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EM Pig Tracking for Newbies - The EM Receiver

In the latest post in our EM Pig Tracking for Newbies series, our Senior Sales & Systems Engineer Carmen Orellana looks at the Electromagnetic (EM) receiver.

We talk a lot about specifying a suitable EM transmitter for your specific pig tracking and locating operations but what do you need to consider when selecting an EM receiver? Perhaps more than you think.

Let’s start with the basics, the application – if it is topside or subsea (ROV or diver use) and if it is going to be in a hazardous area where ATEX considerations must be taken. If the pipeline is subsea, the receiver needs to be deployed quickly and easily. Connections to the ROV umbilical should be easy and robust for a harsh environment.

The second thing to consider is the pipeline condition, if it is buried or not, if it is a single line or there is a carrier, what is the wall thickness, where do you intend to place the receiver and what type of information are you expecting. When dealing with the challenge of heavy walled pipelines, bundles, and Pipe in Pipe there needs to be a combination of choosing the right transmitter and receiver and operating the receiver with the correct sensitivity. Testing in advance is key to understand the different behaviours and know exactly how to face each potential scenario. A responsible manufacturer must always give priority to testing disciplines before releasing any product.

EMRx Onshore Pig Tracking ReceiverEMRx Onshore

Another challenge related to the pipeline condition is noise sources such as pumps, vehicles or ROVs if working subsea. Unwanted noise is a fact and sometimes it is not easy to make it disappear, this is part of the normal environment this instrumentation is normally surrounded by. However, we do have to remember that all ourEMRx systems have been designed with enhanced signal to noise ratio and frequency selectivity to minimize the impact of environmental noise. We always discuss with our clients their projects in detail to provide a good assessment of the location together with equipment training to understand for example how to reduce the unwanted interference by adjusting specific parameters in the receiver. The EMRx applications provide several data visualization options to help differentiate between environmental noise and a known EM transmitter signal.

EMRx Subsea Pig Tracking ReceiverEMRx Subsea

Third is if this is a pig detection operation at a certain point (stationary pig in the receiver, launcher, any other critical location where it is expected the pig to stop) or if you also want to use it for pig tracking (pig in movement and track when it is passed) or pig locating when it is stalled at an unknown place. It is also important to get information on the type of transmitter to be used in conjunction with the receiver to synchronize the receiver with the specific frequency and transmission pattern to be identified easily. By knowing this we will be able to propose different choices and make sure the receiver is delivering all the expectations successfully.

You may also want to think about digitalization and the increasing need for data and information. An electromagnetic transmitter generates electromagnetic energy travelling and propagating at different intensities. A good, effective EM receiver must be able to extract and process this energy from any environmental scenario that our clients can be exposed to, allowing them a very easy and intuitive interpretation of the information. Our latest generation of microprocessors known as “DSP – Digital Signal Processor” allows important system parameters to be changed easily, for example simultaneous frequency reception. Modern receivers incorporate user-friendly displays and programs that the user can interact with, like our EMRx application for Windows and Android. It is fantastic to be able to take your phone and use just your finger to log, report or change the visualization of the information so easily, it is so intuitive to play with. To be able to “talk” to the receiver via Bluetooth is a very attractive feature to keep our clients in a very comfortable area.

EMRx Android Pig Tracking ApplicationEMRx Android Application

Finally, the quality in the design of the unit itself such as a high-resolution display, the reduction of hardware units into a single compact one and materials capable of withstanding tough environments.

An understanding of your specific project requirements and an awareness of the available features and their benefits along with a high-quality design will ensure you get the most out of your EM receiver and achieve the very best results in the long term.