Inspecting Pipelines with the scanCONTROL Laser Scanner

It is necessary to inspect pipelines to ensure the absence of cracks or deformations inside. This task can be performed at the highest precision Micro-Epsilon’s scanCONTROL laser scanner. Defects within the pipeline may cause pipe failure. Especially, the weld seam is a key feature when examining for leakages.

Pipelines are employed for oil or gas transportation over long distances – a more economical approach compared to using tankers. In fact, some pipelines may extend to several thousand kilometers. Since pipelines are normally operate at high pressures, the pipe material, for example steel, is strongly affected. Pressure surges, corrosion, and other external influences can cause damage to the pipes. Hence, it is necessary to accurately inspect possible damages or weak points in a pipe, especially at the welded seams.

To travel along and inspect the kilometer-long pipeline, DEKRA's (German Motor Vehicle Inspection Association in Germany) fully automatic vehicle is employed, on which the inspection equipment is installed. The 26 kg vehicle moves at a speed of around 600 mm/s. The HD camera with light source, the laser scanner, and the monitoring camera for path control are at the front. Also, the vehicle is equipped with a cooling system for use in desert conditions. Although the length of the cable is 100 m, it is possible to extend the cable length.

The pipeline vehicle with installed equipment and scanCONTROL

The pipeline vehicle with installed equipment and scanCONTROL

The vehicle is ideally suited for all kinds of pipelines, as it is protected against dust, sand, and ambient temperatures of up to 100 °C. It easily travels up gradients to approximately +/- 45 °C. The fifth wheel on the top of the vehicle is the support wheel that is pressed against the top of the pipeline. All data can be output for further use or, if required, send an alarm immediately after the occurrence of a defect in the geometry (roundness, welds, bumps, etc.). The pipeline vehicle is ideal for diameters from 16“ to 36“ (approximately 40 to 86 cm). Also, the ROV can be adapted to larger and smaller pipe diameters.

What is scanCONTROL?

Laser scanners from the scanCONTROL series are one of the world’s highest performing profile sensors in terms of accuracy and measuring rate. These scanners detect, measure, and assess the profiles on various object surfaces. The models available are ideal for a wide range of industrial applications.

The scanCONTROL laser scanner measures with highest precision and is amongst others used for pipeline inspection.

The scanCONTROL laser scanner measures with highest precision and is amongst others used for pipeline inspection.

The free scanCONTROL Configuration Tools standard software can be used to solve various measurement tasks. Models for the customer’s own programming are offered for integrators. Micro-Epsilon supplies with the scanCONTROL series from the pre-configured sensor to the complicated measurement systems all from a single source. Typical measured quantities include profile, height, width, depth, groove, edge, angle, bead, presence, roundness, deformation, flatness etc.

Measuring Principle

Micro-Epsilon’s laser scanners detect two-dimensional profiles on different target surfaces using the laser triangulation principle. Special lenses are used to enlarge a laser beam to form a static laser line and project it onto the target surface. The diffusely reflected light of this laser line is projected by the optical system onto a highly sensitive sensor matrix. From this matrix image, the distance information (z-axis) and the position alongside the laser line (x-axis) are calculated by the controller. These measured values are then output in a two-dimensional coordinate system that is fixed with respect to the sensor. As a result, 3D measurement values can be obtained in the case of a traversing sensor or moving objects.

Weld seam inspection using scanCONTROL

Weld seam inspection using scanCONTROL

Different Classes

Micro-Epsilon offers different classes of scanCONTROL lasers. The scanCONTROL 2600 and 2900 sensors are ideal for static as well as dynamic measurement tasks. A profile frequency of up to 300 Hz is offered by the compact sensors, which are used for raw profile data transmission. A "HIGHSPEED" class is also available. The scanCONTROL 2650 and 2950 sensors are ideally suited for advanced high speed and 3D applications. These sensors offer a profile frequency of up 4,000 Hz and are also used for raw profile data transmission. The scanCONTROL 2610 and 2910 SMART models offer a plug-and-play solution in the integrated controller for simple-to-complicated measurement tasks.

The sensor has the same structure of the COMPACT and HIGH SPEED classes. The scanner outputs the measurement values after evaluating the recorded profiles. Another technology offered by Micro-Epsilon is the Blue Laser technology. The use of a short wavelength of 405 nm is the innovative feature of the sensors. The excellent characteristics of this wavelength range allow performing reliable measurements, which have been a challenging task to complete using red laser scanners until today. The Blue Laser technology is particularly useful to measure red-hot glowing metals, (semi-) transparent and organic materials.

3D scan of weld seam

3D scan of weld seam

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Micro Epsilon.

For more information on this source, please visit Micro Epsilon.

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