Inspection of the structural integrity of pipelines is a key part of preventing spillages and planning preventive maintenance. Although currently available inspection devices (commonly known as “pigs”) can provide good data quality, they can get stuck inside the pipeline causing blockages. As such, this activates a time consuming and costly unscheduled intervention to recover the apparatus and have the line back to operations.
BlueThink was asked to design a device capable of delivering the necessary quality of information while ensuring it wouldn’t get stuck in the pipeline.
By combining an existing technology, a skillful team of engineers and a structured yet creative approach, BlueThink was able to deliver a highly functioning prototype with evidence of its excellent performance in a very short timeframe.
The solution was a system that contains a superconducting electromagnet instead of a permanent magnet, and flexible components able to dissolve through an extended contact with hydrocarbons instead of rigid metallic structures. The high-resolution sensing system was transferred and re-engineered from NDT of metallic cable through a Technology Scouting project. BlueThink designed, prototyped, lab and field-tested all sub-systems and integrated system, reaching optimal detection properties (patent US2014312890).