|Ultrasonic tool pinpoints risk areas as pressure mounts for better pipeline maintenance
Houston, Texas, May 2, 2011 CorDEX Instruments today launched a new ultrasonic tool for detecting corrosion in pipelines which for the first time provides the ability to build a predictive maintenance program to improve safety.
CorDEX unveiled the dynamic handheld UT5000 at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston. The intrinsically safe tool for non-destructive testing has the ability to rapidly measure metal thickness to establish the extent of corrosion and is combined with intelligent data tracking.
The UT5000 with CorDEX CONNECT uses RFID technology to locate and log up to 1,000 measurements, each linked to a specific location, date and time. It can be used for days or weeks in the field before the data is downloaded, providing accurate corrosion analysis and helping to predict potential failures. A unique corrosion mode helps identify thinning spots and MultiECHO technology improves measurement accuracy on uneven surfaces.
The tool has been developed in response to integrity issues, particularly in ageing pipelines which can run for thousands of miles. Calls have been made recently for an increase in fines following tragic pipeline incidents in the US where defective welds and poor testing and record keeping have been blamed.
Marcus Halliday, CorDEX Instruments Director said: More than 2.5 million miles of pipeline deliver oil and gas to communities and businesses around the US alone. Multiply that many times around the world and it is clear that pipeline maintenance programs based on solid information can save companies millions of dollars and avert dangerous failures. The UT5000 can safely and rapidly measure any corrosion and with its smart RFID technology, can build the robust report required to identify and trend developing trouble spots.
CorDEX Instruments is a UK based specialist in intrinsically safe and explosion-proof instruments for Non Destructive Testing (NDT) and inspection.
The company has developed CorDEX CONNECT a software programme which can be downloaded to any PC which collects and organises the data obtained on site, ultimately giving the inspector a detailed account of the condition of the pipeline at any specific location.
Mr Halliday added: Only comprehensive testing and good maintenance can ensure these vast ageing infrastructures are fit for purpose. For the first time, UT5000 provides the combination of intrinsic safety, location tagging, measurement accuracy and analysis capabilities to build a comprehensive predictive maintenance report to reduce risk.
Last month US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood launched a national pipeline safety initiative following fatal incidents involving ageing pipelines. Government officials and industry leaders gathered on April 18 to discuss steps for improving safety of pipeline infrastructure. Secretary LaHood is calling on Congress to increase the maximum civil penalties for pipeline violations from $100,000 per day to $250,000 per day, and from $1 million for a series of violations to $2.5 million.
More than 2.5 million miles of pipelines are responsible for delivering oil and gas to communities and businesses across the United States. Currently, these pipelines are operated by approximately 3,000 companies and fall under the safety regulations of the U.S. Department of Transportations Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).
The intrinsically safe tool can also be used offshore without obtaining hot work permits, so will be also be ideal for ageing assets in the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico where many structures are now past their original design life
About the UT5000
- The UT5000 is tested for Zone 1 IIC T4 hazardous areas, so no hot work permit is required.
- Designed for rugged environments, an over-moulded body protects a 3.1" RGB TFT colour screen with backlight. The dual-element, 4MHz transducer is adjustable up to 10Hz with accuracy of +/- 0.05mm.
- UT5000 accuracy is +/- 0.05mm, in both single point and continuous measurement mode, delivering unprecedented accuracy and flexibility to classified area NDT inspectors.
- The tester features both single point and corrosion modes, allowing the user to identify specific points of thinning in a pipe wall.
- Large, well-spaced buttons allow users ease of operation, even when wearing gloves.
- The UT5000 is available through distributors worldwide. Additional accessories, including extra transducers, software and RFID tags, are also available.
About CorDEX Connect
CorDEX CONNECT is the first system to integrate RFID technology, reporting software and a handheld intrinsically safe tester to enable predictive maintenance for pipelines and fixed equipment in hazardous areas.
The UT5000 Ultrasonic Tester with CorDEX CONNECT uses RFID to tag every thickness measurement with a specific location, date and time. A proprietary software programme then collects and organizes the data, giving engineers a comprehensive view of the pipeline at any specific location.
With CorDEX CONNECT, those responsible for monitoring pipeline safety can use data collected by anyone in the field to create predictive maintenance programs. Using CorDEX CONNECT trend analysis capabilities, trouble spots can be identified from measurements taken over multiple visits.
Users can easily create printable charts and graphs, such as thickness over time. Data also can be exported to Microsoft Excel or into a .csv file.
CorDEX CONNECT senses when the tester may be out of calibration, alerting the user to suspect readings. When the tool is sent for calibration, real-time tracking allows the user to track its transport and calibration status.