Author Archive

Voltage Gradient Probe – Safeguarding Divers in Subsea Operations

Posted on: May 17th, 2024 by Carey Aiken
Voltage Gradient Probe

When it comes to subsea operations, safety is paramount and monitoring voltage gradients is a necessity.  Voltage gradients pose a serious potential threat to divers, making their detection and management a critical aspect of subsea work.

In this blog post, we will introduce the Voltage Gradient Probe (VGP) – a product designed to tackle this challenge and provide divers with the assurance required to carry out their operations safely.  This is particularly important when working around subsea equipment connected to an electrical supply such as an impressed cathodic protection system.  This tool also highlights our commitment to safety and working closely with clients on bespoke designs.

Understanding the Need

The VGP was designed with a leading subsea contractor to address the critical safety issue posed by voltage gradients in subsea operations.  It is a robust tool that provides added diver safety and diving assurance in accordance with IMCA 45 standard D044, R015.     

Enhanced Visibility

The VGP is a reliable indicator, alerting users to the presence and magnitude of AC voltage gradients through a series of six LEDs.  These LEDs illuminate progressively at clearly defined trigger voltages, in an easy to interpret “traffic light” configuration.

Safety by Design

Safety is built into the VGP’s design.  It arrives pre-fitted with an insulating cap, protecting against inadvertent contact with known or suspected “live” parts.  Additionally, a dedicated Battery Status LED provides a clear indication of battery life and operational readiness ensuring you won’t be caught off guard by a depleted battery during critical operations.

Testing for Assurance

Prior to deployment, users can conduct a comprehensive functionality test using the VGP’s dedicated Testbox.  This streamlined process ensures operational integrity and enhances user confidence before subsea deployment.

Safety Elevated, Confidence Assured

In subsea operations, safety isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity.  The Voltage Gradient Probe offers robust solutions to mitigate risks associated with voltage gradients.  From its intuitive LED display to its comprehensive pre-deployment checks, the VGP provides divers with confidence, ensuring safety remains at the forefront of every operation.

To find out more about the Voltage Gradient Probe, get in touch today!

Introducing EMTx40: Enhanced Power for Tracking Efficiency

Posted on: May 13th, 2024 by Carey Aiken

We are thrilled to introduce the latest addition to our Electromagnetic Transmitter range – the EMTx40.

Designed for pipelines 10″ and larger, the EMTx40 boasts enhanced power, improving detectability and reducing operational downtime and costs.

The EMTx40 is also compatible with our EMTx Config Apps, providing flexibility and giving you complete control over transmitter parameters.

Customise your tracking, enhance operational efficiency and ensure project success with our range of EM transmitters.

New Material Controller Joins IK Trax

Posted on: May 6th, 2024 by Carey Aiken

We are excited to announce that Michael Bruce has joined the IK Trax team as Materials Controller.

Michael has over 25 years of experience in Materials and Logistics and will be responsible for the receiving, picking and packing of all goods in and out of the company.

Outside work, Michael unwinds by playing golf and cheering on his daughter during her football matches.

New Head of Projects Joins the IK Trax Team

Posted on: April 12th, 2024 by Carey Aiken

We are thrilled to announce Craig Miller as the newest addition to the IK Trax team.

With over 30 years of experience in the Oil and gas industry, Craig is a seasoned professional with a wealth of expertise ranging from Coil Tubing to Senior Management roles, predominantly in Asia, the Middle East, and most recently, Australia.

As our new Head of Projects, Craig will be leading our strategic initiatives, overseeing project management, and ensuring the successful execution of our projects. 

Outside of work, Craig enjoys eating out and unwinding at concerts. He also loves travelling with his wife and two boys.

International Women’s Day – Reflections, Challenges & Strategies for Success

Posted on: March 7th, 2024 by Carey Aiken

As we mark International Women’s Day, our Vice President Charlotte Hope shares her journey as a female leader in the energy sector. From breaking gender norms to discussing our company’s initiatives supporting women, Charlotte explores the evolving roles of women in the industry and offers valuable advice to aspiring female professionals. Join us in acknowledging and celebrating the achievements of women in oil and gas this International Women’s Day.

