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Pipe integrity assessment From June 2009 newsletter

Pipe integrity assessment

Work is underway to develop more effective systems for detecting damage and fouling of pipes in food and drink production plant.This will enable earlier detection and repair work, extend the life cycle of materials and plant, and contribute to assurance of product safety and process efficiency.

The system is based on technology developed for detecting corrosion in long pipelines in the oil and gas industries by TWI Ltd (World Centre for Materials Joining Technology).The objective is to develop a low-cost, accurate and robust inspection system, using guided ultrasonic imaging, to detect corrosion in welds, fouling build-up and cracks found in food and drink product pipelines and heat exchangers. Crucially the technology will be applied to smaller pipes, often working at much higher temperatures.

One application is to assess when pipelines are clean and the plant is in a condition for food and drink materials to be processed - as influenced by fouling with fatty deposits, protein and limescale. A second application will focus on chloride induced stress corrosion cracking, an issue for salty products processed in heat exchangers and pumped through pipe systems.

Contact: Gary Tucker
+44(0)1386 842035