Buildup in a pipeline can be very problematic. It can slow it down or even plug the pipeline. Cracks in the line can even be dangerous. To ensure that everything is running smoothly, pipeline pigging is essential.
Pipeline pigs are maintenance tools that are put into the line through a pig trap. The pig trap has a launcher and a receiver. They can be utilized without interrupting the flow of the pipeline. Pigs form the shape of a cylinder or a sphere so that they can be swept through the line and scrape the sides of the pipeline. By scraping the edges, the pig can push the debris out of the way. Not only does the pig clean the line, it also inspects the interior to check for potential problems.
Functions of Pigs
There are several different types of pigs to serve different functions. When choosing the right pig, engineers must determine the functions that pig is fulfilling. The pig needs to be a certain size to match the size of the line. Different workplace conditions call for different styles of pigs. Lastly, pipelines are unique and have different layouts compared to other pipelines. The pig needs to be able to perform correctly for specific pipelines.
Types of Pigs
There are a few different types of pigs. Utility pigs are used simply to remove debris and unwanted material in the line. Debris accumulates in the line during construction. Utility pigs are necessary because the pipeline needs to be pigged before production begins. There are several types of utility pigs such as mandrel pigs, solid cast pigs, foam pigs, and spherical pigs. Sometimes liquid will get stuck in the line so sealing pigs are utilized to remove it from the pipeline. Inline pigs are used to inspect the inside of the pipeline.
Specialty pigs plug the line and they can also isolate specific locations in the line. These plugs keep the pressure of the pipeline in the line. This is done by closing off the pipeline so that work can be performed on the line. Gel pigs are different because they are a made of a liquid chemical rather than a cylindrical object. Gel is pumped through the line and can be used with other types of pigs. These pigs are used for product separation, hyrotesting, debris removal, and removing a pig that is stuck.
There are several pieces of equipment are necessary for the pipeline to function correctly such as pig launchers, signalers, pig skids, pipeline skids, and hydrostatic test heads that all need to be in working order for production. Equipment has to be constantly maintained to prevent any mishaps or problems in the future.
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