The Enduring Wisdom: Women Who Shaped My Journey

I am fortunate that there are many remarkable women that have shaped the person I am today. One such figure is my grandmother—an epitome of resilience, courage, and kindness. My grandmother was the OG of putting on your big girl pants and getting the job done. At the tender of 14, she left home to gain work experience on a remote farm. This bold move, especially for someone of her generation, showcased her determination to carve her path. As a child, I watched in awe as she worked tirelessly, displaying a unique blend of grit and determination. Despite the challenges of farming, there was always a twinkle in her eye—a silent reminder to approach life with both seriousness and a sense of humour. When faced with a dilemma, I often ask myself, ‘What would GGW do?’ The answer is usually: take a breath, prioritise tasks, and never succumb to the notion that you aren’t good enough or capable. However, her influence goes beyond tackling challenges. She imparted invaluable lessons in treating people with kindness and respect. This principle has been particularly impactful in my professional life, especially when working internationally. Understanding each other’s perspectives may be challenging in an environment where diverse cultures converge, but her wisdom resonates—never let the differences deter you from being kind and respectful.  Her teachings echo my daily life, reminding me that kindness transcends boundaries and respect is a universal language. As I navigate life, I carry with me the enduring lessons from a woman who faced adversity with grace and met challenges with unwavering strength.

Navigating Gender Norms in the Oil and Gas Industry

Growing up with a father immersed in the oil and gas industry, it felt almost natural for me to follow in his footsteps. Encouraged to break free from traditional roles, I kicked off my career in Accountancy—a field that has historically seen a more balanced gender presence. However, as my roles transitioned into more commercial and operational areas, especially while working in Africa, I faced my fair share of challenges. Despite holding senior positions, assumptions about my role persisted, highlighting the prevailing gender biases in the industry. During client meetings, people would often assume I was there as a note-taker.  While strides have been made in breaking down predefined gender roles, cultural nuances and stereotypes still present hurdles. I reflect on my journey, acknowledging the progress made while recognising that gender biases continue to influence perceptions of leadership qualities.

Unique Perspectives and Challenges

As a female leader, I’ve learned to leverage my emotional intuition to understand and motivate my team. However, the road is not without its challenges—gender biases often cast leadership qualities in a different light depending on one’s gender. What may be viewed as strength and assertiveness in a male leader is often labelled as aggressiveness or coldness in a female counterpart. Despite these obstacles, my unique perspective as a woman has equipped me with an understanding of women’s diverse responsibilities outside the workplace, emphasising the significance of achieving a healthy work-life balance.

Company Initiatives for Inclusivity: Our Commitment

At IK Trax, fostering inclusivity is a top priority. Initiatives supporting women include phased returns and part-time positions for those returning after maternity leave, coupled with flexible working hours accommodating childcare responsibilities. When I initially entered the industry, we faced a significant challenge of retaining highly skilled women after their maternity leave. Many struggled to balance childcare responsibilities and their careers. As their children got older, re-entering the job market became increasingly challenging due to the gap in their CV caused by their time away from work. We are committed to dismantling barriers hindering women’s progress and actively addressing overlooked issues, such as the impact of menopause on the workplace. This issue has long been overlooked but is finally gaining the attention it deserves.

The Strategic Move: Women’s Impact in the Industry

Promoting women’s involvement in the energy sector is a strategic move beyond morality. The diverse skill sets and perspectives women bring contribute significantly to innovation, problem-solving, and creativity and enable us to better understand and meet the needs of a diverse client base. While progress is visible in the representation of women in senior positions, mandated reporting sheds light on the persistent issue of inequality. Nevertheless, it’s encouraging to note a positive shift in the makeup of management at IK Trax and the IK Group, with two of the current Group VPs being female. At IK Trax, we also have women in managerial and technical roles, including our Workshop Supervisor.

