Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PRECISE (Pulsed eddy current inspection system for pipeline health monitoring)
Reporting period: 2017-03-01 to 2017-08-31
Hidden corrosion has been estimated to cause 60% of pipework leaks. These failures in key pipework can cause safety, environmental and commercial impacts, meaning detection and management of CUI is highly important for these industries. It has been estimated that the management of CUI accounts for 10% of all maintenance costs in the process industry.
Society would benefit from improvements in detection and management of CUI due to reduction in accidents, reduction in environmental damage due to loss of containment; additionally the reduction in costs for industry will improve competitiveness and improve business resilience.
With a focus on pipework this project aimed to investigate in detail the commercial feasibility of EtherNDE’s PRECISE inspection system which has been developed as a prototype. This technology is based on Pulsed Eddy Current (PEC) inspection technique using Giant Magento-Resistance(GMR) for high sensitivity sensors. The overall objective is to determine if EtherNDE should pursue commercialisation of this technology, based on understanding the size of the market and the targeting of this technology.
Following market surveys, interviews with key industry experts it has been determined that a fast inspection technique that does not require removal of insulation would be particularly beneficial for the management of CUI and there is significant market potential while the industry tries to determine the most cost effective solution for this problem.
Therefore it was conclude that EtherNDE should pursue the commercialisation of the this device.
A number of competitors have been identified who have existing products based on the pulsed eddy current technique, providing similar penetrating inspection performance. There is a risk these competitors could take significant market share ahead of the earliest potential launch of PRECISE. However these devices are generic inspection devices, PRECISE is designed specifically for high speed, high accuracy inspection, focusing on ease of use and minimising operator error. There is no indication of a competitor creating techniques with similar capabilities. Alternative technologies have also been noted as a threat providing different means to achieve similar inspections, each technique has a specific niche within the challenge of CUI inspection, none were identified that can compete with the potential of the PRECISE product within the specific target use cases.
Risks and barrier for market entry have been analysed through SWOT analysis and assessment of Porters five forces. Key barriers such as supplier health and freedom to operate have been assessed and a risk table has been created.
A commercialisation plan has been drafted, to bring this product to market EtherNDE needs finalised the product design to ensure it is robust enough to survive 5+years of use, including the electronics and power systems so it can be easily used in the field. To do this EtherNDE aims to operate an extended trial with a development partner. This is important to provide the final information to produce the version 1.0 design and the reference material to generate branding and marketing platform demonstrating the product effectiveness.
If commercialised this device would provide significantly faster inspections for CUI, both reducing the costs of inspections and reducing the number of pipework leaks that have safety, environmental and cost implications.