The Role of Pipeline Pigs and Their Applications

Posted by Apache Pipeline Products on October 10, 2020 in Blog.

While the function of a pipeline pig may seem simple enough – cleaning, batching, etc. –  there are a variety of pigs that have been developed to fulfill different maintenance applications.

With such a wide variety of pigs in existence, it can be challenging to choose the right pig for the job.

Here are the different types of pigs available for pipeline maintenance and the roles they are  best suited for:

Types of Pipeline Pigs

Foam Pigs

Foam pigs are the most common and basic type of pig because they are versatile and can be  used for a variety of applications in many different types of pipelines.

These lightweight pigs are flexible and can navigate uncommon piping, fittings and valves in  order to clean, batch and remove product from the pipeline.

Foam pigs come in many shapes and sizes, all designed for varying purposes and applications:

  • Bare foam and coated pigs. These pigs are used for general cleaning, batching and proving.
  • Wire brush pigs. This style of pig is outfitted with brushes that remove stubborn material from the inside of the pipe.
  • ProVex Foam disc pigs. Foam disc pigs are designed for the efficient removal of liquids from a pipeline.

The oil and gas industry commonly uses foam pigs but they are also used in many other  industries including food and beverage, mining, cosmetic and pharmaceutical. Mainly use  Food Grade PU pigs. Foam pigs are not Food Grade.

Steel Mandrel Pigs 

Steel mandrel pigs are designed for long-term use due to their long life-span and easy  maintenance.

They are manufactured with a steel mandrel body with replaceable elements such as cups  and discs. These pigs can also be equipped with various brushes in order to clean residue  from the inside of the pipeline, such as liquids or wax. Magnets are also used to remove  ferrous debris.

The obvious advantage of a steel mandrel pig is that wearing pieces worn parts and  components can be replaced – making them a more cost-effective choice for pipeline  maintenance operations.

Solid-Cast Pigs 

Solid-cast pigs are designed to be more rugged and aggressive than foam pigs yet with the  same flexibility and handling advantages.

These pigs feature a multi-disc/cup configuration which offers exceptional sealing as well the  option to add brushes.

Solid-cast pigs are very efficient as general purpose pipeline pigs for batching, displacement and routine maintenance operations.

Smart Pigs

These three designs of pipeline pigs provide versatility to pipeline maintenance – they can  perform tasks as simple as cleaning or as complex as data collection.

Those pigs designed for more complex tasks are known as “intelligent pigs” or “smart pigs” and use highly advanced technology to collect a range of data from location and distance to  pipe defects and deformations.

Smart pigs collect data as they travel through the pipeline and record their findings on a  device similar to a flash drive.

Interested in Learning More?

We at Apache Pipeline Products are experts when it comes to pipeline pigs. Proudly based in  Canada, we manufacture and supply pigs and pig-related equipment for oil, gas and pipeline  companies across the globe.

If you have any questions about pigs and pigging products, feel free to contact us today!

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