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Innovative wall thickness monitoring system can save industry >85% over traditional methods

Project Summary

A field trial of the Permasense (now Emerson Rosemount) wireless wall thickness measurement system was undertaken on the Chevron Alba Northern Platform. The technology consists of a non-intrusive, wireless sensor which provides continuous measurement of pipework wall thickness. Each sensor can route the data it collects back to the data gateway and has a battery life of up to nine years, which minimises maintenance requirements.

The trial focussed on the water injection system and consisted of eight ET210 sensors installed on a number of key bends (at the 6 o’clock position) and at straight sections of pipework, recording wall thickness readings over a period of six months.

Industry value:
The Permasense wireless wall thickness monitoring system has the potential to save the industry >85% over traditional wall thickness measuring methods. The overall cost saving per annum for one single monitoring location would be in the region of £3,500.

Sensors can be fitted on insulated and uninsulated equipment. When insulated, the sensors are fitted underneath insulation, which has the potential to significantly reduce costs – insulation does not require to be stripped and reapplied every time an inspection is required. In addition to this, the sensors are low power with up to nine years battery life, minimising maintenance throughout operations.

Key results:
The sensors recorded good quality ultrasonic waveforms, which resulted in stable and reliable thickness trends for the duration of the six-month trial. Four sensors recorded measurable wall loss with two of the sensors recording rates greater than 0.8mm/year and the other four measured no loss of wall thickness.

The findings from the sensors were similar to the manual checks carried out during the trial period, therefore the trial was deemed a success.

Lessons learned:
The system proved to be extremely robust in the harsh environment of the North Sea. The information provided from the ‘real-time’ monitoring data could also be advantageous to the majority of chemical treatment programmes by establishing sweet points, identifying problematic areas within a system while ultimately reducing the overall chemical dosage rates, potentially helping the environment and producing long-term cost saving.

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