A team at the engineering company has designed a retrieval tool to more efficiently remove the devices, known in the industry as pigs, from oil and gas process pipelines and significantly reduce production downtime.
A customer who was frustrated with the labour-intensive process of removing the pigs approached the company.
The Forth team developed a flexible tool, which can be adjusted up to 15 metres, fitted with an ATEX Zone 1-rated pneumatic winch that can pull weights up to one tonne.
Using an auto-locking grab, the device connects to the Pig on contact with the latching point and is used in tandem with a mounted ATEX Zone 1 camera to provide live images back to a tablet operated on the ground by an engineer.
The winch and the design of the front grab can be modified to suit different Pig latching point designs wherever applicable.
The use of the equipment reduces manual handling and operating time.
Rob Sneesby, lead mechanical engineer, said: “There is always a risk element associated with the retrieval process, and removing the need for such close human interface has made the job significantly safer to carry out.
The Forth team has also manufactured a system to improve the ease of removing spherical pigs from launch tubes which have been stuck in situ for a long time after previous attempts to retrieve them by traditional methods had been unsuccessful.