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small inspection tool gives us a peek inside our pipes

1 min read | june 30, 2022

Pipers® are multi-sensor balls that allow inspectors to monitor difficult-to-access pipes. Ranging in size from a golf ball to a baseball, Pipers are screening tools that provide an inside look at how our pipes are faring.

  • Made by INGU Solutions, an inline inspection technology company, Pipers can be deployed in a pipeline to detect scale buildup, thinning walls, leaks and other issues.
  • “We can get a report from running a Piper that will let us quickly identify if a pipeline has suffered some issue. Then we can focus on the necessary investigation and maintenance.” said Vahid Ebrahimipour, a fixed equipment specialist who works with Pipers in Angola. “Pipers allow us to carry out faster pipeline health assessments at a much lower cost.”
INGU piper

how they work

Pipers are activated with a magnet supplied by INGU but do not require a team from the company to deploy. Our own staff either put a Piper inside a special inspection device or simply drop one into a pipeline to get to work.

As they move through the pipeline, Pipers measure elevation changes, wall thinning, pressure, acoustics, temperature and more. After a Piper completes its run, we remove it from the end of the pipeline. The data that the Piper has collected is extracted and uploaded to the cloud for analysis. Then we send the Piper back to INGU to be readied for use again.

Typically, inline inspection requires taking pipelines out of service. Pipers can be used in a pipeline that is still up and running, cutting down on the cost of having a pipeline out of service.

  • Pipers are also less expensive than a traditional inline inspection tool and faster. Results that once took three to five days with traditional inline inspection with Pipers can now be returned in a matter of hours.
  • Chevron has invested in INGU and holds a position on INGU’s board. This collaboration allows us to provide feedback regularly to help INGU tailor Pipers’ performance to our needs, such as making them usable in high-pressure pipes.

the catch

Pipers are not a replacement for traditional inline inspections and are not designed for all types of pipeline inspection. However, they offer a quick, low-cost way to assess pipeline health, particularly on difficult-to-inspect lines. This helps improve reliability by identifying potential problems before they occur.

Pipers is a federally registered trademark of INGU Solutions, Inc.

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