Pipeline operators face many threats to the integrity of a pipeline. Over the years, sophisticated equipment and methodologies have been developed to counter these threats. However, until today, operators have been using individual inspection tools to detect and measure specific defects such as corrosion or cracks. This has caused operators around the world, to invest significant efforts to perform multiple inspection runs and later correlate independent sets of inspection data.
In order to avoid these unnecessary processes and to minimize sources of error and operational conflicts, GE launched a new inline inspection tool UltraScan™ DUO. This tool is not merely another inline inspection tool, it is different from any inspection tool already introduced into the market. This development consists of a state-of-the-art ultrasonic system that detects and sizes both corrosion and cracks in the same run with enhanced capabilities in both areas using Phased Array Technology, already successfully applied in other fields such as medical applications.
The main advantages of this technology are:
- Direction of the ultrasound beam can be controlled by the electronics, allowing to inspect for metal loss and cracks in one run.
- Sensor number, aperture and beam shape can be optimized for the measurement task. A high number of measurement channels results in high-resolution coverage of the entire pipe wall circumference.
- Special modes are applicable for the detection of small pits and of cracks associated with corrosion, e.g. SCC (Stress Corrosion Cracking).
Due to the extremely high measurement resolution (in axial, circumferential and radial direction) a very good POD (probability of detection) and sizing accuracy are achieved. These capabilities are crucial for any long-term pipeline assessment activities, e.g. corrosion growth analysis, planning of maintenance and repair work and of inspection intervals.