Blog: What technologies are available for pig signalling?

Online Electronics Sales Engineer, Bruce McKenzie has written a blog informing of the technologies available to pig signalling;

Pig signalling is the term used to let you know that a pig has gone past a point; whether it has left the launcher, arrived at a receiver or simply just passed a predetermined point on a pipeline.

There are various technologies that can be used to do this; Magnetic, Electromagnetic, Ultrasonic or Acoustic. The main defining factor of what technology is used is location of the pipeline, so whether the line is onshore, subsea or an ATEX environment, there is a type of signalling suitable for any of the above.

In our experience the most common types of signalling used onshore are magnetic (OEL 4001D), ultrasonic (ID500A) and acoustic (IP5000). Magnetic is very reliable but means that your pig/tool must have magnets fitted to it, and when set up properly (by an Online Electronics certified technician) acoustic signallers can detect any type of pig, in any medium. 

The most common method for subsea is magnetic (4000SD), although electromagnetic (EM) and acoustic can also be used, however this type of signalling requires a transmitter such as the EMTx20 (other sizes are available) or pinger such as the 1200 (other sizes are available) inside the pig/tool and a receiver outside the line, whether it be the Diver held 3012 for EM or the PR1 (Acoustic) or the ROV held EM ROV System or Acoustic ROV System.

For ATEX environments such as platforms or refineries; magnetic, ultrasonic and acoustic are the most popular types of signallers (all OEL topside signallers are ATEX rated), but these must be explosion proof to a certain ATEX standard depending on the zone they are being used in.

Signallers can occasionally be deployed in remote areas where access is restricted, i.e. fenced off and secure or a platform, or possibly hard to get to, such as the middle of the desert. For this type of location we can use the any of the above technologies in conjunction with a GSM unit or a Satellite system. This means that when the signaller is activated, a signal of some type whether it be a text to a phone or a signal via satellite can be sent to anyone around the globe.

So to finish, no matter where your pipeline is, or what type of pig you have, there is a signaller to suit.

Speak to the Online Electronics sales team today on 01224 714714 or to find out how we can assist with your pig tracking requirements.