With drone platforms like the Skygauge Inspection Drone now capable of servicing metallic piping systems, we created this article to show you how drone companies can take advantage of this capability. Drone services providers can now perform inspections conforming to the American Petroleum Institute's (API) standards. This is critical since API 570 outlines the inspection process for most hydrocarbon and chemical piping in the United States.
What is the API 570 Standard?
The API 570 standard covers inspection, rating, repair, and alteration procedures for metallic and fiberglass-reinforced piping systems. It applies to most hydrocarbon and chemical process piping in the United States.
Under this standard, ultrasonic inspection from the external surface can be used to measure wall thickness and detect separation, holes, and blisters. In order to get an accurate set of readings, inspectors target a random number of points along a pipeline to get an average status of the pipe's overall health.
Why is it important?
Since API 570 outlines the rules for how pipes should be inspected, it is critical that your drone company provides inspection services to a level of quality acceptable under the standard. Fortunately, the Skygauge produces readings with sufficient accuracy to be usable by an API 570 piping inspector.
How does Skygauge make API 570 inspections faster and easier?
Pipelines are often situated at height and have awkward geometries. With Skygauge, you can complete a pipeline inspection faster, since the drone can ascend to height without an assistive platform like a crane, rope, or ladder.
The drone can navigate curved geometries, testing points on the top, sides, and bottom of the pipe with ease thanks to its angled and vertical contact capabilities.
You can target more points on the pipe and get a better idea of its overall health. For example, a human inspector might take an hour to get six readings across a stretch of piping. They would need to keep repositioning the crane, ladder, or rope setup to access different points on the elevated pipe.
The inspector would also find it harder to reach points on the top and sides of the pipe, compared to the bottom.
The Skygauge can easily target any point on the pipe's circumference and can take 60+ readings in one hour. Since there is no need to reposition a crane or man lift, the inspection goes by much faster.
The cost of renting a crane or man lift can be $45,000 per day or more, not to mention associated fuel costs. The Skygauge does away with all these extraneous costs, reducing the overall inspection cost by 50% or more.
As a drone operator, you are already familiar with how much money customers saved by switching to drones for aerial photography. The Skygauge enables similar savings for pipe inspections while maintaining the same, high, quality standard as inspections done by hand.
Export results to a licensed inspector offsite
Fortunately, your drone pilot does not have to complete the API 570 exam to carry out an inspection. The Skygauge Inspection Drone operates with sufficient accuracy and stability to generate a valid inspection reading. This reading can then be exported to a licensed API 570 inspector offsite, either immediately or later at the customer's convenience.
Help customers meet compliance standards
Pipe inspection involves collecting a random sample of points collected along the length of the pipe itself. These provide an average of the overall health of the pipe. Naturally, the more points get sampled, the more accurate the overall inspection becomes. With Skygauge, your customers can sample more points in less time, meaning a higher quality inspection overall.
Since Skygauge inspections are 10x faster than traditional ones, your drone services business has a huge margin to compete with conventional inspection companies on cost and time.
- API 570 is a standard that many facilities with chemical or hydrocarbon piping have to follow.
- Using the Skygauge, asset owners can perform higher quality inspections of pipeline infrastructure, cheaper and faster than conventional methods.
- Thanks to its vertical and angled contact capabilities, the Skygauge can target points on piping that are hard to reach from a crane or man lift.
- As a drone service provider, you can market this capability to customers to convert both new and existing clients to drone-based pipeline inspection.
- You do not have to have a team member with an API 570 piping inspector certification since Skygauge reports can be read offsite, even at a later date.