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Pipeline internal surface cleaning and calibration

Pipelines, regardless of the transported product, should have clean internal surface. Clean internal surface guarantees good operating parameters. Good operating parameters in turn provide for the pipeline efficiency which eventually leads to cost saving.


Types of cleaning works

All types of cleaning may be performed using cleaning pigs:

Cleaning after construction. Removal of debris from the pipeline and dents identification.

строительный мусор строительный мусор
строительный мусор строительный мусор строительный мусор

Pre-inspection cleaning. Assuring the best inspection results.

Routine cleaning. Corrosive buildups removal from product to minimize corrosion.

Cleaning per operating indications. Removal of auxiliary buildups creating bottlenecks, including removal of sand and clay, wax, etc. to maintain design flow rate.  

парафин песок и глина парафин
Paraffin Sand and clay Paraffin

Cleaning pig is equipment very flexible in application, easily customized for specific tasks, polyurethane discs and cups with highest wearing capacity allow performing cleaning works in practically any medium.

Cleaning pig types

Cleaning pigs used by NTC Neftegazdiagnostika proved themselves as having great inline cleaning efficiency. Cleaning pigs are designed so that optimum cleaning results are achieved at any pipeline conditions and circumstances, such as standard (R=3D) or narrow (R=1.5D) elbows, different types of debris, like heavy buildups, wax, scale, etc.

NTC Neftegazdiagnostika uses:

  • Cast foam (urethane-foam) cleaning pigs — fig. 1
 fig.1 Cast foam pigs
  • Cup cleaning pigs
  • Disc cleaning pigs

NTC Neftegazdiagnostika has 4 to 14 inch cleaning pigs available on one through bolt and 6 to 56 inch multiple-bolt pigs with 2 guides and 4 seal discs (fig. 2) or 2 cups instead of seal discs.  

fig. 2 Multiple-bolt pig for long sections with discs and gauging plate

For long sections long distance pigs (fig.2) are recommended to be used. This pig type is equipped with 4 cups, 4 guiding discs and 4 seal discs.

Cleaning pigs with a pig tracking transmitter (fig.3) are available for the range of 4 to 12 inches as a transmitter-pig or cleaning pig coupled with a transmitter-pig; for 14 or more inches – with a removable transmitter installed using a crossover flange – more details are provided below. All cleaning pigs may be used for both underground (offshore) and aboveground pipelines. The transmitter allows tracking the pig movement route and will show the stuck pig location if required. The transmitter operating time is 175 – 250 hours.

Cleaning pigs selection

Pigs with discs ideally suit for pipeline drying and commissioning and for product metering as well as for general cleaning. Standard pig configuration is bi-directional and provides for high cleaning level.

Guiding discs are made of high strength low wear polyurethane. They provide for the pig alignment in the pipeline, bear the pig weight and clean dirt from pipeline walls.

Seal discs are bigger in size than guiding ones and are also made of high strength low wear polyurethane. Seal discs function is creating pressure drop, for that purpose they should fit truly against the pipeline walls. In addition seal discs remove accumulated dirt, dust, wax and debris from the pipeline.  

Cup pigs are unidirectional. They ideally suit for use at low pressures. This type of pig is recommended to be run one of the first, especially in the situations when the pipeline was not cleaned for a long while, thus, it is not clear what volume of dirt accumulated inside. A risk of such pig sticking in the pipeline is minimum due to this pig low cleaning capacity and to the cup “bouncing” effect.  

Cleaning pigs tooling

Depending on the pipeline contamination level cleaning pigs may be equipped with different tools, such as:

  • Gauging plate (fig.2)
  • Spider
  • Brushes
  • Magnets
  • Pig tracking transmitter
  • Pressure valve

If required the above tools may be combined.

fig. 3 Cleaning pig with a transmitter, brushes and magnets.
Gauging plate

Gauging plate contains raw data about any major bottlenecks in the pipeline and possibility of the following pigs unrestricted run through the pipeline. Normally the gauging plate is only used during the first and second pig runs.


Spider creates turbulence preventing dirt and wax accumulation in front of the pig.


The pig with brushes very effectively cleans hard buildups from pipeline walls.


The pig with magnets collects and removes from the pipeline metal debris, such as welding rods, braces, bolts, etc. High level of cleaning is reached due to use of powerful magnets.

Pig tracking transmitter

Cleaning pigs may be equipped with a transmitter to track them. Thick wall pipes, stainless steel pipes and even double wall pipes are no obstacle for the transmitter operation. The transmitter is used as a marker to locate the stuck pig or to identify exact time of pig passing the specified check point.  

The transmitter sends out low frequency signals. These signals pass through the pipe wall and soil layer up to 8 meters deep and are detected by an electronic receiver EPD II within a radius of 10 m.

Pressure valve

If due to the stuck pig pipeline pressure rises the valve opens and flow is restored.

Pig parts parameters

Pigs used for cleaning, gauging and product metering are made of materials per the below specification (it applies to a specific model/configuration):

Guiding discs

  • Material mainly consists of low wear polyurethan
  • Shore hardness А : 85 +/- 5
  • Mechanical properties are listed in table 1.

Seal discs

  • Material mainly consists of low wear polyurethane. Shore hardness А : 65 +/- 5.
  • Material mainly consists of low wear polyurethane. Shore hardness А : 85 +/- 5. Mechanical properties are listed in table 1.
Table 1

Polyurethane mechanical properties

Guiding discs, cups
Seal discs
Composition: PUR-ME85A-1161 PUR-ME65A-1161
Properties: Measuring unit Testing per standard Value  Value 
Shore hardness Shore А DIN 53 505 85(+/-5)* 65(+/-5)*
Density  g/cm3 DIN 53 479 1,247 1,242
Tensile strength N/мм2 DIN 53 504 > 40 > 30
Ultimate elongation % DIN 53 504 > 450 >400
Elasticity  % DIN 53 512 30 60
Fracture toughness  N/мм DIN 53 515 > 40 > 20
Wear resistance mm3 DIN 53 516 < 30 < 25
Compression set % DIN 53 517
20%, 20 °C, 72 hours
20%, 70 °C, 24 hours
Temperature range °C от –40 до +70

Spacing discspolyurethane.

Gauging plates — aluminum alloy: AlMg3.

Pig body

All pig metal parts (body, flanges, spider) are made of St. 37/St. 52 steel. Head bumper is made of metal or polyurethane.

  • Ring brush: cold-drawn steel wire
  • Spring type brush: cold-drawn steel wire, fixed on round springs

Permanent sintered ferromagnets enclosed in the stainless steel body.

"Bumi Armada Caspian LLC is satisfied with NTC Neftegazdiagnostika LLC performance and services provided during installation of the repair clamps and expresses its gratitude for ability to solve challenging and technically complex issues promptly and at high quality standart."
"...The field works were performed within short timeframes and of the highest professional quality; preliminary reports on the diagnostics’ results were also issued in a timely manner."
"The inline inspection of sections of the oil pipeline, in-field flow lines performed by “NTC “Neftegazdiagnostika”, LLC was of the highest quality, even though the project was very difficult."
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Clients and partners
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