19 May 2023 Insights

Non-Intrusive vs Intrusive Pig Signallers – Improved Confidence and Data for Modern Pipeline Control

ID5000A Ultrasonic Pig Signaller

Once good enough, no longer.

Intrusive Pig Signallers

Intrusive Pig Signallers have been around a long time and really haven’t moved forward to meet the needs of modern Pipeline Control or Pipeline Control Rooms.  Typically, in the past the pig sig was tripped and a Field tech on site communicated the pig passed message and reset it for the next run…. Or did they?  Sometimes, the Intrusive Pig Signaller didn’t trip due to poorly maintained internals or because of improper installation in the pipe.  Later, to help cut some of the costs, the addition of relays in a junction box were added to provide some indication when the Intrusive Pig Signaller did trip to a SCADA RTU.

Meeting the needs of today and tomorrow

Non-Intrusive Pig signallers today provide local indication with Flashing RED lights upon pig passage, remote indication to control room via Relay outputs and Analog 4-20mA signals (if you don’t have relay input slots available on your RTU) . MODBUS RS485 is available so that data from any specific unit can be viewed in the control room live and after the event. The MODBUS connection allows data logging, information viewing & reprogramming.

If there is no tie in to the control room via SCADA or other operators require the information direclty, Long Range Radio connection (LoRaWan) high security (chirp spread spectrum) with daisy chain systems that can communicate for many miles/kilometres is.  Equally Satellite Communication & GSM are available.

Non-Intrusive Pig Signallers are smarter, longer lived, more capable of describing the passage and as mentioned briefly in the 3rd instalment there are also many more options than just simple hall effect magnetic indication.  3 axis Magnetometers provide description and direction of detected magnetic signals.  Settings can be customized to detect the approach of ILI tools as differentiated to simple maintenance pigs. 

Ultrasonic Active pig trackers can be programmed to ignore sand and bubbles and just look for the appropriate amount of missing return pulses.  Acoustic trackers can listen to the characteristic approach and pass characteristics a pig in a line.

Non-Intrusive trackers provide more detection options, more detection signal characteristics, more communication options, and easier installation than older generations of equipment.  Non-Intrusive Pig Signallers are ready made to work with your digital twin representations in the SCADA control system and diagnostics to provide much more information to your Machine learning and AI predictive software.

Let us know your needs so we can arrange field trial units and training for your personnel.