Robotic inspection system for unpiggable pipelines

Robert Torbin, William Leary, George Vradis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Much of the existing natural gas infrastructure was designed and built without pigging as an operational consideration. There are many physical obstacles in pipelines that make the passage of SMART pigs impossible. The most intractable obstacles include: Elbows with tight bend radius. Back to back combinations of elbows. Partially ported valves. Reductions/expansions greater than two pipe sizes. The use of pigs is totally dependent on the availability of pressure to "push" the pig through the pipeline. Unfortunately, the operation of many utility owned transmission pipelines is at a pressure too low to support the operation of a conventional pig. Although most interstate pipelines are many miles long, many high consequence areas along transmission pipelines are usually extremely short. Many of these pipeline segments are only one to two miles in length with no installed local traps. With the advances in robotics and sensor technology, the Office of Pipeline Safety has recently endorsed the concept that all oil and gas transmission pipelines should be capable of 100 percent inspection. The cost to replace just unpiggable valves and sharp bends has been estimated at over $1.5 billion (gas only). Therefore, the ability to inspect unpiggable pipelines presents a formidable technical and financial challenge. The inspection of unpiggable pipelines requires the marriage of a highly agile robotic platform with NDE sensor technology operating as an autonomous system. Foster-Miller and PII are developing a robot that is essentially a battery powered, train-like platform. Both front and rear tractors propel the train in either the downstream or upstream direction. Like a train, the platform includes additional "cars" to carry the required payloads. The cars are used for various purposes including the NDE sensor module(s), the power supply, and data acquisition/storage components. The onboard distributed intelligence gives the platform the capability of an engineer steering the train through the complex pipe geometry. The robot is designed with a slender aspect ratio and the ability to change shape as required by the physical obstacle presenting itself. The MFL sensor module must also morph itself through the physical obstacles, and thus, will require some level of segmentation. The system requires a very simple launch and retrieval station that is significantly less expensive to deploy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProc. of the 5th Biennial Int. Pipeline Conf., IPC: Compression and Pump Technol.; Corrosion; Design and Construction; Environmental Issues; GIS/Database Dev.; Innovative Projects and Emerging Issues
Pages1077-1086
Number of pages10
Volume2
StatePublished - 2004
EventProceedings of the 5th Biennial International Pipeline Conference, IPC: Compression and Pump Technologies; Corrosion; Design and Construction; Environmental Issues; GIS/Database Development; Innovative Projects and Emerging Issues - Calgary, Alta., Canada
Duration: Oct 4 2004Oct 8 2004

Other

OtherProceedings of the 5th Biennial International Pipeline Conference, IPC: Compression and Pump Technologies; Corrosion; Design and Construction; Environmental Issues; GIS/Database Development; Innovative Projects and Emerging Issues
CountryCanada
CityCalgary, Alta.
Period10/4/0410/8/04

Fingerprint

Robotics
Pipelines
Inspection
Sensors
Railroad cars
Pipe
Robots
Gases
Aspect ratio
Data acquisition
Natural gas
Availability
Engineers
Geometry
Costs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

Cite this

Torbin, R., Leary, W., & Vradis, G. (2004). Robotic inspection system for unpiggable pipelines. In Proc. of the 5th Biennial Int. Pipeline Conf., IPC: Compression and Pump Technol.; Corrosion; Design and Construction; Environmental Issues; GIS/Database Dev.; Innovative Projects and Emerging Issues (Vol. 2, pp. 1077-1086). [0563]

Robotic inspection system for unpiggable pipelines. / Torbin, Robert; Leary, William; Vradis, George.

