Pipeline welds in the Oil and Gas industry will be coming under increased scrutiny after a new evaluation testing method was designed by Exova.
The company has introduced a new Immersion Ultrasonic Testing (IUT) technique that has become part of the AUT validation procedure for girth weld inspection to enhance the level of accuracy and reduce the cost of production.
IUT is the ideal addition to the AUT validation process to identify if all defects were accurately located and non were missed. Due to the higher signal to noise ratio, immersive testing environment with high accuracy robotics, it is ideal for every type of material inspection where small defects have to be detected. Based on the client's needs and project specifications Exova will provide a dedicated procedure optimised to best serve the industry.
The investments allow Exova to identify an increasing number of defects, such as cracking, porosity, incomplete penetration, inclusions, lack of sidewall fusion, and related defects that can compromise the pipelines girth weld strength.
Additionally to the new IUT service, Exova has invested in an innovative electrical discharge machine which is capable of producing salami sliced macro specimens with a new stage of precision. The added value of this methodology is that all proof is retained and no material will is lost during machining. The perpendicularity of the macros is being guaranteed.
Sander van Nieuwenhuijzen, operational manager of Exova in the Netherlands, said: "Due to the increased demands on pipeline integrity, it is important that any defect in the welds are detected, accurately located, sized and reported quickly. It is only by partnering with the industry leaders that Exova has been able to develop this unique capability. New innovations like this will help improve the industry's reputation and production efficiency."
"The new testing method offers better inspection detection and sizing capabilities helping NDT companies to improve their POD and sizing accuracy, as extreme critical analysis can be performed. This is crucial for our clients, as we offer them enhanced confidence that their pipeline welds are free from critical defects."
Together with the Oil majors the Exova laboratory in Spijkenisse, The Netherlands, designed a testing procedure that will be made available to the company's clients throughout the world. On request of the industry Exova has directly expanded its portfolio and invested in identical instrumentation for both IUT and Macro validation in Houston, USA. Other locations are currently under evaluation.
The Spijkenisse laboratory is one of Exova's leading materials testing laboratories, offering mechanical, destructive, chemical and corrosion testing as well as failure analysis.
In addition, the company provides fracture mechanics testing, oil testing and reservoir engineering services.