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New high temperature capable ultrasonic thickness transducer

Published by
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Effective monitoring of asset integrity subject to corrosion and erosion while minimising the exposure of personnel to difficult and potentially hazardous working environments has always been a major problem in many industries, including oil and gas, refining, petrochemical, aerospace, process control, energy and nuclear sectors.

The key issues facing operators include:

  • Value loss: loss of productivity due to unplanned shutdown.
  • Reliability: the drive for continuous, more consistent and accurate asset data to support integrity management decisions on high value assets.
  • Safety: the necessity to minimise operator exposure and continuously minimise asset risk.

One solution to this problem is permanently installed ultrasonic wall-thickness monitoring equipment, which can remotely provide information on the rate of metal loss, even in the most severe environments operating up to extreme temperatures.

Ionix has developed a core high-temperature capable transducer, as part of its HotSenseTM device range, that can be readily integrated into permanently installed thickness monitoring systems. This device component enables system integrators, service providers and end user operators to achieve:

  • High integrity data, across a wide temperature range, in extreme environments.
  • Continuous monitoring of asset condition, minimising the risk of unplanned outages.
  • Reduced entry cost to continuous monitoring.

Applications include the following:

  • Wide temperature range thickness gauging in steel from -20°C to +350°C continuously and -40°C to +380°C intermittently.
  • Accurate and precise thickness measurements with resolution from 0.01 mm to 0.1 mm.
  • Single element pulse-echo operation.
  • High temperature piezoelectric element and transducer components designed for permanent installation in extreme environments.
  • Ideal for corrosion/erosion condition monitoring and designed for installation under insulation.
  • Stable and secure fixation methods available via clamping or bonding to a structure for permanent installation even at extreme temperatures.
  • Compact integrated delay line footprint allows area coverage with high resolution.

Advantages include the following:

  • Continuous operation at 350°C allows online monitoring of high temperature assets – minimises operational risk for plant managers with enhanced asset integrity data.
  • Permanently or semi-permanently installed directly on to assets - minimises unplanned shutdowns and allows for better preparation before planned shutdowns.
  • Intrinsically safe and certified for installation and operation in ATEX Zone 0 and other hazardous environments including radiation and pressure – installed sensors reduce exposure of staff and contractors to hazardous environments.
  • Transducer can be permanently installed under insulation, without the need for cooling – maintain asset insulation and weatherproofing to prevent external corrosion.
  • Compatible with standard ultrasonic instrumentation – low entry level as transducer can be used with current ultrasonic flaw detectors and software.
  • Easily accessible data - integrated with wireless systems or manned inspection routines.
  • Low cost and simple expansion – expand coverage with additional transducers and upgrade to automated data loggers and wireless networks.
  • Excellent high temperature stability and signal to noise – determine corrosion rates at critical CMLs/TMLs and monitor areas of concern.
  • Integrated delay line provides near surface resolution and simple calibration at any temperature – accurate and precise measurements can be made even as asset temperatures vary.

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