Pipeline operators have been using intelligent in-line inspection (ILI) tools as part of their pipeline integrity management systems for several decades now. A wide variety of ILI tools have been developed to serve a multitude of uses. Most notable is the detection, locating, and sizing of metal loss corrosion. Magnetic Flux Leakage Technology (MFL) was developed for that exact purpose, however over the years technology and innovation has vastly improved the capabilities of MFL tools.
This paper contains a comparison of historical and current pipeline feature identification/classification capabilities for axial magnetizing MFL tools with Tri-Axial sensor technology. The pipeline features discussed include corrosion, mechanical defects, structural pipeline components, as well as the physical and magnetic parameters that affect accurate identification, location, and/or sizing. Some of these features have never been detected, identified, or reported in the past, and now constitute a significant portion of the training and testing procedure that occurs in the certification of a new MFL data analyst.