Custom Crawler System for Internal Pipe Ultrasonic Testing
The technology behind remote inspection continues to advance to create viable testing options within challenging constraints and environments. Robotic crawlers are one of the key instruments driving the change and allowing safer and more accurate data collection.
The following is a case study detailing the rapid development of a custom solution for internal pipe UT (Ultrasonic Testing) to verify manufactured products on a remote site with no water or power.
A new Gas facility in Dongara which was under construction took delivery of multiple pipes of sizes from 200DN 250DN 350DN and 450DN, and the customer wanted to verify that the pipe that had been manufactured to specification.
As the pipe had a thick plastic coating on the outside, standard external UT reading could not be taken. The potential risk of utilising the pipes not made to specification would mean significant cost, delays and ongoing issues with the development and running of the facility.
Nexxis was engaged by the client to design and build a custom solution allowing the customer to conduct critical wall thickness measurements of a sample of the piping system to verify the pipes.
Nexxis has developed several Crawler systems with varying sensor integration. Getting a UT reading on a curved surface requires custom probe holders and a method of supplying couplant to the probe to get a good reading.
With the aid of our advanced manufacturing and 3D printing capabilities all the components can be rapid prototyped a trialled before going to full fabrication or metal printing, specifically looking at whether the crawler produced a suitable UT signal.
Successful trials confirmed that custom tooling was required to be manufactured to allow the multi-probes could be connected.
The custom harness comprised of 3D printed custom UT probe shoes, and the socket head cap screws were replaced with custom 3D printed hand-tightened fittings by SixDe who manufactured all the custom components.
Within a quick 2-3 week turnaround, Nexxis supplied a custom solution in the form of a Panther crawler system with 360-degree Indexing and Dual probes for internal pipe UT for both longitudinal and circumferential inspections.
Lab61 trained the customer team during the SIT and supplied a robot scan plan and on site training.
The crawler functioned in the field just as expected and allowed the customer to record accurate, verifiable UT readings on multiple curved surfaces able to identify any defects in the pipe wall thickness or welds to the delight of the customer.
The combination of remote UT inspection created a clear image of the condition of the pipes and saved the customer much time and effort by not requiring the product taken out of place or human entry.
Carry on reading How Robots Are Shaking up NDT Inspections to find out more.