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Detection of Cracks in Difficult-to-Inspect Pipelines Now Possible with Robotic Technology

Intero Integrity Services announces the commercialization of a new service offering that will help pipeline owners and operators inspect unpiggable pipelines and mitigate risks. For over twelve years, Intero has been inspecting unpiggable pipelines with Pipe Explorer, developed in 2012 in cooperation with NYSEARCH, robotic in-line inspection robots to reveal imminent threats, including internal and external corrosions, mechanical damages, and other threats. Beginning immediately, Intero is rolling out a new service offering that will assess long seam welds in pipelines for cracks and crack-like features on or near the long seam weld.

Since 2016, Intero has identified the need to inspect crack-like features in long seam welds. Following years of development and rigorous testing, a state-of-the-art circumferential magnetic flux leakage sensor was developed and integrated onto the Pipe Explorer robotic in-line inspection robots to assess long seam welds for threats in unpiggable pipelines that were previously unaddressed.

Requiring minimal excavation and with the ability to assess under live conditions, this robotic technology can help operators address pipelines that are unpiggable due to difficult obstructions such as bends, valves, vertical sections, and other constraints as well as pipelines with pressure levels below what is needed to propel traditional smart pig technologies. Further, the robotic platform travels long distances from one excavation and does not require a tether for power or communication. The accuracy of the integrated sensor is equivalent to that of current sensing provided with traditional in-line inspection tools.

Beginning immediately, long seam weld assessment services in unpiggable pipelines are available first on the Explorer 16/18, which inspects 16- and 18-inch pipelines, to be soon followed by the Explorer 20/26 which inspects 20-, 22-, 24-, and 26-inch pipelines. Again, the industry's focus on enhancing safety measures was paramount in the effort to develop this service offering.

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