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Digital Radiography Pulsed X-Ray



United Kingdom
Oil & Gas

Bilfinger UK's Inspection Department were tasked to inspect small bore connections (Weldolets) within the sub-gas tight floor of a leg of an offshore platform to determine whether any internal corrosion was evident.

This work scope had several challenges:

  • The area was a confined space, with access only permitted if full air fed breathing apparatus is worn
  • There was very restricted access to the site, and a third party carrying out the work positioning, using a conventional gamma ray source was ruled out
  • A new approach was required in order to complete this inspection

We identified that a ‘pulsed’ X-ray system would be the most suitable technique for the scope. Special low dose X-ray systems could be used in conjunction with digital radiography detectors to provide instant high-quality digital images. This approach also reduced safety risk significantly. The technology is intrinsically safe when powered down, so after installation it can be operated remotely. This meant there was no requirement for radiography on ropes, reducing risk to personnel, as well as eliminating the risk of emergency source retrieval.

We researched and developed this technique, collaborating with manufacturers and suppliers of specialist systems to ensure the correct configuration of equipment, before ratifying the new technology with regulators. Once approved, we then created an identical sample to the area being inspected for training purposes. Supplementary equipment to aid scope delivery was also fabricated.

Tailoring a unique procedure to suit this technique allayed any concerns the client had regarding access and safety, whilst providing high-quality images instantly for review, providing efficiency gains and reducing costs.

Added value:

This technique will be further developed and offered to clients where, for example, SIMOPS proves to be problematic when trying to conclude critical inspection activities.

  • Provides clients with data to make decisions about future maintenance work
  • New technology addressed many of the challenges experienced when carrying out traditional radiography in a confined space
  • Minimum impact 
  • Reduced risk to personnel
  • Reduced requirement for rope access
  • Can be set up in hazardous environments
  • No risk of emergency source retrieval
  • Cost and time savings compared to conventional radiography
  • Ability to review live telemetry data


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