Pigging in the maintenance of pipelines refers to the practice of using pipeline inspection gauges or 'pigs' to perform various operations on a pipeline without stopping the flow of the product in the pipeline. These operations include but are not limited to cleaning and inspection of the pipeline. This is accomplished by inserting the pig into a 'pig launcher' - a funnel shaped Y section in the pipeline. The launcher is then closed and the pressure of the product in the pipeline is used to push it along down the pipe until it reaches the receiving trap - the 'pig catcher'.
Pigging has been used for many years to clean larger diameter pipelines in the oil industry. Today, however, the use of smaller diameter pigging systems is now increasing in many continuous and batch process plants as plant operators search for increased efficiencies.
Pigging can be used for almost any section of the transfer process between, for example, blending, storage or filling systems. Pigging systems are already installed in industries handling products as diverse as lubricating oils, paints, chemicals, toiletries, and foodstuffs
Although each pipeline has its own set of characteristics which affect how and why pigging is used, there are basically three reasons to pig a pipeline:
- To batch or separate dissimilar products;
- For displacement purposes;
- For internal inspection.
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Many operators only resort to pigging when a problem becomes aTeamrent and they have no other choice. Often, this is too late. The damage has been done and a multi-million dollar investment is put at risk.
Used of the correct type of pig and a proper pigging program will help to maintain the integrity and optimum efficiency of the pipeline; safeguarding both the environment and the assets of the pipeline owner.
The earliest pigs were used simply to remove any large deposits of wax or dirt in order to maintain a flow through the pipeline. Today, pigging is required during each phase in the life of a pipeline –for many different reasons, typically:
- removing construction debris from the line.
- Acceptance testing (water filling, dewatering, etc).
- Pipe wall cleaning
- Condensate removal
- Product separation ( batching)
- Applying inhibitors
For general maintenance repair
- To check for physical damage (geometry)
- To detect corrosion , lamination or cracking
- Leak detection
- Line cover and spanning (sub sea)
During renovation/ rehabilitation
- Corrosion inhibition
- Pre-inspection cleaning
- Gel pigging
- Applying in situ coatings
- Chemical cleaning
- Scale removal
- Cleaning for product conversion
- Product removal
- Pipe wall cleaning
- Inspecting / testing
When considering any of the above applications, it should be remembered that each pipeline is different. They have different diameters, lengths, contents geometry, operating pressures and temperatures, materials, wall thickness, locations, etc.
If you would like any further information with regards to the pipeline pigging TEAM provides then please feel free to browse this web site. We know that whatever you requirements when it comes to pipeline pigging, we can find a cost effective and practical solution – that is our promise to you!