Virtual Dig Up

Laser-like 3D profiling breaks the boundaries

With our Virtual Dig Up, we are currently evolving a revolutionary new service component built around Deep Field Analysis (DFA) to calculate the true shape of complex corrosion or smooth dent gouging. Focusing on external corrosion means that, in principle, our service is valuable to both gas and liquid lines. The high-resolution, non-simplified, 3D output of Virtual Dig Up facilitates the use of more sophisticated assessment methods directly.

Our Deep Field Analysis technology — which we successfully patented (U.S. Patent No. 11,624,728) – is worldwide unique.

The benefits

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Maintenance optimization

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Supports decision-making

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Reduction of dig-ups

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Distinctive assessment of complex corrosion

Virtual Dig Up – Breaking the boundaries

Facing the challenge

Industry demands are constantly increasing and by calculating 3D profiles we are able to deliver a better visualization of features present in a pipeline. Higher prediction quality and cost reduction in pipeline dig up activities require higher reliability and resolution of in-line inspection (ILI). It is time to overcome the technical boundaries of magnetic flux leakage (MFL) technology and its methodical ambiguity because 3D profiling has not been available for ILI tools that use MFL technologies - until now: Our disruptive new technology integrates high-quality data from axial and circumferential MFL inspections via physics and mathematics concepts to provide laser-like 3D profiles of a metal loss feature.

During the prototype phase of Virtual Dig Up, several challenges confirmed its reliability:

  • Better description of anomalies
  • More than 10 blind test investigations with a major North American customer using high-resolution laser scans covering pitting, pinholes and general corrosion with several complex corrosion morphologies with up to 60 percent metal loss depth. All results with less than 5 percent deviation from predicted burst pressure
  • Blind tests confirmed that the combination of the two field directions realizes the correct complex corrosion geometry. Ambiguity disappears

Read our latest publications

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Results of a dig up without a dig up

Our technology does not require even one verification dig for enhancement. On the contrary, it delivers results comparable to a field laser scan, a dig up without a dig up. The virtual pictures show what is actually in the ground, which could even lead us to create a digital twin in the future. This will benefit an effective dig up prioritization as well as providing a solution for the verification of features located in difficult-to-access areas.

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Acceptance of a Virtual Dig Up

Corrosion experts confirm that it is a big advantage if ILI tools can also record the geometry or 3D profile of a metal loss. In case of corrosion this helps to understand the morphology of a corrosion feature and provides a better understanding of the corrosion behavior. The precision of safe pressure predictions increases dramatically with the 3D morphology. For critical locations, parallel verification of features that are easily accessible on site, provides reliability for now.

The truly unprecedented Virtual Dig Up approach breaks the boundaries, taking us beyond the established simplification with boxes based on feature length and depth, and resolving the conflict between the increasing need for accurate ILI safe pressure prediction vs MFL parameterization that is reaching its development limits: For complex corrosion, the Virtual Dig Up 3D format is the mathematical basis to change the MFL output principle from interpretation to calculation and overcome ambiguity. Laser-like scans are possible with MFL.