Proc. of the 5th Biennial Int. Pipeline Conf., IPC: Compression and Pump Technol.; Corrosion; Design and Construction; Environmental Issues; GIS/Database Dev.; Innovative Projects and Emerging Issues. Vol. 2 2004. p. 1077-1086 0563.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Torbin, R, Leary, W & Vradis, G 2004, Robotic inspection system for unpiggable pipelines. in Proc. of the 5th Biennial Int. Pipeline Conf., IPC: Compression and Pump Technol.; Corrosion; Design and Construction; Environmental Issues; GIS/Database Dev.; Innovative Projects and Emerging Issues. vol. 2, 0563, pp. 1077-1086, Proceedings of the 5th Biennial International Pipeline Conference, IPC: Compression and Pump Technologies; Corrosion; Design and Construction; Environmental Issues; GIS/Database Development; Innovative Projects and Emerging Issues, Calgary, Alta., Canada, 10/4/04.
Torbin R, Leary W, Vradis G. Robotic inspection system for unpiggable pipelines. In Proc. of the 5th Biennial Int. Pipeline Conf., IPC: Compression and Pump Technol.; Corrosion; Design and Construction; Environmental Issues; GIS/Database Dev.; Innovative Projects and Emerging Issues. Vol. 2. 2004. p. 1077-1086. 0563
Torbin, Robert ; Leary, William ; Vradis, George. / Robotic inspection system for unpiggable pipelines. Proc. of the 5th Biennial Int. Pipeline Conf., IPC: Compression and Pump Technol.; Corrosion; Design and Construction; Environmental Issues; GIS/Database Dev.; Innovative Projects and Emerging Issues. Vol. 2 2004. pp. 1077-1086
@inproceedings{0046c43aa9854c94a950d649d60f1797,
title = "Robotic inspection system for unpiggable pipelines",
abstract = "Much of the existing natural gas infrastructure was designed and built without pigging as an operational consideration. There are many physical obstacles in pipelines that make the passage of SMART pigs impossible. The most intractable obstacles include: Elbows with tight bend radius. Back to back combinations of elbows. Partially ported valves. Reductions/expansions greater than two pipe sizes. The use of pigs is totally dependent on the availability of pressure to {"}push{"} the pig through the pipeline. Unfortunately, the operation of many utility owned transmission pipelines is at a pressure too low to support the operation of a conventional pig. Although most interstate pipelines are many miles long, many high consequence areas along transmission pipelines are usually extremely short. Many of these pipeline segments are only one to two miles in length with no installed local traps. With the advances in robotics and sensor technology, the Office of Pipeline Safety has recently endorsed the concept that all oil and gas transmission pipelines should be capable of 100 percent inspection. The cost to replace just unpiggable valves and sharp bends has been estimated at over $1.5 billion (gas only). Therefore, the ability to inspect unpiggable pipelines presents a formidable technical and financial challenge. The inspection of unpiggable pipelines requires the marriage of a highly agile robotic platform with NDE sensor technology operating as an autonomous system. Foster-Miller and PII are developing a robot that is essentially a battery powered, train-like platform. Both front and rear tractors propel the train in either the downstream or upstream direction. Like a train, the platform includes additional {"}cars{"} to carry the required payloads. The cars are used for various purposes including the NDE sensor module(s), the power supply, and data acquisition/storage components. The onboard distributed intelligence gives the platform the capability of an engineer steering the train through the complex pipe geometry. The robot is designed with a slender aspect ratio and the ability to change shape as required by the physical obstacle presenting itself. The MFL sensor module must also morph itself through the physical obstacles, and thus, will require some level of segmentation. The system requires a very simple launch and retrieval station that is significantly less expensive to deploy.",
author = "Robert Torbin and William Leary and George Vradis",
year = "2004",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "2",
pages = "1077--1086",
booktitle = "Proc. of the 5th Biennial Int. Pipeline Conf., IPC: Compression and Pump Technol.; Corrosion; Design and Construction; Environmental Issues; GIS/Database Dev.; Innovative Projects and Emerging Issues",

