A motorised scanning system to check the integrity of exposed pipework

Oceaneering Motorised Scanning System

The Challenge

The design team at GX were tasked by Oceaneering, a global oil and gas industry leader, with developing a motorised scanner, capable of checking the integrity of exposed pipework for any deterioration or corrosion of welded joints. GX had previously designed a simple handheld device for them to assist their maintenance programme of providing high-quality, immediate weld integrity information to their engineers.

Oceaneering needed a product capable of reviewing the entire circumference of long stretches of pipework for deficiencies to help minimise costly downtime, thereby keeping pipeline operations online. Their existing product was often unable check all the welded joints on a pipeline. 

The Solution

The product development team at GX devised a novel way to scan pipelines of varying diameters, by designing two independent motorised scanners which attached to pipework via magnetic wheels. Each scanner would run in parallel around the circumference using ultrasonic sound waves to check for deficiencies. Should the speed of one of the independent motorised units reduce due to the magnetic wheels slipping on grease for example, the system would detect this by constantly checking each unit’s position and speed. It would then adjust their speeds to keep their relative position constant.

The electronic and software engineers at GX were central to the success of this project. They developed a simple motion controller to allow the survey team to guide the units over sections of pipework. 

The Result

Following the build of one fully functional prototype GX has now built three finished syetems so far. Each of these units complies with the rigorous safety and emissions standards required by the EU and America. The motorised scanners performance within the field has proved highly reliable and accurate, allowing Oceaneering to undertake weld inspections both quickly and precisely.