Sensor Technologies



Monitor Local Wall Thinning in Pipelines:

The Challenge

Local wall thinning frequently occurs in petroleum, or on chemical and mining facility pipelines because of internal corrosion and erosion. For liquid pipelines, the degraded regions are usually located by in-line inspection ( ILI) and, if required, are exposed by excavation and examined in detail by ultrasonic testing. For gas pipelines, direct assessment is used when ILI is not possible. If the affected regions are found to be thinner than safe operation permits, repairs are made, usually with a welded clamshell, clock-spring or composite sleeve. Valuable information about corrosion growth within the pipeline can be obtained by monitoring degraded areas adjacent to the repair that are within safe limits. Since most sites are remote and access to electrical power is not available, a compatible monitoring system is required.

Is there a cost-effective sensor system that can operate in a remote environment and monitor wall thinning? Is this system safe to use in a potentially flammable environment where leaks can occur? Is this system reliable and will the buried sensors function in the environment? Can the sensor system be accessed by periodic on-site measurements, or in a continuous mode at remote locations?

The Solution

FOX-TEK offers an engineered solution to address these concerns - FT fiber optic sensors. FT sensors are installed on corroded pipelines, adjacent to the sleeved regions where corrosion/erosion are likely to occur. Since the pipeline is already exposed for detailed examination, the added cost of installing the sensors in minimal. 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. Information on the specifications for the FT sensors and monitors can be found in the “Systems and Services” section of this site.

Summary of Benefits

  • Longer, safer operational lifetime of pipelines
  • Continuous tracking of pipeline health
  • 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 of premature pipe failure
  • Sensors are non-electrical and immune to EMI
  • Reduced risk of contamination of environment by product spills