Pipelines are manufactured and delivered to the end clients/pipe lay contractors with identification details, based on unique alphanumeric and/or numeric codes, which are dot peened onto the pipe surface and/or indelibly either paint or ink marked on the pipe coating surface at the source of manufacture. Manual tracking of the identification code normally comprises tracking of line pipe on receipt at the pipeline fabrication location and monitoring through the firing line operations. This system is inefficient, prone to errors and has limited flexibility for data storage, analysis and reporting. The dependence on manual management of production data is also an obstacle to the wider implementation of automated manufacturing technologies and to achieving further production efficiency improvements.
What is required is a standardised line pipe tagging and tracking system which has the capacity to automatically read the line pipe identity details and to capture the data. The identity tag must also have sufficient durability and integrity considering the processes that occur during both the manufacture of the pipe and all subsequent operations including transferability at coating mills and pipe lay installation offshore. Such a system should be integrated with software to enable full traceability including all material, manufacturing and inspection data. The identity tag details should be easily transferable from the bare pipe to the pipe coating.
The following characteristics should be considered in the final technology offering:
- Suitable for fully automatic deployment.
- High volume tagging of pipe, multiples of 1000’s.
- Readable on land and subsea at all tag orientations – specify approximate readable distances for both.
- Design life of 25 years (minimum).
- Be applicable to pipeline plastic and metal surfaces (PP, PE, PU and FBE. Carbon steel, CRA and clad pipe). Variance of sizes, 2 inches to 20 inches diameter.
- Minimal environmental impact during lifetime and failure..