The reported total costs in 2020 because of incidents in oil and gas pipelines in the United States was 339.72 million USD! And there were as many as 578 incidents that resulted in injury or loss of life, release of liquids, fires, and explosions, as well as any other type of damage requiring repair work in 2020.
A modern NDT inspection method such as 3D scanning can help inspect pipelines without sacrificing accuracy, safety, or integrity, especially in those factory facilities where toxic gases and explosive substances restrict measurement work, thus reducing the costs of potential incidents. Three-dimensional scanning is simple, fast, non-contact, and suitable for most types of inspections, which is why several factories around the world are using this reliable and safe technique.
Here are some of the reasons why companies use 3D scanning for pipeline inspection.
Manual inspecting techniques are dependent on the technician’s skills. There are cases when technicians have to lie on the ground, in the mud, under the pipe, suspended in the air, or on scaffolding just to take measurements. The tough conditions often impact the quality and accuracy of the measurements taken. 3D scanners are hand-held devices with no external positioning system, arms, or fixtures, which means the technician just needs to point and shoot. This tends to eliminate potential human errors.
Traditional inspection methods involve time-consuming tool setups and measurements that can take hours or even days, especially for long pipes. Additionally, after collecting the data, extra time is required to evaluate the measurements on-site and send them to off-site engineers for analysis. In contrast, 3D scanners can capture and evaluate all damaged sections simultaneously. The data can be processed and analyzed, allowing inspectors to make informed decisions faster.
3D scanners offer 3D visualisation through their use of advanced laser or optical technology to capture detailed data of a pipeline’s physical condition. This is done by collecting and processing millions of data points and using them to create a detailed digital twin of the object, enabling inspectors to effectively identify defects, corrosion, cracks, and other abnormalities.
The latest generation of 3D scanners does not even require contact with the physical object being captured. 3D scanners can be used to capture complete or partial 3D measurements of any physical object. They can capture rapidly capture large amounts of inside data from the outside of the pipeline without causing any damage, eliminating the need for dismantling the pipeline, which makes the process efficient and saves time and money.
3D scanners can be used for long-term pipeline monitoring. Engineers can conduct regular inspections and compare collected data over time, which helps them detect progressive defects or changes in the pipeline’s condition, measure corrosion rates, and perform predictive analytics. This makes proactive maintenance possible and helps ensure the reliability and safety of the pipeline infrastructure.
3D scanners are the way to go for pipeline inspection to save time and money, improve efficiency, enhance safety, support long-term monitoring, and facilitate advanced data analysis, which in the long run contribute to increased pipeline inspection efficiency, reliability, and safety.
Blue Star E&E has a range of point-and-shoot 3D scanners that can help you effortlessly capture the 3D shape of any object including complex, freeform, and organic surfaces, in colour with rich and detailed textures. The Go!SCAN 3D, for example, scans typical objects in 5 minutes or less. Our HandySCAN 3D, a metrology-grade portable 3D scanner, is the fastest portable 3D laser scanner in the market, offering the highest measurement rate with consistent and repeatable results, while our optical MetraSCAN3D increases the reliability, speed, and versatility of the measurement process. Give us a call to understand what could work best for you.