Navigating the Path Ahead: My Advice

To aspiring women embarking on a career in the oil and gas industry, my advice is simple: seize every opportunity, believe in yourself, and don’t settle. It’s easy to underestimate your capabilities but believe me, you have the potential to achieve great things. In a world where negotiation styles often differ between genders, be assertive about what you bring to the table. Aim high and never settle for less than you deserve.  Speak up, and don’t be afraid to share your thoughts and ideas. If you see an opportunity for mentorship, latch onto it. Mentorship is akin to free career development, offering guidance and support as you navigate the complexities of your profession. I am a firm believer in getting the best out of everyone; let’s continue to support and uplift women, helping them fulfil their potential.  In my journey, I’ve found that women sometimes downplay their achievements. You are not just lucky to be in your position; you earned it. Have confidence in your skills, and remember that you can always learn and grow, even if there are gaps in your expertise. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s champion each other and recognise the achievements of women in our industry.

The Evolution of Pig Signallers in Pipeline Control – IK Trax featured in February Issue of PPSA Newsletter

Posted on: February 8th, 2024 by Carey Aiken
ID5002P Acoustic Pig Signaller

We’re thrilled to announce that IK Trax has been featured in the February issue of the PPSA newsletter.  Our article, titled “The Evolution of Pig Signallers in Pipeline Control” dives into the world of non-intrusive pig signallers and compares their technological advancements to traditional intrusive signallers.

We explore how non-intrusive pig signallers are revolutionising pipeline control with their advanced features and capabilities.  From advanced remote communication options that enable real-time monitoring to the provision of detailed and accurate data, they are leading the way towards safer and more effective pipeline operations.

If you’re curious about the latest innovations in pipeline control technology, be sure to check out the article by clicking here

Non-Intrusive Lead the Way – Feature in World Pipelines Magazine

Posted on: January 15th, 2024 by Carey Aiken
Close up of ID5000A Ultrasonic Signaller

Explore non-intrusive pig signallers in our latest World Pipelines magazine feature, “Non-Intrusive Leading the Way.”  This article outlines why non-intrusive methods surpass intrusive in terms of efficiency, cost-effectiveness and safety.

It also delves into the diverse technologies available and their unique features and practical applications, providing valuable insight into the impact of non-intrusive technologies on pipeline management.

Read the full article here.

Major Order Secured for Magnetic Pig Signallers – Strategic Shift to Non-Intrusive Technology

Posted on: December 19th, 2023 by Carey Aiken

We are delighted to end 2023 on a high note with the confirmation of an order for 78 x 4003 magnetic pig signallers.  These signallers are being provided as part of our customer’s supply for various key offshore contracts in the Middle East.

This project win is particularly noteworthy as we were able to change the specified signalling method from intrusive to non-intrusive.  Our MENA Regional Manager Kristina Oshin commented “For this project, the original specification was written around intrusive technology with the preferred signaller being very expensive and subject to a lengthy lead time.  We were able to explain the benefits of adopting a non-intrusive approach to the end user including increased reliability and being a more economically sustainable product.”

As we wrap up the fourth quarter of the year, we celebrate a highly successful period for the company marked by an influx of high-value orders, positioning us well for a busy and promising start to 2024.

4003 Magnetic Pig Signaller

Magnetic Pig Signallers – Considerations at the CAPEX Stage

Posted on: November 27th, 2023 by Carey Aiken

In the dynamic landscape of pipeline projects, the choice between non-intrusive and intrusive pig signallers can significantly impact both costs and operational efficiency. The blog post addresses some common objections and highlights the strategic benefits non-intrusive offers in CAPEX projects.

Overcoming Magnet Objections in CAPEX Projects

A common objection to non-intrusive pig signallers (or a reason to choose acoustic signallers) is the assumption that the pigs don’t have magnets.  While this holds some truth, a strategic approach during CAPEX projects involves ensuring that operational pigs come equipped with magnets.  Consideration could be given to purchasing startup pigs as part of the CAPEX project during commissioning.  Retrofitting magnets to existing pigs during their operational life is a complex task and generally this should be undertaken during manufacture in a competent facility with a proven design.  Although this may slightly increase the total cost, the long-term savings and advantages of non-intrusive signallers often outweigh the initial investment.  Alternatively, procuring new pigs with operator feedback incorporated into their design is a valuable exercise, contributing to enhanced operational efficiency.

