Understanding Structured Light 3D Technology For Use in Pipeline Defect Analysis
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Structured Light is not a new technology, but it is new to the pipeline industry. This paper will provide an overview of how the structured light technology works (process, time, error, impact on corrosion analysis) and how it is now being used as the preferred method for gathering pipeline defect measurements. Hazardous liquid and gas pipeline operators are tasked with the responsibility of complying with regulatory requirements to ensure that field data gathered of pipe and corrosion defects are assessed properly after in-line inspection runs, direct assessment or other maintenance activities. Yet too often, the focus has been to hire technicians that are qualified in some tasks, but not experienced in all phases of direct examination, including corrosion, gouges, dents, weld defects, cracks, wrinkle bends, SCC, construction defects, etc. There is a need in the pipeline industry to assess the severity of a particular anomaly (dent, gouge, corrosion pit, etc.) in a pipe as to whether or not repair or removal is warranted. Along with the determination of repair, there is also a need for prioritizing in-line-inspection (ILI) data, and making remaining-life assessments of pipe sections. If these defects cannot be measured properly, then the resulting analyses, along with all the company databases, are meaningless. This paper will provide the reader with an understanding of the differences between “screening tools” and “prove up tools” as well as the benefits of the structured light technology (accuracy, repeatability, reliability and cost) to meet industry standards and regulations.
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