Pipeline pigging operations have constantly been evolving over the years. Now, they have become an economical, efficient, and quick method of cleaning and investigating content in pipelines. However, there is always a small risk of a pig getting stuck or lost in the pipelines during these processes.
This is where pipeline pig locating and tracking comes in. Therefore, cleaning is not the only thing pipeline pigs are important. It is equally important to finding lost and stuck pipeline pigs to ensure efficient operations.
Pig tracking is an important process that should not be underestimated since it provides valuable information regarding the pigs and their location and gives you ample control over them. Besides this, there are many other reasons why pig tracking is perhaps one of the most vital processes in pipeline pigging. In this article, we will delve deeper into each one of them.
What is Pipeline Pig Tracking?
Pigs travel within our pipelines to clean and evaluate their conditions on the inside. This ensures that these pipelines operate safely since certain issues such as leakage, corrosion, and damages are inspected.
Pipeline pig tracking refers to monitoring the location of these pigs in a liquid processing system as they are travelling. It is essential to know about the location and condition of a pig within a pipeline at all times because it gives control to the pigging system. Additionally, it ensures that these processes are carried out safely, efficiently, and quickly.
In smaller pipelines and those with a smaller diameter, pig tracking is typically done to check whether the pig has passed through or not simply. For bigger projects and pipelines, the exact location of the pigs is monitored. Even their speed is monitored and then controlled if need be.
How is Pipeline Pig Tracking Done?
Pipeline pig tracking is done in two main ways. The first includes using an acoustic locater that picks up the pig’s location through vibrations inside the pipe walls. Engineers then pick up the sounds and vibrations. Pulses are also generated when the pig comes in contact with the pipe wall.
The second method of pipeline pig tracking is electromagnetic pig locating on pigs that have been permanently fitted with magnets. This ensures that they are reliably detected and tracked through the pipelines.
Importance of Pipeline Pig Tracking
A pig can wreak havoc in the pipeline if it gets lost, stuck, or moves too fast because it can potentially damage the valves and the pipelines. However, besides ensuring safety, there are several other reasons why pipeline pig tracking should be undertaken. They include the following:
- Keeps an Eye on Things
You don’t want to lose any pigs in the pipeline, which is why it is so important to keep an eye on them through tracking. You will always know what exactly is happening in the pipeline through this.
- Ensures That You Are on Schedule
If you are in a time crunch, tracking helps you come up with an accurate estimate of when the pigging job will be completed. Without tracking, knowing when the pigging job will be finished is largely a guessing game. Hence, you can easily plan your duties and events accordingly since you know when the pipelines will be cleared.
- Makes Sure That Things Are Moving Properly
Pig tracking helps you clear pipelines and identify where they have been dislodged. It is not uncommon for the pipeline to be stuck with large debris or previous pigs. Tracking helps you know what is stuck in the pipeline and what is on its way to clear it.
- Tracking is Portable
Luckily, tracking equipment, such as electromagnetic and acoustic locators, is not large and is predominantly lightweight, which means that it can easily be transported. They can fit inside any pipeline, which makes the job of tracking not just entirely easy but also quite portable. This is great if you have to oversee multiple pipelines.
- It is the Industry Standard
Nowadays, tracking is necessary to ensure that an efficient job on the pipelines has been done. It has become the industry standard, and all pigging companies undergo a thorough cleaning, tracking and investigation. Keeping track of what all the pigs are doing in the pipeline ensures that you are doing an effective job.
- Makes the Overall Pipeline Pigging Job Easier
One of the most significant benefits of tracking is maintenance and error management can easily be carried out through the help of pig locators. Instead of opening up pipelines and using maintenance workers to search for the lost or stuck pig, you can easily attach pig locators to the pipelines. You won’t even need to open up the pipelines for this.
Moreover, opening them up and investigating them is impossible with subsea and onshore pipelines. However, in such cases, you can easily use pig locating devices to do the job for you.
- Cost-Effective Method
Not only does it require little effort to track pigs, but it also costs much less. You are not hiring manual labour or expensive technicians to help find lost or stuck pigs, but you rather attach efficient tools to do the job for you. This option is much more economical.
- Error-Free and Reliable Method
When you use high-quality and specialised tools for pig tracking, there are very few chances of errors or problems since these tools are quite reliable. You can get the job done without worrying about any damages or leakages.
There is no doubt that the pig tracking process is significantly valuable and integral to the overall pipeline pigging job. It is equally important to work with experienced professionals in the pig tracking industry.
If you are looking for such professionals and high-quality pig tracking systems, consider contacting Online Electronics. They provide advanced tracking methods suitable for any pipeline, including onshore, topside, and subsea pipelines. For more information, visit their website today!