The Bevel 360 tool in operation. Photos from OMS.
In deepwater pipeline projects, welding fatigue-sensitive steel catenary risers (SCR), corrosion resistant alloy (CRA) pipes and flowline pipes to tight specifications is critical.
Counter-boring offers a way to control pipe geometry, but, due to cost considerations or pipe wall thickness limitations, is not always viable.
In order to minimize project risk, pipelay installation contractors and welders need to capture, record and analyze pipe end geometry quickly and accurately. Used correctly, this data can then help to ensure that pipes will fit together easily and within the welding specification requirements.
Red lasers are being used in engineering measurement, including for measuring the ends of oxidized steel pipes. However, they tend to create unwanted levels of distortion on highly reflective materials, making it hard to accurately measure profiles on certain metals.
UK-based Optical Metrology Services (OMS) has developed technology using blue lasers for pipe dimension and bevel analysis. Unlike red lasers, which operate at a wavelength of between 620-750 nanometers, blue lasers operate at a shorter wavelength of 405 nanometers, which makes it ideal when measuring hot or highly polished surfaces. OMS worked closely with Micro-Epsilon, a UK manufacturer, to find the right laser line scanners for its new tool, Bevel 360. Bevel 360 uses these lasers to perform a complete scan of the pipe end in about 25 seconds, producing a complete profile of the bevel face, enabling installation contractors to accurately check bevel geometry before the pipes are joined and welded.