}

TY - GEN

T1 - Robotic inspection system for unpiggable pipelines

AU - Torbin, Robert

AU - Leary, William

AU - Vradis, George

PY - 2004

Y1 - 2004

N2 - Much of the existing natural gas infrastructure was designed and built without pigging as an operational consideration. There are many physical obstacles in pipelines that make the passage of SMART pigs impossible. The most intractable obstacles include: Elbows with tight bend radius. Back to back combinations of elbows. Partially ported valves. Reductions/expansions greater than two pipe sizes. The use of pigs is totally dependent on the availability of pressure to "push" the pig through the pipeline. Unfortunately, the operation of many utility owned transmission pipelines is at a pressure too low to support the operation of a conventional pig. Although most interstate pipelines are many miles long, many high consequence areas along transmission pipelines are usually extremely short. Many of these pipeline segments are only one to two miles in length with no installed local traps. With the advances in robotics and sensor technology, the Office of Pipeline Safety has recently endorsed the concept that all oil and gas transmission pipelines should be capable of 100 percent inspection. The cost to replace just unpiggable valves and sharp bends has been estimated at over $1.5 billion (gas only). Therefore, the ability to inspect unpiggable pipelines presents a formidable technical and financial challenge. The inspection of unpiggable pipelines requires the marriage of a highly agile robotic platform with NDE sensor technology operating as an autonomous system. Foster-Miller and PII are developing a robot that is essentially a battery powered, train-like platform. Both front and rear tractors propel the train in either the downstream or upstream direction. Like a train, the platform includes additional "cars" to carry the required payloads. The cars are used for various purposes including the NDE sensor module(s), the power supply, and data acquisition/storage components. The onboard distributed intelligence gives the platform the capability of an engineer steering the train through the complex pipe geometry. The robot is designed with a slender aspect ratio and the ability to change shape as required by the physical obstacle presenting itself. The MFL sensor module must also morph itself through the physical obstacles, and thus, will require some level of segmentation. The system requires a very simple launch and retrieval station that is significantly less expensive to deploy.

AB - Much of the existing natural gas infrastructure was designed and built without pigging as an operational consideration. There are many physical obstacles in pipelines that make the passage of SMART pigs impossible. The most intractable obstacles include: Elbows with tight bend radius. Back to back combinations of elbows. Partially ported valves. Reductions/expansions greater than two pipe sizes. The use of pigs is totally dependent on the availability of pressure to "push" the pig through the pipeline. Unfortunately, the operation of many utility owned transmission pipelines is at a pressure too low to support the operation of a conventional pig. Although most interstate pipelines are many miles long, many high consequence areas along transmission pipelines are usually extremely short. Many of these pipeline segments are only one to two miles in length with no installed local traps. With the advances in robotics and sensor technology, the Office of Pipeline Safety has recently endorsed the concept that all oil and gas transmission pipelines should be capable of 100 percent inspection. The cost to replace just unpiggable valves and sharp bends has been estimated at over $1.5 billion (gas only). Therefore, the ability to inspect unpiggable pipelines presents a formidable technical and financial challenge. The inspection of unpiggable pipelines requires the marriage of a highly agile robotic platform with NDE sensor technology operating as an autonomous system. Foster-Miller and PII are developing a robot that is essentially a battery powered, train-like platform. Both front and rear tractors propel the train in either the downstream or upstream direction. Like a train, the platform includes additional "cars" to carry the required payloads. The cars are used for various purposes including the NDE sensor module(s), the power supply, and data acquisition/storage components. The onboard distributed intelligence gives the platform the capability of an engineer steering the train through the complex pipe geometry. The robot is designed with a slender aspect ratio and the ability to change shape as required by the physical obstacle presenting itself. The MFL sensor module must also morph itself through the physical obstacles, and thus, will require some level of segmentation. The system requires a very simple launch and retrieval station that is significantly less expensive to deploy.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=18144412407&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=18144412407&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Conference contribution

AN - SCOPUS:18144412407

VL - 2

SP - 1077

EP - 1086

BT - Proc. of the 5th Biennial Int. Pipeline Conf., IPC: Compression and Pump Technol.; Corrosion; Design and Construction; Environmental Issues; GIS/Database Dev.; Innovative Projects and Emerging Issues

ER -