For years, Operators have struggled with inaccurate data and documentation of pipe information. Transposed data points, lost spreadsheets, and smudged stencils often reduce the ability to operate pipelines safely and efficiently. With oil settling in at low prices for the near future, companies must become more efficient in order to maintain profitability. Now is the time for the supply chain to modernize pipeline data collections methods, ensuring pipe data is accurate and traceable right from the Mill to Construction.
Vintri Technologies has created a solution that supplies electronic material traceability and data integrity on all required pipe information from the supply chain, such as the steel origin details, mill tests, inspection data, and coating information. Barcodes are used to capture the data for each pipe, which is stored electronically for quick access.
Recently, a field data validation was completed to verify that the information tied to the barcodes on the pipe was accurate to the data in the vintriID system and then cross-validated with the external and internal stencils on the pipe. These were the results:
For this project, all line pipe was barcoded during production and coating. The Operator set out a requirement for the Mill and the Coater to provide electronic data associated with the line pipe, and followed Vintri’s barcoding operating procedures to ensure four barcodes were applied to each end of the pipe and associated to the electronic data in their SAP system.
The data validation process was performed on site at the Right of Way using a ruggedized iPad and barcode scanner. Data was validated in both the vintriID web application (online using cellular connectivity) as well as on the Vintri Offline Mobile Application.
The pipe was identified by locating and scanning any one of the Vintri barcodes located on the pipe. This lookup returned the key pipe data back in the vintriID system (including Pipe ID number, Heat number, Length, MTR, etc). Once the Pipe ID number was retrieved, it was validated against the outside diameter stencil (when available), the Plant’s barcode tag (when available) as well as the internal diameter stencil (when accessible).
The Vintri offline mobile application was also used to scan the barcodes and capture supporting data through pictures of the stencils and plant tags.
The tag validation process was done on 4 separate sections of welded pipe, 3 individual pipes and 1 pup. This totaled 56 individual joints of pipe.
Vintri Data Accuracy
Of the 56 pipe scanned, every pipe had an accessible, readable Vintri barcode to scan, and at least one of the of the following available to validate against:
Of the 56 pipe scanned, 100% returned the correct information in vintriID.
During the data validation, three of the sample pipe contained anomalies with the stencil information. In order to get an accurate understanding of the true pipe identification, a three-way validation was performed between the data in Vintri, the data on the ID stencil and the data on the OD stencil. In all three cases, the data validation proved that there was in fact an issue with the stencil information and that the electronic data contained in vintriID was accurate.
Issue # 1 – Incorrect External Stencil Information
When the Vintri barcode (VTC150004497) on Pipe ID XX504644X was scanned, it returned a Pipe ID that did not match the stencil. Upon further review, it appeared that there were two external stencils on the same end of the pipe. One was correct (showing the correct pipe ID) and the other was incorrect.
Issue # 2 – External Stencil Information not filled out
When validating Pipe ID XX504639X against the external stencil, it was noted that the stencil was visible on the pipe, but the critical information (Pipe ID, Heat #, Length) was not filled out on the stencil. From the appearance of the stencil, it was assumed that this was missed during the coating process.
Issue # 3 – Incorrect Internal Stencil Information
When validating Pipe ID XX504644X against the internal stencil information, it was evident that the Pipe ID number on the internal stencil had an extra number in the handwritten portion. The Pipe ID read XX5044644X and should have read XX504644X.
Vintri BarCode Durability
During the validation process, the durability of the Vintri barcode tags were also evaluated. There were approximately 4 cases (out of 448 tags) where the Vintri barcode had been compromised – either through damage, peeling or having been spray-painted or written on during construction. This did not pose a concern, as there were still readable, redundant tags available on the pipe to scan and get access to the pipe information. It was identified that it may be beneficial if and additional set of tags were applied in the centre of the pipe along with the current set on each end. This would provide more convenient access to the barcodes, as well as provide additional tags in the event that the pipe was pupped.
An electronic data set imported from source can be used as a single source of valid data – specifically in the field, to resolve traceability concerns and questions. The 5% error rate in the hand written stenciling of the pipe is a common statistic that Vintri has seen when it comes to transferring numbers by hand on pipe. It is recommended that barcoding become the source of truth for data validation and traceability in the field.