An all-new, data-driven sensor-based ‘Smart Sleeve’ product for use in pipeline maintenance and repairs is under development to provide pipeline operators and regulators with a new benchmark in cost-effective operations, safety and peace of mind.
The initiative is led by Lloyd’s Register (LR), a leading global provider of engineering and technology-centric professional services, and Western Specialties (WS), to develop and commercialize a novel integrated “smart” pipeline repair method. WS is a technology company that specializes in composite reinforcement systems focused on pipelines and is excited to release new reinforcement solutions that integrates LR’s technology and sensing capabilities.
This new technology will provide the industry with one of the world’s first commercially-available intelligent pipeline monitoring and repair sensing solutions.
“We are taking two existing technologies that are currently being used today and merging them into something that can finally provide insight to operators and regulators on their aging infrastructure” says Ryan LaVergne, Director of Technology from WS. “Taking this proactive approach on monitoring anomalies can help predict what’s going without having to perform future digs as well as give a multitude of data points used in future calculations.”
“External forces, terrain movement, undetected breach of the structure, or the impact of corrosion are among many possibilities,” highlights Clinton Abbate from LR’s Energy business. “It is common knowledge that recent years haven’t been kind to the pipeline industry. But now, as the market begins to settle and new methods of improved operation take hold, LR’s new and critical piece of technology could be the answer that many operators are looking for.”
One of the brains behind the new initiative is Alan Turner from LR’s Innovations business: “Our technology contains sensors enabling a variety of features, including pressure, temperature and the possibility to monitor for overburden, re-rate, corrosion/crack monitoring and movement in geologically active areas and can detect when repairs that are made to a pipeline are in need of inspection reducing the need for unnecessary digs. It is a 24/7 monitoring system that offers pipeline operators and regulatory authorities an overview of how safe a pipeline actually is every minute of every day.”
Unlike current market offerings on “typical” repair solutions, this method prototyped by LR and WS gives the best of both worlds by providing a repair solution and monitoring system built into one. “The future integrity or life expectancy of the repair has always been a big question and now that can be realized” says LaVergne “to the DOT and State Regulatory Authorities.”
“We can set our ‘Smart Sleeve’ and sensor product to record and timestamp all movement, direction of movement, pressure, temperature and strain, storing information locally which is easily integrated and retrieved via the operator’s own IT system,” says Turner. “LR’s technology solution provides pipeline operators with advanced analytics to give a clear picture of what’s going on with a pipeline at any time. This will also enhance LR Engineers support for our customers suppling them with more informed reporting helping the operator to reduce risk”
And if something doesn’t look quite right, ‘Smart Sleeve’ can trigger a response for inspection or provide operators with a choice of options to minimize disruption or harm to individuals or the environment so that the pipeline facility remains intact and safe.
“At LR we are constantly challenging the industry norm to develop better and improved products that help further improve how operators can better manage their pipeline operations and monitoring systems,” says Turner. “We develop these products based on customer feedback, and since our expertise has expanded beyond smart sensing of pipeline operations, our customers’ top wish is to be able to monitor the physical repairs of their pipelines using dashboards that allow full monitoring of the pipeline including the physical repairs made on a pipeline and the anomaly under the repair. In addition operational parameters such as pressure and temperature allowing for leak detection can be realized. This is what we have now successfully developed with Western Specialties.”
Selecting the right technology solution for many pipeline operators can be a daunting task. “With so much to consider and so much operational data available to draw meaningful insights from, it’s beneficial to have a partner by your side who’s been there and done that – and can give you the tools you need to progress,” highlights Abbate. “Our extensive expertise and technical ‘know-how’ gives operators the right solutions for the right application, so they can concentrate on the job at hand.”
The new ‘Smart Sleeve’ product is seen to be a viable solution to enable pipelines to operate at full pressure giving more production and maximizing income for their businesses. It critically reduces the risk of gaining penalties that could arise from damage, corrosion, material failure, leaks or ruptures that frequently lead to costly civil liability claims.
“Putting sensors on pipelines has been going on for years to monitor for leaks, intrusion and movement. Repairing defects, dents, gauges, corrosion, and leaks in pipelines can be a costly and resource-intensive task. The costs borne out by the operators over the years total US$ Millions. But to make that task less costly and more efficient, I believe what we are doing is novel by integrating the sensors into the pipeline repairs,” highlights Turner. “This enables operators and regulators to precisely monitor the health of the pipeline repair and the anomaly under the repair, in addition to assessing the operational conditions and entire pipeline movement.”
About Lloyd’s Register
Lloyd’s Register (LR) is a global engineering, technical and business services organization wholly owned by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, a UK charity dedicated to research and education in science and engineering. Founded in 1760 as a marine classification society, LR now operates across many energy industry sectors, with around 9,000 employees in the Group across 78 countries.
LR has a long-standing reputation for integrity, impartiality and technical excellence. Our compliance, risk and technical consultancy services give clients confidence that their assets and businesses are safe, sustainable and dependable. Through our global technology centers and research network, LR is at the forefront of understanding the application of new science and technology to future-proof our clients’ businesses.
About Western Specialties
Western Specialties has been in the pipeline repair industry for almost a decade now and holds multiple patents with the Composi-Sleeve TM system and now the “Smart Sleeve” system. Our reinforcement solutions have been tested by a 3 rd party engineering and testing company and hold meet the requirements of ASME PCC-2.
Western Specialties has spent numerous years developing their technologies to the highest safety standards, as well listening to our customer’s needs on what they want.