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NDT.net Issue - 2011-12 - NEWS
NDT.net Issue: 2011-12
Publication: e-Journal of Nondestructive Testing (NDT) ISSN 1435-4934 (NDT.net Journal)

MagBug proves a flexible inspection tool in the Swiss nuclear field

Phoenix Inspection Systems Ltd69, Warrington, United Kingdom

A new magnetic wheeled buggy from Phoenix Inspection Systems is providing a fast and flexible way for operators to inspect pipework at the nuclear plant in Mühleberg, Switzerland.

BKW FMB Energy Ltd, which operates the plant, commissioned Phoenix to produce a scanning system suitable for operation on straight pipes and around pipe elbows over the full range of steel pipework.

At the core of the new system is the MagBug, a motorised buggy originally developed by Phoenix for blade root inspection of generator turbine disks. The MagBug module is one-directional and has been supplemented with additional modules to provide both axial and circumferential movement.

While the MagBug drives the scanner along the pipe, a ring attached to it allows scans to be carried out around the pipe, providing 360 degree surface coverage. Due to access limitations, the profile has been minimised to allow it to operate in areas with clearance of just 80mm. The pipe and elbow scanner can be used on ferritic pipework ranging from 4 to 20 nominal bore and with bend radii down to one and a half times the pipe diameter.

Dr Neil Hankinson, project manager at Phoenix, said: BKW required an automated scanner for use in a variety of places and on a wide range of pipework sizes. With so many configurations it is not possible to specify all the pipe orientations or the obstructions they may come across. As such they required a modular scanner kit that gave them the flexibility to meet the range of demands they could encounter. The MagBug is a compact, versatile tool which can be used on a range of geometry that might otherwise require multiple scanners.

BKW is one of the major Swiss energy companies integrated in the European grid. In its home sales area, covering North Western Switzerland from the Alps to the French border, it supplies electricity to a million people. The company also has operations in France, Germany and Italy.

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