EVO-Pig deep dive: a Q&A with our Chief Technology Office, Paddy Collins

11 November 2019 by Aubin Group

Although pigging has been around for 100s of years, there has been a growing need to innovate and develop new technology to overcome and avoid major challenges faced by traditional pigging methods.

We have developed a range of unique gel pigs to help operators maintain typically unpiggable pipelines, and ultimately save time and money, and the uptake since we launched this technology has been incredible.

To delve deeper into the world of the EVO-Pig, and uncover its unique attributes and how it works, we have asked our Chief Technology Officer, Paddy Collins, to share his expert insights. Read on to learn more about this revolutionary product...

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Q: In a nutshell, how would you describe EVO-Pig?

"Ultimately, the EVO-Pig enables you to pig the unpiggable. This gel pig easily travels around bends and restrictions, even where pipes are coated or corrugated, such as subsea risers. 

“It is made from a very versatile and flexible material, and can compress to 50% of its original diameter.

“It is suitable for a huge variety of uses and can be used in a wide range of environments. For example, it can be used for dewatering or deoiling, used as a plug, or to remove stuck pigs or equipment, to name a few applications. And we have developed two versions, one of which has been designed for extreme conditions.

“Another key attribute is that you don’t need a pig launcher or catcher, which means it can be used in so many more places, and our clients find this extremely beneficial. You can pig a whole line and get rid of our product through a much smaller orifice.”

 

Q: What is unique about EVO-Pig?

“The key unique aspect is its memory capability. It is cast in a certain size or shape, and will always want to return to that. It doesn’t lose volume. 

“For example, when travelling through a large pipe into a small pig, the pig extends and squeezes down and long. And when it enters a large diameter again, it will expand accordingly. Other l pigs don’t do that.” 

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Q: What excites you most about this product?

“Firstly, it’s a very simple tool, but it can save operators huge amounts of money, and make jobs much simpler, safer and predictable. You can see the value very quickly. 

“Something which I find very exciting is the endless possibilities when we combine the EVO-Pig technology with other chemicals. We can achieve things that aren’t normally possible, and solve an array of difficult problems our clients face. 

“So many of our customers just call us up and explain their problem, and we work out a unique way to solve it. And the EVO-Pig often plays a part in this when looking at pipeline maintenance issues. This is where our team excels, as we are problem solvers at heart.”

Q: Why was EVO-Pig developed?

“Our gel pigs were initially created as a response to customer requests, particularly from operators. 

“We had already been selling our gels, and this creation was half-way between a gel and a pig. It retained all of the benefits of the gels, but also added in key benefits from a pig.” 

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Q: When was it developed? 

“EVO-Pig was developed and launched around 12 years ago. And while the concept is still very much the same, we have made many improvements in the manufacture of the pig and the design of the pig launcher canister. 

“In particular, we developed and patented our EVO-Pig XT product. This is a more robust, more temperature-stable product than our EVO-Pig LG, and this development extends our capabilities.  

“In addition, we have learned more and more over the years about what it can do, and developed a unique understanding of how to use it in the field. Most recently we have developed a pig testing capability to enable clients to satisfy themselves that our EVO-Pig’s will do the job before deployment to the field.”

Q: How was it developed?

“This product really took off when we could show people its full potential, and what could be achieved. We continued to find new applications as testing took place, which was a really exciting time for us. We were discovering new uses for the EVO-Pig far beyond what we had initially developed it for.

“Initially EVO-Pig was being used for dewatering, deoiling and degassing pipelines, removing debris and improving the performance of gel products. It also started being used to ensure customers nothing was stuck, lost or trapped in their line. 

“But then customers from all over the world started coming to us and saying “We have this problem, will your gel pig work?” We would try it, and we started building up a suite of successful case histories of solving a huge variety of problems.”

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Q: Where has EVO-Pig been deployed?

“It has been deployed in over 14 countries across the world, as far as Australia.” 

Q: How many EVO-Pigs have been deployed?

“We have carried out over 250 separate projects for clients around the world - a mixture of both the XT and LG versions of the EVO-Pig.”

Q: What sizes of EVO-Pig have been created?

“We have created a huge range of diameters, from 2” up to 30”.

Q: What feedback have you had from customers?

“Feedback has been very complimentary. Many of our customers come back and use the EVO-Pig many times again, which is the most encouraging element of the whole thing. I am regularly surprised at the new applications they find for the product. Often they just ring us up with the order, as they know the value they’ll get.”

Q: Turnaround time

“This is dependant on the complexity of the requirement, but typically the turnaround time is 1-2 weeks.”

 

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