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iPerm: Guided wave monitoring tool

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - iPerm (iPerm: Guided wave monitoring tool)

Reporting period: 2017-10-01 to 2019-03-31

Today, there are more than 40 major transnational oil and gas pipelines traversing Europe, accounting for over 34,565 km of strategically critical pipeline infrastructure, 40% of which are over 40 years old and subject to corrosion induced catastrophic failures impacting negatively upon European society and its economy. With such an extensive and growing network of pipelines, and an increasing incidence of failures, it is no longer feasible to rely upon current intermittent manual inspection techniques to maintain safe operation, from the twin perspectives of probability of detection over such a large network, and consequence of failure given the hazardous materials being distributed. Clearly, a wide-area coverage structural health monitoring solution is overdue. The iPerm project has developed a permanent, intelligent and energy-efficient monitoring network which will deliver a step-change improvement over existing inspection systems, and thus a step change in the safety and reliability of Europe’s pipeline network.

Our vision is to capture 3.3% of the Oil & Gas segment, the fastest growing segment of the global NDT market, within five years following product launch aiming to add (cumulatively) €26.79 million to our top-line and generate more than €6.93 million in operating profit, resulting in an investment multiple of two times the European funding.

The purpose of the iPerm project is to help European and worldwide oil and gas companies to reduce the number of pipeline leaks and thereby increase safety standards. The overall objective is to address this challenge by developing a permanent, intelligent and energy-efficient monitoring network, which will deliver a step-change improvement over existing inspection systems, and thus a step change in the safety and reliability of Europe’s pipeline network. The project outcome comprises a guided wave pipeline monitoring system, which is permanently mounted on the outside of pipelines in environmentally hostile, safety critical or difficult to access areas.
Commercial hardware finalization

• Finalization of flexible transduction system:
o Optimised design produced to achieve a cost-effective, yet mechanically stable and durable solution for permanent installation.
• Electronics packaging and integration:
o Portability of iPerm unit improved (smaller, lighter, and more user-friendly).
• Optimization of installation procedure:
o Optimized system design facilitated installation in target time (i.e. installation by a single qualified technician in one day).
• Modification of collar and encapsulation:
o New encapsulation method compatible with required range of pipe sizes (2 to 48”) produced.

Software refinement and optimization


• Final software version including Graphical User Interface:
o A full set of user-defined parameters to configure the pulser-receiver unit.
o Simple ‘one-click’ data collection.
o Instant inspection data storage on the iPerm tablet PC.
o Communication with the iPerm Cloud application and upload of the inspection data to a remote location.

• Remote connectivity, cloud platform and front-end Interface:
o Multiple user authorization levels (Administrator, Inspector, Visitor, etc.).
o Inspection data storage/retrieval (upload/download functionality).

Validation in operational environment

• On site validation trials performed at the Izmit Tüpras refinery under representative operational conditions demonstrated that the iPerm system was reliable and remained stable over a period of approximately one year.
• Experiments showed that a revised version of the iPerm tool produced better test data. Tests on this tool showed that defects of less than 10% CSA were reliably detected, meeting the project specifications.

iPerm product certification

• EMC testing of the iPerm equipment was performed at an accredited EMC test house and the required certification to show compliance with the EMC Directive obtained.
• Environmental testing and immersion testing of the iPerm collar was carried out for IP68 ingress protection rating.

Dissemination, iPerm promotion and IPR management

• Production of effective dissemination materials for promotion of the iPerm system.
• Execution of numerous promotional activities, including conference presentations and exhibition interactions.
• Development of an exploitation plan for iPerm commercialisation.

Pre-launch preparation and market replication

• Development of iPerm installation, operation and service manuals.
• Establishment of iPerm Service/Support teams.
• Trialling of the iPerm system at three industrial sites in order to improve the equipment and service over time.

The following technical advances have advanced current state of the art:
• Optimised flexible PCB demonstrator produced to achieve a cost-effective, yet mechanically stable and durable solution for permanent installation.
• New inspection collar suitable design for harsh environmental conditions and compatible with a wide range of pipe sizes (2 to 48”).
• Pre-amplifier unit developed to increase signal performance for heavy-coated/buried pipes.

The expected results from the iPerm project comprise a commercially available pipeline monitoring system:
• Capable of 100% structural inspection coverage.
• Facilitating non-intrusive inspection (in contrast to pigging technology).
• Providing reduced pipeline maintenance costs (through semi-automated equipment operated by personnel with minimal training).
• Reducing the risk of catastrophic failure and leakage into the environment.

The potential impacts arising from the iPerm system include:

• More than €26 million generate cumulatively within five years following product launch.
• More than €6 million in operating profit.
• A more secure and safe environment for large-scale pipeline operations.
• Internationalisation of SMEs through European co-operation.

Since the iPerm system is not yet commercially available, there have been no impacts produced
Progress beyond the state of the art

The following technical advances have advanced current state of the art:
• Optimised flexible PCB demonstrator produced to achieve a cost-effective, yet mechanically stable and durable solution for permanent installation.
• New inspection collar suitable design for harsh environmental conditions and compatible with a wide range of pipe sizes (2 to 48”).

Expected results until the end of the project
The expected results from the iPerm project comprise a commercially available pipeline monitoring system:
• Facilitating non-intrusive inspection (in contrast to pigging technology).
• Providing reduced pipeline maintenance costs (through semi-automated equipment operated by personnel with minimal training).
• Reducing the risk of catastrophic failure and leakage into the environment.

Potential impacts (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)
The potential impacts arising from the iPerm system include:
• More than €26 million generate cumulatively within five years following product launch.
• More than €6 million in operating profit.
• Over 200 new direct jobs as a result of the generated revenue, and more indirectly.
• Improved structural reliability that will help European pipeline operators to keep their lead in this sector.


Since the iPerm system is not yet commercially available, there have been no impacts produced to date.
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