May 2016
Gas Transmission
Utilisation of 3D Laser Scanners for pipeline damage and coating assessments.
May 2016
Mar 2017
National Grid Gas Transmission
James Gilliver,
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Network Innovation Allowance
Electricity Transmission Networks
Conventional measurement techniques to assess pipeline damage have largely been manual. Methods to improve accuracy and timeliness of these measurements have advanced and prompted National Grid to assess the capability of hand held 3D scanners under a former NIA (NGGT 0054) project. The findings of this laboratory based assessment concluded that:

3D laser scanners were more convenient to use.

The overall measurement process was easier and in the majority of cases more accurate than the comparable P11 techniques.

There was a potential 90% time saving in result collection.

The 3D laser scanner was compatible with the P11 procedure.

The original programme only provided the indicative 3D scanner performance envelope. To fully realise the potential of 3D laser scanners within the business, particularly for use assessing highly critical issues such as pipeline damage, it will be necessary to evaluate the representative equipment under field conditions.

This programme will incorporate the necessary protocols to provide a fully compatible set of 3D scanner trails covering the P11 procedure. This will enable a direct comparison with the traditional evaluation techniques. To fully evaluate the effectiveness and flexibility of the 3D laser scanner, these trials will be extended to incorporate the assessment of pipeline paint coating systems (as part of National Grid’s CM/4 process) which is a departure from the original scanner evaluation programme. The implications of coating evaluation will have considerable potential benefits in time and consistency over the current visual survey methodologies.

The accuracy and the speed of data collection and retention capabilities of the 3D laser scanner offer considerable in field opportunities in terms of ease of use, data quality and repeatability. This programme will address the issues of technician familiarity, training and standard(s) alignment to ease the adoption of this equipment type within the business.

The programme will undertake a full field assessment of a 3D laser scanning system in terms of pipeline damage (P11) assessments and coating evaluations (CM4). The programme will provide the necessary training and standards alignment to facilitate the adoption of the equipment across the network if the trails crealise the potential benefits as indicated in the earlier review.

The programme will:

  • Provide a full in service review of a 3D laser scanner for P11 (pipeline damage) and CM4 (coating) assessments.

  • Provide the necessary trained technical resource to facilitate the adoption of this equipment type across the network.

  • Align the necessary National Grid standards to allow the use of 3D scanners across the network for traditional NDT assessments.