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 experience issues that cannot be detected from the outside, but these 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 lines, we also excel in offering solutions to ensure pipeline integrity. Our next-generation inline inspection (ILI) tools and software improve how clients obtain and review essential pipeline integrity data and have helped top energy companies save time and money while enhancing safety.
Our systems identify and record all pertinent pipeline data, including:
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.
MISTRAS completely handles the inspection, from providing and executing the pigging process, to managing and analyzing the data. 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 types of pipes but produce the same quality results. Our inline inspection services (both free swimming and tethered) include:
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 that the key aspect isn’t just collecting high-resolution data but turning it into accurate, actionable information used to support integrity decisions, that increase the productivity and safety of pipelines.
Click to read more about MFL along with its Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities in an exclusive cover story published in World Pipelines magazine.
While MFL technology is a proven, state-of-the-art pipeline inspection tool, the innovation doesn’t stop there. This advanced method is also used to detect and size smaller features such as pinholes or illegal taps. Pinhole corrosion defects can be difficult to detect and size for Inline Inspection (ILI) techniques, as well as for Non-Destructive Examination (NDE). A pinhole metal loss defect can randomly occur on the exterior of pipelines where coatings have failed but are often found originating from the inner pipe wall. When it comes to an Inline Inspection, high-resolution MFL techniques detect all sorts of pinholes, even those that are very small.
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 the shortest body 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. Our free-swimming tools have successfully inspected lines up to 300 miles in length.
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.
The pig utilized in tethered inspections is called the 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.
Our bi-directional tethered inspection tools have inspected a daily average of 3,000 meters with an all-time high of 6,000 meters in a single day, and its advanced services include:
Inline Inspection Data Management and Analytics
Once the pigging is complete, our work does not stop there. MISTRAS’ data analysis teams analyze data from the inspection tools’ tri-axial sensors and geometry functions using proprietary algorithms within purpose-developed data management software.
The inspection software was designed with operators in mind and serves as a second set of “eyes” within a pipeline. It performs bending strain analysis, run-to-run comparison, and real time dent strain circulation. Defect visibility is enhanced, as it displays and analyzes the whole line in both directions. It has easy identification of the turnaround point and can reload and flip the run. The software also aligns data and demonstrates faster reporting. It is designed to accommodate larger diameter tools and works compatibly with all our free swimming and tethered pigs.
Once the findings are reviewed, MISTRAS’ pipeline integrity experts work with our clients to plot the course for remedial action.
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