Optical Metrology Services - See, measure, quantify

Internal inspection tools are helping oil and gas companies to verify the quality of risers, and fatigue-critical, CRA-clad and curved pipes. This significantly reduces failure and minimises project risk, says Hugh Davies, director of client solutions at Optical Metrology Services.

There are a number of reasons why it may be necessary to conduct internal inspections of oil and gas pipes. These can range from weld assessment and checking for oxidation or corrosion, to looking for wrinkles in pipe liners (CRA-clad pipes) and reeling trials. All these issues can compromise the integrity of pipes and pose a risk to the safety of on or offshore projects.

Traditional methods of examining the quality of internal welds or other defects, from a visual and a measurement perspective, have been inadequate and unreliable. For example, a considerable gap has existed in the technology available for measuring the critical features of welds such as HiLo (joint misalignment), weld height, width, and lack of penetration or fusion.

A winner of the 2014 Queen's Award for Enterprise Innovation, Optical Metrology Systems (OMS) offers a unique portfolio of internal pipe inspection tools specifically developed for checking internal welds and other geometric features.

These are used as part of a three-stage approach to mitigating the threat of problems:

  • See it: This stage involves conducting an internal visual inspection of the pipe using one of OMS's custom designed inspection tools. With a camera head attached, this is introduced to the pipe. The remotely operated camera will then capture video images along the length of the conduit (even if it is curved), and in doing so, identify all visual features.
  • Measure it: With all issues now visually identified, the second stage involves the measurement of these defects to assess their degree of failure or deformity. The OMS inspection tool uses the 50µm-resolution laser measurement head to navigate to the identified problem(s), where precision measurements are taken and the data recorded. The laser head produces 72 high-resolution laser profiles, providing a detailed numerical picture of the problem area. For internal weld inspections, geometry across pipe inner walls near to the weld, and across the entire weld, can be recorded by the laser head. This is critical during the pre-qualification tests (PQT) in order to qualify the welding process, equipment and staff for the project. This not only allows the client to develop its process and to fully understand the welding parameters, but also enables it to demonstrate to its customer an unrivalled level of weld information and to show full compliance with stringent pipeline specifications.
  • Quantify: The final stage of the inspection process involves the analysis of the visual and laser data to allow all identified issues to be accurately assessed and quantified. This enables clients to quickly approve welds that comply with specifications, or carry out remedial measures as and when appropriate.

Benefits and future developments
OMS's internal pipe inspection services have proved to dramatically increase pipe performance and decrease pipeline failures, resulting in significant cost savings for clients. These services have seen significant interest from the oil and gas industry, as well as the aerospace and nuclear sectors.

OMS is continuing to develop even more compact tools that are able to fit inside ever-smaller pipe diameters. The capability is now at just 4in internal diameter, making OMS the only company in the world that can inspect welds using laser measurement and visual data at approximately 100mm diameter, and around bends in pipes.

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Contact Details

Optical Metrology Services
Contact: Optical Metrology Services
URL: www.omsmeasure.com

With a modular, flexible design, the OMS WeldChecker 6V internal weld inspection tool has a similar design concept to a ‘bendy bus’, enabling the tool to navigate curves in pipes.
OMS’s internal weld inspection tools are able to record pipe geometry across both pipe inner walls near to the weld and across the entire weld, which are critical during pre-qualification tests (PQT) in order to qualify the welding process, equipment and staff for the project.
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