Pigtek were contacted by a customer in Europe regarding a difficult pipeline cleaning issue they were experiencing.
The customer had previously operated a plant that was used to manufacture titanium. The raw material used to extract the metal was transported to the plant in a slurry via a 12” diameter pipeline. When the plant was shut down and demolished, the pipeline was flushed with fresh water to remove the slurry, however subsequent close inspection of the pipeline revealed that the internal wall of the pipe was coated in a layer of very hard scale. The customer required that this scale was totally removed so that the pipeline could be abandoned without any environmental impact.
Initially the customer brought in a contractor who specialised in high pressure jetting. After a number of trials, the jetting method was found to be only partially successful and did not clean the pipe to the required standard. Another contractor was awarded a trial to clean the pipeline using pigs, however the methodology and pigs used again failed to clean the pipeline to an acceptable level.
In late 2014, Pigtek were awarded a contract to clean two trial sections of the pipe. Heavy-duty cleaning pigs were designed and developed specifically for this purpose. The pipeline sections were inspected by crawler camera before, during and after the trials. Sections of pipe were also cut out for third party examination, which confirmed that the pipe was cleaned to a standard that exceeded the customer’s expectations. Following on the from the successful trials, Pigtek were awarded the contract to provide cleaning services for the remainder of the pipeline and this is expected to be completed in the first half of 2015.