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Creaform: New features, improved capability, faster analysis and reporting pipeline inspection software now capable of assessing full pipe joints

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World Pipelines,

3D scanning has already proven its reliability for pipeline inspection. The oil and gas industry already sees this technology as one of the safest non-destructive testing (NDT) solutions for corrosion assessment. Many pipeline owners are now asking service companies to use an NDT 3D technology solution to perform pipeline inspections and ensure that their integrity assessments are completed in the shortest time possible to minimize the period in which the pipeline has to be backfilled.

A NDT 3D technology solution consists of a 3D scanner and NDT software. 3D scanners are considered to be the most accurate devices for measuring in unstable environments, such as excavation sites. They are also easy to use regardless of the NDT technician’s expertise and experience. In addition to the benefits of using metrology-grade scanners, NDT software supplies on-site inspection, detection, and characterisation of pipe defects. The combination of both hardware and software produce accurate and repeatable results, which are traceable for future pipeline integrity analysis.

Until very recently, pipeline inspection software was only able to acquire inspection data for pipelines up to 10 ft. This constraint meant that it was not possible to inspect a full pipe joint measuring up to 60 ft (or 18 meters). Until now, only some service companies had the capability to assess a full pipe joint because of a different technology that they own and use. Therefore, they were the only ones that could apply for pipeline maintenance contracts of full pipe joints.

Other service companies have shown interest in greater capability; they want to be able to apply for all maintenance contracts, regardless of the length of the pipeline. Pipeline owners also want to have the possibility of requiring inspections to be conducted with 3D technology, regardless of the length of the pipeline.

Requests have been heard. Requirements have been answered. New features are available. Now, a new NDT software solution offers the capability to scan and assess a full pipe joint of 60 ft long. Therefore, there is no more limit to acquiring surface data.

Not only has the scanning capacity increased to 60 ft, but also the speed of analysis and reporting is clearly faster.

How was it possible to increase the scanning capacity while reducing the time for analysis and reporting? How does integrity assessment software deal with this countless flow of inspection data? How does NDT software solutions adapt to users’ specific requirements and constraints?

Software development teams have worked hard on reducing waste time and improving processing time. Indeed, time is paramount for the field crews in charge of completing pipeline inspections and ensuring their integrity assessments. They are under a lot of pressure to backfill the excavation sites.

Time Savings during 3 Inspection Stages

Data Acquisition

Inspecting a full pipe joint requires scanning a 60-ft distance, which necessarily takes time. How could the scanning time be improved? By using more than one scanner simultaneously. For instance, if a team of three people uses three scanners to scan the pipe at the same time, the data acquisition will be three times faster. Thus, this multiple scanner capability allows for parallel capture and faster acquisition.

Data Analysis

Inspecting a full pipe joint means that a lot of data must be analysed. In comparison, integrity assessment software now needs to analyse 6 times more data than when the capacity was limited to 10 ft. Proposing that field crews wait for countless hours during data analysis is simply unacceptable. Thanks to a series of tests combined with hard work, engineers have managed to optimise analysis time, reduce waste time, and eliminate lags. Thus, although there is now 6 times more data to analyse, the analysis is done faster than before.

Report Generation

Time savings does not stop there. Report generation is the ultimate stage of the pipeline integrity assessment. Again, it is unacceptable that inspecting a full pipe joint requires countless hours simply to get the report. Once more, NDT product development teams have been listening to their users. The report is now obtained faster than before.


Optional B31G Code Compliance

Widely used in North America, NDT integrity assessment software is B31G code compliant. However, international customers do not have to fulfill these requirements and be B31G compliant. Now, NDT software offers the possibility to be compliant or not. Indeed, a new feature will enable clients serving international markets, outside of North America, to subtract this standard from their report. Moreover, the possibility to be B31G compliant or not is offered for other parts, such as pressure vessels and storage tanks.

Pipe Rotation Along Its Lengthwise Axis

Previously, pipe inspection software offered a 3D view that could be moved on 3 axes of rotation, which was superfluous to visualising pipe defects. Indeed, only the rotation on the longitudinal axis of the pipe is relevant, making it easier to visualise corrosion and mechanical damages in 3D. With the new feature, and at the request of customers, the pipe can rotate only on its longitudinal axis.

3D technology is available to service companies who want to inspect full pipe joints. Now, NDT software offers the capability to assess up to 60-ft pipelines thus opening up contract opportunities that a few service companies previously had access to. While the inspection length has been increased, the time required for data acquisition and analysis has been reduced.

On the one hand, data acquisition can be done as quickly as the number of scanners used, allowing simultaneous capture and reducing the time required to scan the complete pipeline. On the other hand, integrity assessment software optimises data analysis and report generation so that diagnosis results are quickly accessible, resulting in the ability to quickly backfill excavation sites.

Not to mention that scanning data are repeatable, and results are the same regardless of the user’s skills and expertise. A scanner is a tool, not an inspection technique, which does not require a certification. The measurement is not only independent of the user, but also to environment instabilities, a significant parameter for pipeline inspections in the oil and gas industry.

This innovation was made possible thanks to customers’ requests and a particular attention to their needs. Product development teams have been dedicated to meeting these demands in order to satisfy customers of today and tomorrow.

Author: Creaform

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Crude oil pipeline news Natural gas pipeline news Onshore pipeline news