Clarifying the Role of Foam Pigs in Operational Scenarios

Another common objection against magnetic pig signallers is their inability to detect foam pigs.  However, it is crucial to recognize that foam pigs, while serving specific purposes, may not be the most effective operational pigs.  The soft variety, commonly used for residual hydrotest water removal, can be supplemented by medium and high-density types for “rescue pig” or progressive cleaning operations.  In these cases, electromagnetic tracking devices can be seamlessly integrated, especially during non-routine operations. This not only addresses the objection but opens up possibilities for optimised pigging strategies.

Cost and Schedule Consideration in CAPEX

At the CAPEX stage, the cost dynamics heavily favour non-intrusive pig signallers over their intrusive counterparts.  Even before factoring in site fabrication, welding and non-destructive testing, intrusive systems tend to be more expensive.  Contractors often avoid the complexities of issuing valves separately, preferring suppliers to provide a limited number of highly specified diameter valves.  Non-intrusive signallers not only reduce costs but also minimizes schedule risks associated with acquiring pressurized fittings and valves.

The Need for Comprehensive Planning during FEED & EPC

Despite the obvious advantages of non-intrusive pig signallers, the nuances of pigging and the diverse challenges faced by operators throughout a pipeline’s lifespan are often overlooked during the FEED and EPC stages. industry tends to default to intrusive or even acoustic solutions without thoroughly exploring potentially superior alternatives.

In conclusion, embracing magnetic non-intrusive pig signallers in CAPEX projects proves to be a strategic choice, offering long-term savings, operational efficiency, and a more tailored approach to the unique challenges of pipeline operations.  By challenging common objections and considering modern solutions, operators can pave the way for a more cost-effective and resilient pipeline infrastructure.

Would you like more information? Click here to get in touch.

Choosing The Right Pig Signaller Model – Beyond The Datasheet

Posted on: November 17th, 2023 by Carey Aiken

With pig signallers, the real-world application is far more important than the often-inflexible specification and the need to standardise.  To truly get the optimal solution and therefore the biggest return on your pig signallers, an understanding of the job at hand, the types of pigs utilized and why are paramount.

Datasheets clearly outline the capabilities of various pig signaller models: magnetic pig signallers highlight the need for magnets, ultrasonic units claim to detect all types of pigs in liquid systems and acoustic pig signallers go one step further by detecting any pig in any system. While these statements are true, they only paint part of the picture when it comes to the “best solution” perspective. 

In this industry which typically operates on an EPC model for CAPEX developments and where standardization is often a requirement, the acoustic option appears to be the obvious choice.  The benefit of the acoustic signaller certainly applies when dealing with pipelines that are well distanced from background or intermittent noise. However, in relatively “noisy” environments, challenges arise.  Background or foreground noise can potentially mask the passage of the pig or generate noise falsely identified as a passing pig.

Consider scenarios like a helicopter causing background noise or noise related to the pig receiver’s operation and instrument proximity to the kicker line. The pig receiver process, valve alignment and changing acoustic profile during pig receipt contribute to the complexity.  Therefore, a prudent approach involves tailoring the best solution to the specific application, considering multiple factors and opportunities.

For metal bodied pigs, fitting them with magnets and using a magnetic signaller provides a more direct response, minimizing false positives and missed pigs

In liquid systems, an ultrasonic sensor proves effective for all pig types, again offering a more direct response.

If using an ultrasonic signaller, strategic sensor placement at challenging locations such as pig launch and receipt points, allows for detection of stalled pigs.

In cases involving foam pigs in wet gas systems for liquid management, the acoustic pig signaller stands out as the most suitable choice.

If the acoustic is the chosen technology, false positives can be screened out by communicating with the signaller.

In conclusion, the key lies in aligning the pig signaller technology with the unique demands of the application, considering factors like pig type, system characteristics, and environmental conditions to ensure optimal performance and reliability.

Get in touch to find out which pig signaller is right for you.