Pipelines are an essential part of infrastructure across the world. Whether they are transporting oil and gas, water supplies or substances within chemical plants, they play a pivotal role in keeping the global economy healthy. But when pipelines fail, the results can be catastrophic, threatening both human lives, profits and the environment. Thankfully, innovative new smart monitoring systems are available which can minimise the risk of failure and ensure that piping remains in good condition, for as long as possible. These systems link into the rapidly expanding Internet of Things (IoT), which will play a key role in protecting pipelines in the future. It’s already working wonders in several key sectors, and plenty of applications are yet to be explored.
HITACHI: Using Sense, Think, Act Systems to improve Water Supplies
Water is a crucial area where the IoT is playing a big part in changing the way companies monitor pipes. One firm which has embraced the technology in a big way is Hitachi, who are applying it to the Japanese water system. Using as a basis the ideas of “sensing, thinking and acting”, Hitachi have installed hundreds of kilometres of optical fibres in drains across Japan. These fibres allow them to sense water levels and the presence of corrosive gases. They can even provide feedback regarding general water quality.
With this data, technicians can sense when water levels are reaching dangerous levels, helping to handle potential floods. And the fibre optic system is optimised to deal with earthquakes as well. Through an Internet of Things-based remote sensing system, Hitachi are now in control of what passes through Japan’s water pipelines and drains, allowing them to “think” through challenges with all the information they need.
SHELL: Employing the Internet of Things to Protect Oil Pipelines
The situation is similar in the oil and gas sector, where industry giants are revolutionising the way they monitor oil & gas supplies. In the Niger Delta, Shell have sought new ways to prevent leaks, which both reduce profits, damage the environment and claim lives. By installing wireless Random Phase Multiple Access (RPMA) networks, they have been able to keep track of metrics like pressure and temperature across their network, without requiring huge investments in power infrastructure. Up in Alaska, far away from Nigeria, Hilcorp Energy have used similar solutions. Their Kenai Peninsular pumping operations were vulnerable to unpredictable failures. So they installed an IoT-based monitoring network, enabling technicians based in Ohio to monitor flows through their piping in the Arctic.
The many benefits of Using Smart Monitoring for Industrial Pipeline
These wireless sensing systems provide many benefits for oil & gas, chemical or water companies. For one thing, they allow engineers to “predict” failures before anything goes wrong. They can know instantly when pressure or temperature levels spike, and keep an eye on structural integrity. They also reduce the need for physical checks and infrastructure, lowering costs. Many pipelines are located in inhospitable locations, such as Hilcorp’s Arctic operations. But with remote systems, they can be monitored safely and effectively at a distance.
If your company or organisation relies on pipelines to transport vital materials, smart monitoring could be the way forward, Next is ready to help you implement the right solutions. Just give us a call or fill out our contact form, and a consultant will get back to you as soon as possible.