Applying an Industry 4.0 philosophy to pipeline integrity, the future beyond digitalisation.
Aidan Charlton
Aidan Charlton, Nigel Curson
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The current rate of change in technology available, and the ways in which technology can be utilised is incredible. The pipeline industry however, as with many other industrial sectors, can be conservative in the rate of adoption of new technologies. Ultimately digital transformation will force a radical change in the business strategy of operators and engineering consultancies, as well as within other related businesses. This is, however, expected to result in beneficial changes to business practice, and overall pipeline safety if implemented correctly.

The digital transformation of the pipeline industry is closely interlinked with Industry 4.0. With respect to pipeline engineering; the change to Industry 4.0 will be characterised by the merging of current traditional engineering practices with modern technology including data collection methods such as continuous data collection via Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and modern processing technologies such as multi-threading and parallel processing. Essentially the engineering industry, including the pipeline engineering community is in the process of entering the fourth engineering revolution. This engineering revolution has much to offer the pipeline engineering community provided that the pitfalls can be avoided during implementation.

The authors detail how digital transformation and Industry 4.0 can offer new opportunities in the field of pipeline integrity, such as the transition away from static integrity assessments and improved assessment of undesirable pipeline features with the ultimate aim of reducing the risk of pipeline failure and the obvious benefits this can bring to pipeline operators globally.

The authors explain recent experience of some of the common pitfalls and roadblocks that can be encountered when transferring away from traditional management and use of data as part of digital transformation; and go on to detail some of the lessons learned by Penspen as part of Penspen’s ongoing digital transformation process.

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