We pride ourselves on delivering Integrated solutions, combining the most innovative PA instruments on the market Gekko®, TOPAZ®, and Mantis™ with automated vehicles to help our customers solve industry problems in the safest and most efficient way possible. In 2019 we delivered the capability of performing automated phased array corrosion mapping inspection, which offers more than 10 times faster high-resolution data collection when compared to conventional methods on pressure vessels, storage tanks, ship hulls, and external pipelines.
One of the most common requests we receive is for the integration of ultrasonic scanning for wall thickness and corrosion mapping within pipelines. Several solutions exist for short distance UT or corrosion mapping, and we offer a number of these already through both our robotic crawler solutions. But as any inspector knows, corrosion doesn’t stop 30 meters (100 feet) inside a pipeline. To date, solutions have been limited to custom integrated systems with low volume, low turnaround time, high maintenance costs and higher prices. We took the opportunity to challenge the status quo.
In response to a project requiring the inspection of a 1-kilometer (0.6 miles) pipeline with a diameter ranging from 400 to 800 millimeters (15.2 to 31.5 inches), the VersaTrax™ long range pipe inspection crawlers immediately came to mind. VersaTrax P-Series (formerly known as the Versatrax 150™ and VersaTrax 300™) travelling up to 1 kilometer with the ability to conquer 2 kilometers or 1.2 miles in a single run. There was a caveat: the pipeline was vertical and therefore, the robot used needed to be able to travel 1,000 meters vertically without falling — navigating through a given number of bends or elbows across mandrel joins, flanges and raised circumferential weld cap. No problem for the VersaTrax Y-Series (formerly known as VT150 Vertical Crawler™), but there was more… The inspection requirements were a combination of visual inspection and UT thickness measurement of sections of pipe to confirm nominal wall loss. This equated to a remotely operated robotic crawler with UT scanner positioning up to one kilometer away from the pipeline entrance. When considering a solution like this, individually, it would take an unprecedented amount of man-hours and design work to start to draft such a project if we looked at this from the perspective of either an NDT UT tooling manufacturer or a robotic crawler manufacturer.
Eddyfi Technologies already specializes in both fields.
This cross-technology ability enabled our specialists to collaborate and produce a Beyond Current solution, the combination of the Y-Series with the dry coupled R-Scan UT probe, using the Swift™ as the acquisition device. In initial testing, the tether was mounted separately from the primary system, but future development will see the acquisition device boards mounted to the crawler and data returned to the controlling device. Primary tests were conclusive and proved that this solution could successfully answer client requirements. Following the initial lab, then field-based trials, it was clear that, within a short period, we remain agile and able to offer viable working solutions.
This is just one example of robotic integration taking NDT data acquisition capabilities further than ever before – we’re just getting started. Subscribe to our blog or check out our exclusive eBook on robotics for NDT data. With Eddyfi Technologies, you don’t need to worry about the future, as we’re already looking to solve the problems of tomorrow today. Contact us to discuss your specific requirements now.