
Technicians Performing ILI

MISTRAS’ free swimming and tethered combination inspection tools and high-resolution sensors help to ensure cost-efficient pipeline integrity through pigging and precise data management.

After being in operation for years, many pipelines undergo damages that cannot be detected from the outside, but these damages must be diagnosed to prevent further damages, potential revenue loss, and environmental concerns. Even if a pipeline shows no signs of damage, governmental and pipeline industry regulatory bodies often require inspections after certain years of operations.

In addition to our expansive asset protection solutions for newly-constructed pipelines, we also excel in offering solutions to ensure pipeline integrity. Our innovative inline inspection (ILI) tools and software improve how clients obtain and review essential pipeline integrity data, and have helped energy companies save time and money while enhancing safety. Our ILI services help our clients prevent pipeline failures and reduce unnecessary digs.

Our systems identify and record all pertinent pipeline data, including:

  • Hardware
  • Girth Welds
  • Bends
  • Metal Loss Defects: including Internal and External Corrosion, Manufacturing Defects, Construction Damage, and Gouging
  • Pipeline-Specific Geometric Features: Ovality, Dents, Wall Thickness Changes, Buckling, Bulging, Wrinkles, and more
  • Pipeline Location: Precise GPS Pipeline Routing, Feature/Anomaly Location, and Pipeline Movement

Inline Inspection (ILI) Pigging Services

Inline inspections (ILI) evaluate pipelines internally for damages. MISTRAS performs ILIs using smart inspection tools called “pigs,” which move through a pipeline in free-swimming or tethered deployments. Smart pigs gather information on pipeline geometry, metal loss, bending, and cracking. After the inspection is completed, our pipeline integrity experts review and analyze ILI data with pipeline operators.

Inline inspection is a form of non-destructive testing (NDT), as pipelines are unaffected from the procedure. Free swimming and tethered inspections are used for different applications but produce the same quality results. Our inline inspection services (both free swimming and tethered) include:

  • New Construction Caliper
  • Stand-Alone Geometry
  • Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL) Metal Loss
  • Inertial Mapping Unit (IMU) for GPS
  • Combined Geometry, MFL, and IMU

Advanced Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL) Technology

Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL) is a reliable inline inspection (ILI) tool that is utilized across the pipeline industry, helping to ensure pipelines around the world can continue to operate safely and economically. The MFL inspection tool is launched in your pipelines to gather and process critical data on the health and fitness of pipelines. While many companies offer MFL inspections, MISTRAS’ experienced personnel know the key aspect isn’t just collecting high-resolution data but turning it into accurate, actionable information used to support integrity decisions increasing the productivity and safety of pipelines.

Our advanced neural network algorithms, software, and data processing capabilities offer significant benefits to pipeline operators to reliably identify, locate, and mitigate pipeline metal loss defects.

MFL Artificial Intelligence AI Neural Networking Algorithms

MISTRAS’ artificial intelligence (AI) approach to algorithms and software means that accurate data can be supplied quickly, enabling our customers to save valuable time and money all while helping to eliminate dangerous safety hazards.

Neurons in a neural network operate as cells in a brain - the more available cells, the more it can do. By increasing the number of neurons in a neural network, and through advances in intelligent machine learning, neural networks can be “trained” to correctly recognize and size thousands of real-life features that are cross-correlated to laser data. This training on laser data allows the neural network to experience Microbiologically Induced Corrosion (MIC), defects within defects, slab erosion, and a wide range of other challenging anomaly types.

Click to read MISTRAS’ exclusive cover page article, published in World Pipelines magazine, to find out how MISTRAS' MFL technology is an ideal choice for your pipeline inspection needs.

Free Swimming Inline Pipeline Inspection

Free swimming inline inspection (ILI) tools are implemented for pipelines that flow and have launch and receive facilities. The pig utilized is not attached to an anchored source and moves independently within the line, among the commodity being transported.

Our single combination inspection tool combines all necessary recording instruments into some of the shortest tools in the industry. With a compact yet effective design, only one run is necessary when collecting data during a free swim inspection. The Inertial Mapping Unit (IMU) supplies center-line mapping and 3-dimensional coordinates for features within a pipeline.

Another innovative aspect of our free-swimming inspection is the Intelligent Gauge tool. This device identifies, quantifies, and records any spots in the pipeline that could restrict an inline inspection tool.

Bi-Directional Tethered Inline Pipeline Inspection

Bi-directional tethered pigs are used for inline inspections (ILis) of pipelines that have no flow or lack launch and receive facilities, which are typically older generation pipelines. The tool is tethered to a nearby truck and enters and exits the pipeline at the same location.

Our technicians utilize a bi-directional Caliper tool, designed to inspect pipes that are incompatible with free swim techniques. The Caliper tool features on board transmitters and an Inertial Mapping Unit, which communicate with Above Ground Markers (AGM) and improve tool accuracy. High resolution calipers and odometers measure deformations within a pipeline and distance. Hall effect sensors provide a faster logging speed and increased accuracy for more precise data reporting.

By integrating multiple inspection and recording instruments into bi-directional combination tools, we can gather all relevant inspection data in a single run, compared to the multiple runs completed by multiple contractors that is common throughout the industry.

Wireline solutions are necessary for pipes with no launch facilities or have flow problems, but a multitude of other factors could qualify a pipeline for tethered inspection. Temperature limitations of the line and economic considerations could be responsible. Bends and un-passable tees that restrict free swimming tools may also determine the necessity of a tethered inspection.

Tethered Inspection Services:

  • Geometry
  • Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL) Metal Loss
  • Inertial Mapping Unit (IMU) for GPS
  • Combined Geometry (MFL) and (IMU)

With a fleet of wireline trucks and bi-directional combination MFL, Geometry, and IMU tools, MISTRAS is the North American leader in the provision of tethered inspection services.

Inline Inspection Data Management and Analytics

Once the pigging operations are complete, the highly-trained Data Analysis group takes over, analyzing the inspection data using proprietary algorithms within industry leading analysis software.

In addition to its core functionality of interpreting and reporting pipeline inspection data, the proprietary software is also capable of providing a number of other assessments. MISTRAS also provides the following assessment services:

  • Bending Strain Analysis
  • Pipeline Movement Assessment
  • Run-to-Run Comparison
  • Dent Strain Calculations
  • NDE Data Overlay and Unity Plot Generation

What's Next?

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