Here at TECAT when we’re talking about “Pigs” it has little to do with the farm animal. Rather, in our case it involves a widely utilized process in Oil & Gas where a device is pushed or pulled through the interior of a pipeline for cleaning, inspecting or distributing inhibitor throughout the pipeline.
During the 1940s, pipelines in the United States were mainly pigged to remove paraffin to increase efficiency in crude oil pipelines in order to maximize flow conditions for the war effort. The pigging equipment utilized at that time was limited to a few applications while being very crude in nature. In today’s world, pipelines are pigged for a variety of reasons and the pigging equipment used is designed by engineers to perform particular functions.
In 1994, §192.150 / §195.120 regulations were passed that required each new transmission line and each replacement of line pipe, valve, fitting, or other line component in a transmission line must be designed and constructed to accommodate the passage of instrumented internal inspection devices.
Some pipelines date back to long before these “pig-friendly” design standards were legislated. TECAT was approached to help locate valves in these older pipelines.
Existing “smart pigging” solutions were tried but got stuck a short distance down the pipe due to the “non-pigable” design of the pipeline. The TECAT applications team developed a pig utilizing a magnetometer sensor small enough to pass through the pipes to identify the valve locations. The pig was sent down about 8 miles of pipeline and accurately located valves that were dug up and inspected. Additionally the accelerometer data from the TECAT sensor could accurately “see” each weld seam in the pipeline.
No lipstick but we still think our pig is pretty!