What it means: A device used to clean and/or inspect the internal surface of a pipeline. They are inserted into the pipeline by means of a device called a pig-trap and pushed through the line by pressure of the flowing fluid, usually gas.
See it in action: While this kind of pig doesn’t taste very good, it’s essential in maintaining pipeline safety and integrity. Pigs are inserted at special points in the pipeline called “pig launchers” and pushed through the pipe by the flow of gas, during their trip to the extraction point they perform a number of tasks, ranging from cleaning, to maintenance, to pipeline integrity testing.
Pigs are becoming increasingly refined in their ability to gather data during their trip through the pipeline. So called smart pigs are involved in more complex operations, including measuring pipeline wall thickness and identifying irregularities while letting the operator know exactly where in the pipeline any potential problem areas are located.
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Published: July 30, 2012
Last Updated: July 31, 2012