A new project, part-funded by the Technology Strategy Board and launched by Plant Integrity Ltd and Brunel University in September 2013, aims to enable effective condition monitoring of steam lines which experience temperatures up to and in excess of 350°C. The project, UltraSteamLine, will also be valuable for use with high temperature pipelines in oil refineries. UltraSteamLine's three-year programme of work will develop Plant Integrity's own Teletest Focus+ guided wave system to increase its temperature capability, and will culminate in industry field trials.
There is a need for inspection and condition monitoring of high temperature pipelines in petrochemical and electrical power plants. High temperatures and pressures experienced in these pipelines, particularly for ageing plants can lead to creep, fatigue and corrosion type defects. Therefore, safety is of paramount importance and regular maintenance is carried out during planned outages at ambient temperatures employing conventional non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques such as visual inspection, manual ultrasonic techniques and eddy current.
UltraSteamLine will extend these options, using the Teletest Focus+ guided wave system to allow inspection and condition monitoring in high temperature conditions and making it easier to inspect large areas without, for example, removing insulation and erecting scaffolding.
Teletest Focus+ is already in extensive use by industry to inspect large areas from a single location for temperatures up to 120°C. With its most recent version incorporating a more robust encapsulation method, new sensors and a collar design to enable inspection up to 240°C, operators currently add the Permamount system for condition monitoring.
The UltraSteamLine project consortium will design new sensors to enable the system to operate at temperatures in excess of 350°C, signal processing routines to enable temperature compensation, and robust trend analysis software to realise a high temperature and permanently installed Teletest Focus+ guided wave system. Field trials will be carried out in the final year of the work and a number of companies have already expressed an interest in assisting the consortium with these trials.
For further information about the UltraSteamLine project, or if you wish to get involved as an end user to trial the prototype system please contact Keith Thornicroft on +44 (0)1223 899505.