Non-Destructive Testing on Insulated Pipelines and Other Materials
As the global economy continues to expand and become increasingly competitive, non-destructive testing (NDT) must also advance to ensure businesses are able to remain operational and effective at all times. Equipment failures and downtime can result in massive costs for a company, which could set them so far back that they are never able to regain a state of profitability, especially in the oil industry.
“We’re at the point now where, against the backdrop of a sustained low oil price, if a platform has to shut down for maintenance, it may never start producing again. We, therefore, need as much accurate data as possible to make informed decisions.” – Bill Brown, Technical Manager at TRAC Oil & Gas
The Right Technology for Insulated Objects
At 20/20 NDT Inc. we realize that our clients in Western Canada are operating in difficult economic conditions and markets, which is why we are working harder than ever to discover NDT methods that bring extreme benefits and competitive advantages to those who partner with us.
One of the areas that we have been analyzing recently is how to effectively test materials or objects that are obstructed by insulation. Disruptive damages, such as corrosion, have been a major issue for companies that utilize insulation around their machinery or equipment. If your business operates in extremely cold or warm conditions, your pipes or pipelines are likely insulated in some areas to protect the actual structure and its contents from the elements.
Why is Insulation an Issue for Pipelines?
Insulation becomes an issue when it obstructs the direct view of the equipment or material underneath. If you are not able to visually inspect an object, such as a pipeline, many of the defects and damages can go unnoticed, which could led to massive production downtime in the future. Insulation can even be the root cause of the damages that your business is incurring, which commonly is referred to as “corrosion under insulation” (CUI). This occurs when moisture seeps into or around the insulation and becomes trapped there. It is estimated that about 60% of all pipe leaks are caused by CUI.
When moisture is trapped between an insulating material and the metal of a pipe, the water will go to work and start to eat away at your infrastructure. It is possible to visually inspect insulated pipework for damage or corrosion, however this would involve removing all of the insulation from the object. This process would be extremely costly and time consuming, especially if the insulating material is older and contains asbestos. While removing the insulation to allow for inspection, you could also potentially expose your materials to moisture during the process- causing more harm than good in your search for defects. There is an alternative to manually removing all the insulation from your equipment, and that is achieved with non-destructive testing methods.
Radiography Testing Detects CUI Quickly and Efficiently
Non-destructive testing, such as radiography (Industrial X-Ray Inspection), allows our technicians to peer through insulation to see if any corrosion or cracking is affecting your pipeline. This information is presented instantly, on-site, so the business owner or manager in charge of the structure can take immediate action to remedy the issue. The sooner damages are detected, the more prepared you will be to take action, avoiding dangerous malfunctions and leaks.
Utilizing our radiography services not only provides a business with the vital diagnostics on their equipment, it can also bring peace of mind to management and the employees. If safety is important to your organization, this style of non-destructive testing (NDT) should be a regular component of your preventive maintenance. If you are testing your equipment often, you not only keep your team prepared and at ease, you can also provide your customers with a sense of stability by updating them on your regular NDT testing procedures.
Do you utilize insulated piping in your operations? Do you know what is underneath? Contact us to find out, keeping your facilities safe and profitable.