Oil & Gas pipelines must be inspected on a regular basis to ensure fitness-for-service. Corrosion and mechanical damages are the most critical and recurrent degradation that must be inspected under API-579 or ASME-B31G inspection codes. Various non-destructive methods have been used to measure these damages, such as pit gauge and ultrasound probes. A contact method is always problematic due to the deteriorated external surface. Encoding a scan is also a challenge, requiring mechanical scanners or fixture to fit the specific component geometry for referencing the defect position.
3D laser scanning has emerged over the last 5 years as an efficient alternative for accurate surface degradation assessment. It offers the versatility needed to inspect various geometries with a same system. Corrosion and mechanical damages can now be characterized with very high accuracy and repeatability.
Advanced corrosion analysis is made possible on complex scenarios such as concave or convex surface of a bended pipeline, combined defects with corrosion pits inside dents, or automated strain-based analysis on dents. 3D laser scanning is pushing the common limits of manual external damage assessment and can solve highly complicated situations formerly considered as an automatic reject due to the inspection complexity or limitations.