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Shawcor: End-to-end pipeline coating implementation

World Pipelines,

It is not uncommon for the global pipeline construction industry to obtain protective coatings, for any particular project, from a variety of different suppliers. The mainline pipe coatings are typically procured from a factory or mill, while the field-applied coatings used on the girth weld joint areas are either selected from a list of approved materials issued by the pipeline owner, or in other cases, nominated by the construction contractor based on their own experience. When pipeline coating selection is allowed to progress through the aforementioned segregated channels, technical questions of compatibility and performance between the mainline and field-applied coatings naturally arise and can create uncertainty. Today, due to increased scrutiny on asset integrity and cost for new pipeline projects, as well as a better technical awareness of the available coating options and their associated performance characteristics, pipeline owners are empowered to consider the use of end-to-end pipeline coating systems.

IntelliCOAT™. Automating field joint coating operations

End-to-end refers to the implementation of an entire protective coating system designed with the same material types, matching performance and full compatibility using a combination of both factory-applied and field-applied coating processes from a common manufacturer. This approach is that of Shawcor, Pipeline Performance Group, where mainline coatings and field-joint coatings are developed, tested and deployed mutually - providing consistent performance across the entire length of the pipeline with no weak links at the field-joint. IntelliCOAT automation technology is a proven example of an end-to-end solution developed for field-applied coating installation.

IntelliCOAT™ control screen

What does IntelliCOAT™ deliver to pipeline projects?

IntelliCOAT™ is the world’s first fully automated system to control the application of heat-shrinkable sleeves. The field-friendly system provides a step-change enhancement in the quality, consistency, productivity, and safety of field-applied coatings by means of automation. The technology can even retain a permanent record of installation and quality assurance data for every coated joint. The data is linked to the field joint number and GPS location, and can be accessed in real-time through a cloud-based web interface.

IntelliCOAT is easily adaptable for an onshore pipeline right-of-way, spool base coating line or offshore construction pipe lay vessel. The patent protected system consists of a PLC-equipped control panel and a clamshell style infrared heating coil connected by rugged ‘plug-and-play’ umbilical cables. One control panel can operate a range of standardised heating coil sizes to suit pipeline diameters from 4 - 56 in. (with custom sizes available to meet project specific needs).

The IntelliCOAT™ benefits are distinct and proven:


IntelliCOAT™ automates best practice installation techniques to produce high quality field joint coating applications that are fully repeatable from joint to joint. Installation programs are developed to meet specific project needs and can be qualified through comprehensive test programs before implementation for all coating requirements during pipeline construction.

The technology can be set to retain a permanent digital record of installation data for every field joint, providing full digital traceability of the coating process. The installation and quality assurance data is correlated to the field joint number and geographical position using GPS and can be accessed in real time through a cloud based web interface.

Successful IntelliCOAT™application in Western Canada


The IntelliCOAT™ application process is precisely controlled by a PLC-based control system with closed-loop feedback control. Once the application program is qualified, operators simply lower the IntelliCOAT™ coil onto the pre-positioned sleeve, and the system takes care of the rest, minimizing all possible sources of variation.


Using IntelliCOAT™, a contractor can precisely forecast the daily field joint coating productivity, without reliance on operators to conduct any labour-intensive work steps. The application time per joint is pre-set at the qualification stage so production can proceed on schedule.


The IntelliCOAT™ system delivers enhanced operator safety through its enclosed heating design and rapid heat up and cool down times. IntelliCOAT™ eliminates the need for gas storage facilities and the open flames associated with conventional field joint coating application methods.

Production line operation of IntelliCOAT™


IntelliCOAT™ is suitably equipped for operation in the harshest of environments with proven performance in projects with ambient temperatures ranging from below -30 ºC to +55 ºC, and can withstand rugged handling associated with various construction methods.

Pipelines today are being constructed in more remote areas, in harsher operating environments, at greater depths and with higher fluid temperatures, all under increased regulatory and public scrutiny. Today’s pipelines require seamless coating solutions along their entire length, with no compromise at the field joints. Combined with our industry leading heat shrinkable sleeves, IntelliCOAT delivers a perfect installation, every time, for a seamless coating along the entire length of pipe. The technology is available for immediate use, and is up to the challenge.

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