Sensor Technologies



Manage Wall Thinning of Tailings Pipelines:

The Challenge

Tailings pipelines experience significant wall thinning from the erosion and/or corrosion processes related to the transport of solids, liquids and gases. If not detected at an early stage, or prior to a scheduled maintenance change-out, this wall thinning often results in premature pipe failure.

Standard methods of non-destructive evaluation provide only sporadic measurements of wall thinning. On the other hand, using maintenance schedules based upon past history usually leads to overly conservative replacement intervals and higher operational costs.

Can a cost-effective sensor system be utilized to provide real-time monitoring of the pipeline wall thickness? Can a monitoring system notify appropriate personnel when the thickness has reached a pre-set threshold value with a built-in alarm system? Can such a system be used in a hostile environment and provide reliable data over a wide range of operational conditions? Can this system save on replacement costs and minimize the risk of premature pipe failure?

The Solution

FOX-TEK offers an engineered solution to address these concerns - FT fiber optic sensors. FT sensors are installed on tailings pipelines, generally in regions where severe corrosion/erosion are known to occur. Sensor configurations are available for monitoring areas 100 m or more in length, or for localized areas as small as 8 cm diameter. FOX-TEK software determines the wall thinning rate from sensor data collected with an FTI-series monitor. Real-time continuous monitoring or on-site periodic monitoring are options available to the user. The FOX-TEK software is configurable with pre-set wall thickness threshold values that, when reached, activate an e-mail alarm signal that is sent to various personnel.

Summary of Benefits

  • Longer, safer operational lifetime of tailings lines
  • Reduced operational downtimes
  • Establish effectiveness of inhibitors
  Cost Savings
  • Maintenance schedules based on real-time operational status of pipe
  • Reduced risk of pipe failure and clean-up costs
  • Alarm signals when pipe wall thickness has reached threshold value
  • Reduced risk to personnel due to premature pipe failure
  • Sensors are non-electrical and immune to EMI
  • Reduced risk of pipe failure and loss of tailings line contents
  • Reduced risk of contamination of environment by product spills