Performance reliability of heavy-duty pipelines

Automated ultrasonic testing system for longitudinally welded large-diameter pipes

We have upgraded the acceptance-relevant ultrasonic testing system for EUROPIPE - one of the largest manufacturers of longitudinally welded large-diameter steel pipes for the oil and gas industry - to the most powerful NDT technology on schedule.

Typically, the pipes are 12 to 18 metres long, can have an outer diameter between 610 and 1524 millimetres and wall thicknesses between 12 and 45 millimetres. They are installed in arctic environments as well as at extreme sea depths and therefore - due to the imperative product quality - put a special demand on the testing technology that probes the weld seam. In addition, the overall system had to work extremely reliably, as the testing system is fully integrated into the production flow and thus had to comply with the strict production cycle time. Another requirement for the overall system was a concept for realising short reconfiguration times.

High-performance phased array devices, highly shielded cables and customised phased array probes were used for the system. The system now has a total of 576 phased array channels to perform longitudinal defect and transverse defect inspection.

To control the system ultrasonically, custom-made software was programmed to meet the customer's requirements. This included the visualisation of the sector scans, the inspection results, the inspection documentation as well as the forwarding of the inspection results to the plant's internal information and archiving system.