Sensor Technologies



Measure Instability in Pump Station Foundations on Permafrost:

The Challenge

In northern climates, pipelines and pumping stations are often constructed in regions of permafrost. In such instances, the pumping stations are usually constructed on concrete slabs that are supported by steel piles driven deep into th e permafrost. Seasonal temperature changes can cause significant heaving of the permafrost that can lead to distortion of the slab and, as a result, misalignment or damage to pumping equipment.

Can a cost-effective sensor system be installed to monitor pump station foundation movements? Can this system detect deformations prior to the occurrence of damage to equipment? Does this system operate continuously, without interrupting product flow? Can data be sent from a remote location to a local control room?

The Solution

FOX-TEK offers ruggedized FT fiber optic sensors and remote monitors as an answer to all these questions. Ruggedized FT sensors contain one or more temperature compensated fiber optic sensors in double walled, waterproof polyethylene tube that is terminated on each end with a threaded fitting. The entire sensor can be embedded or each end can be fixed to an anchor point. For the foundation movement application, one end of the ruggedized sensor is fixed to the foundation slab and the other is fixed to a reference pile driven into the permafrost. For a more complete picture, additional sensors are used to detect relative motion between individual piles. Since the station has electrical power to drive the pumps, a sensor monitor equipped with a radio modem is installed to relay the sensor data to a local field office. Real-time continuous monitoring is now an option available to the pipeline operator. The FOX-TEK software is configurable with pre-set threshold values that, when reached, activate an e-mail alarm signal that is sent to various personnel.

Summary of Benefits

  • Real time integrity-based operation is possible
  Cost Savings
  • Fewer visits to remote sites required
  • Lower risk of incurring cleanup costs
  • Eliminate loss of product
  • Reduced risk of damage to pump station equipment
  • Sensor system is non-electrical
  • Safe for use in flammable environment
  • Reduced risk of pollution from equipment failures