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Halfwave and National Grid join forces for UK gas pipeline inspections

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In-line oil and gas pipeline inspection technology provider Halfwave has agreed a new contract with the UK’s National Grid to provide Acoustic Resonance Technology (ART) to the National Grid’s Gas Robotic Agile Inspection Device (GRAID) platform.

The ART solution will be attached to National Grid’s self-propelling robot technology, which has been developed for inspection of unpiggable gas pipelines with complex geometries.

The GRAID platform enables National Grid to inspect unpiggable pipelines while in-service, removing the need to shut down pipelines.

“Having looked at many technology options, nothing else on the market gives the quality of data that Halfwave’s technology does,” said Josh Blake, GRAID project lead at National Grid. “With the addition of these bespoke sensors, project GRAID has the potential to change the face of infrastructure management across the country’s National Transmission System (NTS), a system which provides gas that more than 80% of UK households depend on.

“The beauty of the robot inspection technology is it offers high-quality results that allow for accurate, proactive management of pipeline maintenance which is of huge benefit to us and our customers.”

ART is an acoustic inspection technology that exploits half-wave resonance, whereby a target such as a pipeline wall responds to certain frequencies that are characteristic of its thickness.

The addition of the ART technology will allow the robot to move through station pipework at pressures up to 94 Bar(g) and flow conditions up to 5 m/s.

“We are delighted to be working with National Grid on this hugely significant project,” added Paul Cooper, CEO at Halfwave. “We have successfully developed ART sensors which are non-magnetic, non-contact and which also have sub-millimetre accuracy benefits that will allow for much faster inspection of these pipelines than was previously possible.

“The ART specialised solution is designed to provide enhanced quantity and quality of data, allowing greater understanding of the pipework integrity, changing the focus from a reactive to proactive integrity and maintenance management of the pipeline infrastructure.”

Engineering activities are due to start by the end of 2019, with a live trial of the solution planned for the second or third quarter of 2020. A full inspection plan is slated to start from 2021.