Nope – not a Line 5 Swinestein – but you do get a high-tech instrument that performs regular maintenance checking for cracks, dents, dings, gouges, warps, and other types of erosion.
So why are they called PIGs? Well, it’s short for Pipeline Inspection Gauges – or PIGs! While there are PIGs that can clean pipelines, smart PIGs are unique in that they monitor the line from the inside. With lines that vary in size, PIGs can also change in size too. These smart PIGs are much bigger than your typical mud-bathing oinker, and in fact, can weigh as much as a walrus or a rhinoceros. Unlike these animals, however, smart PIGS can help system operators make quick decisions about the operation of the pipeline.
That’s because these smart PIGs come loaded with 100s of sensors that can detect even the smallest irregularity. Once all of the data is collected, it’s analyzed by independent engineers who check for potential issues. This information can also be used at control centers where experienced staff is standing by to monitor the line 24/7/365 and where they can remotely shut-off valves along the pipeline’s route.
This allows them to shut down the line at any time for repair or maintenance. With so many pipelines crossing the United States, this type of monitoring occurs through the latest and most advanced technology and is just one-way pipeline operators work to ensure not only the public’s safety but the environments too!