Smart Pig

Definition - What does Smart Pig mean?

A Smart Pig is a pipeline pig that is used to perform the operations related to pipeline maintenance. These pigs are loaded into a launching station known as a pig launcher. They are then launched inside the pig launcher, where high-pressure fluid or gas forces them to reach to the other end of the pipe, which is known as a pig catcher, receiving trap or receiving station. The smart pigs thus move inside a pipeline without halting the high-pressure flow of the crude oil, refined product or natural gas. They also detect and clean any internal flaws in the pipeline.

Petropedia explains Smart Pig

The term “pigs” in Smart Pigs refers to “Pipeline Intervention Gadgets” and they are called “Smart” because of the following reasons:

  • They are used in the pipelines which pass through remote areas (areas where human intervention is very less).
  • They communicate the internal pipeline integrity data with the remote sensors installed across the pipelines and with the help of satellite communication and SCADA systems they show the results on the human interface at the control station. They work on the principles of MFL (Magnetic Flux Leakage) and Ultrasonics and all the signals are shared with the RTU’s (Remote Terminal Units) which in turn share data with SCADA systems.
The pigs are also referred to as maintenance tools for pipelines as they check the internal defects, cracks and clean the slurry. The Pigging process is usually carried out without affecting or stopping the flow of the product in the pipeline.

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