Olympus PipeWIZARD Automated Inspection

Olympus Updated: 2007-09-11
Olympus PipeWIZARD Automated Inspection

Automated ultrasonic inspection of pipeline girth welds using phased arrays.

Meets or exceeds ASTM E-1961, DNV2000 OS-F101, and API 1104 codes:

* Fast scanning speed: 100 mm/s
* Weld-to-weld inspection time of less than four minutes for 36-inch pipe
* Very flexible for different pipe diameters, wall thicknesses, and weld profiles
* Low operating costs
* High reliability
* "One size fits all"
* Great for special scans

Girth Weld Inspection System Overview
Gas pipelines are made of high-strength steel and operate at a significant percentage of yield strength. Pipes are girth-welded on site, typically using automated welding. Then, they are rapidly inspected, coated, and buried. Due to the demanding construction cycle, it is important that any defect in the welds be detected and analyzed very quickly.
Over the past several years, AUT (automated ultrasonic testing) has started to supplant radiography for gas pipeline weld inspection around the world. AUT offers better inspection detection and sizing, plus lower reject rates.
There are a number of specific constraints related to the construction cycle:
1. Time: Onshore, the inspection cycle (mount scanner, scan, return, remove scanner, drive to next weld) is under four minutes. Offshore, the time may only be two minutes, but moving is not required.
2. Data analysis: Data needs to be analyzed before moving to the next weld. This means characterizing the weld as accept/reject, almost in real time.
3. Data storage: It is essential to store the data during the inspection cycle for regulatory purposes.
All these specific constraints are addressed by AUT.

Calibration block containing flat-bottom holes (FBH) and other reference reflectors (ASTM 1997).

In 1998, the ASTM published ASTM E-1961-98. This code includes key features for automated ultrasonic testing of girth welds: zone discrimination, rapid data interpretation, specialized calibration blocks, setup procedures. E-1961 is targeted for the use of ECA (Engineering Critical Analysis). In 1999, the American Petroleum Institute published the 19th version of API 1104, which covered mechanized UT of girth welds as well as radiography.
All PipeWIZARD® products comply with ASTM E-1961, and by inference, with API 1104. As well, PipeWIZARD complies with DNV2000 OS-F101 which is the offshore AUT code. In some circumstances, company specifications may override the codes, typically by asking for improved sizing or better resolution.

Advantages and Key Features of AUT

AUT is replacing radiography for pipeline girth weld inspections worldwide. The advantages of conventional AUT are clear:
1. No radiation hazard.
2. Better process control of welding, giving lower reject rates.
3. Larger defect acceptance using ECA, also giving lower reject rates.
4. Faster inspections.
5. Rapid and reliable data interpretation from special output display.
6. Overall, onshore mechanized ultrasonics offer a better
inspection solution with lower reject rates than radiography.
7. Phased arrays offer major advantages over conventional AUT.