Smart Pig

Definition - What does Smart Pig mean?

A smart pig is an inspection device that records information about the internal conditions of a pipeline. It is used to detect and measure corrosion and metal loss internally and externally on the pipe wall. Smart pigs can also detect curvatures in the pipeline.

When referring to using a smart pig for a pipeline some may refer to the process as "pigging the pipeline."

A smart pig is also known as a pipe pig, pipeline pig, pipeline inspection gauge, pipeline inline inspection tool, natural gas pipeline inspection tool or corrosion detection pig.

Corrosionpedia explains Smart Pig

Smart pigs are pipeline inspection tools that consist of large pieces of machinery combined with powerful technology that help with the maintenance of pipelines.

These inspection tools provide data on the condition of pipelines, which helps gauge the health and integrity of the pipes. These smart pigs ensure that transmission of the product does not stop due to pipeline integrity issues, which can be disastrous.

Smart pigs can be inserted into the pipeline at a location, such as a valve or pump station, that has a special configuration of pipes and valves where the tool can be loaded into a receiver. The receiver is closed and sealed, and the flow of the pipeline product can be directed to launch the tool into the main line of the pipeline. A similar setup is located downstream, where the tool is directed out of the main line into a receiver, removed from the pipeline, and the recorded data retrieved for analysis and reporting.

Smart pigs may measure several different things from inside the pipeline, including restrictions and deformations of the pipe, as well as metal loss. Odometer wheels are used to measure exactly where the pig is within the pipeline.

Smart pigs are used to detect problems such as:

  • Stress corrosion cracking
  • General corrosion
  • Pitting corrosion
  • Gouges
  • Dents
  • Anomalous weld seams
  • Longitudinal cracks
  • Longitudinal grooves

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