Are your pipelines under threat of corrosion? Protect them with axial inspection

Did you know that in 2019, a little pipe elbow brought a 150-year-old refinery to its knees? And all because it was corroded. Failure to replace a 50-year-old corroded pipe elbow led to an explosion that endangered 117,000 lives, according to a US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) report, costing the company $750 million. The Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery was subsequently shuttered and the company filed for bankruptcy. Steve Owens, CSB interim executive authority, called it “a wake-up call to industry”.

Corrosion costs the global economy $2.5 trillion per year, says a European Commission report from 2013. The report calls it “a multi-industry problem – affecting everything from oil and gas pipelines to pharmaceutical manufacturing” and posing significant risks to health, safety, and the environment.

Jenny Lovell, Programme Manager for Innovation at the Royal Society of Chemistry, says that in the next quarter of a century, commitments to the UN sustainability goals could require industries to find ways of managing and preventing corrosion.

Why you should be worried about pipeline corrosion

Pipeline corrosion is essentially the deterioration of pipe material and its related system due to its interaction with the working. It can occur on both the inside and outside of any pipe that is exposed to corrosive elements.

There are different types of corrosion that can develop in pipelines.

Some examples are:

As we said earlier, corrosion, most often caused by neglect and poor maintenance, is an expensive problem to put right.

So how do you put it right?

Corrosion mapping is one of the best ways. A precise visual and sound inspection can identify segments in the pipeline that are damaged or under severe distress. Axial inspection scanners can be mounted on pipes and flat surfaces and are perhaps the most accurate and easy to use for fast detection of defects that range from lamination errors in the manufacturing process to reduction in wall thickness.

Blue Star E&E offers several types of scanners that are precise, accurate, and cost-effective for the detection of corrosion. Our ChainSCANNER for example offers a manual inspection for both ferromagnetic and non-ferromagnetic pipes ranging from 45mm to 965mm OD. Our Glider is a 2-axis scanner designed that is great for inspecting flat or slightly curved surfaces. The HydroFORM/RexoFORM is your answer to detecting if there are changes in wall thickness.

Our axial inspection techniques integrate various types of sensors and visual inspection tools to capture images and videos of the internal pipe surface and thereby offer an accurate and reliable method of detecting and monitoring corrosion in pipes.

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