Corrosion monitoring of pipelines

The corrosion monitoring of pipelines for perfect function is an essential prerequisite for the availability, performance and safety of plants. The quality management of these pipe systems includes a thorough analysis of the actual condition. This is done today by visual inspection and mainly during plant shutdowns. Digital monitoring holds great potential for service companies and ultimately for the operator / owner.

For this purpose, sensors are installed between the insulation and the pipeline. They send the position / temperature and humidity to a gateway via Bluetooth. Here, the data is collected and sent to the control room or to an evaluation system in the cloud. Using suitable algorithms, the corrosion can now be viewed as a function of ambient temperature and process.


The solution:

IIoT Guidance conducted several interviews to determine the needs of the customers. The aim was to deliver transparency and to digitalize the knowledge and experience of the field workers.

At the heart of the scenario are sensors, installed between the insulation and the pipeline. They collect information about the vibration / temperature and humidity.

Data connection to the gateway is possible by different options:

  • Option 1) traditionally cabled by 4-20mA. This type is since decades at the market available and proved. Furthermore, therefore is also no battery exchange needed.
  • Option 2) wireless connection via 2G/ 3G/ 4G
  • Option 3) wireless connection via LoraWan
  • Option 4) wireless connection via Bluetooth

Each option has specific advantages and disadvantages to consider.

In precise defined time intervals, only essential data will be sent out with a focus on as less as possible data usage and a long battery life time but also transparency of system changes. 

A battery powered and international certified gateway is mounted. This enables mounting and repair directly in the field without explicit expert knowledge. Initial parametrisation is executed by the installer but later via 4G. The expected battery lifetime is 7 years for the adjusted receive & send interval. A longer lifetime in the field can be reached by a larger battery pack because there are no requirements of portability in the field for the gateways.

Data transfer is planned encrypted to a secure cloud or/ and control room.

A with the customer jointly developed alogrithm will be used. The focus is on data collection and the digital description of the corrosion process. This challenge is a perennial process with intensive exchange between field service specialists and the algorithm development team. Target: Transparency for Condition monitoring, Predictive maintenance and finally Condition based maintenance. Means, insidious changes cannot be detected in short-term monitoring. A forecast is required and a controlling with real data. This is today only possible with maintenance by a field worker and a costly plant downtime.

The different target groups having a need of different interaction ways. The field and service workers can interact via certified mobile phones and mobile SCADA systems directly in the hazardous environments. They get also direct informed when errors occur and they also can send to the system maintenance information.

The SCADA system collect the information and visualize them with focus of alarm is there is a need for action and critical changes occurs.

The user interface was especially designed together with the different target groups to show information as needed and most important from the target group accepted.

The installation and the first field tests of the IIoT system has been executed locally by IIoT-Guidance. In future, this part is planned by local partners. Also, the customer field service is planned in the same way.   

Furthermore, it is planned to interconnect and monitor further global subsidiaries. By this action the customer plans to reduce costs, and to rise transparency and finally reduce plant downtimes. An optimization of the common developed algorithm is focused by the established collaboration, even for further IIoT projects.

The result:

  • Simple and fast installation / retrofit
  • Reliable data transmission
  • Greater plant availability through continuous monitoring
  • Reduction of failures thanks to transparency
  • Savings on manual, expensive tests through automatic measurements
  • Convenient monitoring of pipeline parts directly in the control system