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We have been asked by a client to find a non-intrusive method of locating a ‘stuck/stalled’ foam pig on an onshore facility.

Method & Objectives

Online Electronics proposed the use of the ID5000 ACTIVE Ultrasonic ATEX topside pig signaller /locator to give an indication of pig’s location.

The ID5000A is designed to sit statically on the pipeline with the purpose of signalling pig passages by sending a high frequency ultrasonic pulse through a liquid pipeline medium several times a second, this pulse creates an ultrasonic ‘beam’ along the pipeline by reflecting off the opposite side of the pipe wall. Once this beam is broken a passage is signalled.

This beam can also be used to measure the internal pipe diameter by measuring pulse widths transmitted and received.

By viewing the live display (below) a visual representation of the pulses can be viewed and analysed to give an accurate indication of any object within the pipe, eg discs on a hard bodied pig, or a foam pig.

If the ‘spikes’ shown at 31cm (in this example) disappear then there is no reflection from the back wall and so with care and a skilled operator the unit can be used to find a pig.

ID5000A Display

When pipe is clear, a reading of the full Internal Diameter is given.

When placed at the 12 o’clock position the sensor will give a measurement of the clean space above any debris that has collected at the bottom of the pipeline – allowing for a calculation of the ‘settled debris’ in the line.

The pig blocks the signal giving NO response and so signals the pig’s location.

ID5000A Gel Pig

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