Introducing a new coating inspection technique

Importance of detecting coating defects in pipelines

Related EMPIT Service: ⇒ Coating Assessment


Pipeline inspection is a critical process that involves assessing the condition of pipelines to ensure their safety, reliability, and efficiency. Coating defects can significantly impact the integrity and lifespan of pipelines, leading to corrosion and other types of damage that can ultimately result in leaks, spills, and even catastrophic failures. Therefore, detecting coating defects early and accurately is essential to prevent these issues and to ensure the safe and efficient operation of pipelines. Advanced inspection methods, such as Current Coating Magnetometry (CCM), have proven to be effective in detecting coating defects.

What is CCM?

Current Coating Magnetometry (CCM) is an advanced inspection technique used to detect coating defects in buried pipelines. The integrity of pipelines is critical for their safe and efficient operation.

CCM works by applying a magnetic field to the buried pipeline, which can be measured from above ground. The induced magnetic field is affected by any defects in the coating o the pipeline, causing a change in the magnetic flux. CCM involves the use of specialized sensors that are mounted on air- or ground-based inspection tools designed and produced by EMPIT. These tools are moved along the length of the pipeline to detect any coating defects.

One of the key advantages of CCM for inspecting buried pipelines is its ability to measure the magnetic far field, meaning it can detect changes in the magnetic flux without the need for direct contact with the pipeline. This makes it an ideal method for inspecting pipelines that are difficult to access or are in service. CCM is highly accurate and reliable and can detect a wide range of coating defects, including pinholes, holidays, cracks, and blisters.

CCM is a non-destructive and efficient inspection method that does not require excavation or removal of soil. This is particularly important for pipelines that are buried in sensitive or hard-to-reach areas. By using CCM to detect coating defects early and accurately, pipeline operators can proactively identify and address potential issues, reducing the risk of pipeline failures and minimizing downtime for repairs.

The data collected during the inspection is analyzed by EMPIT experts who can interpret the results and identify any coating defects present in the pipeline. The results of the inspection are typically presented in a detailed report that outlines any coating defects found, along with recommendations for addressing these issues. This information can be used by pipeline operators to plan and schedule maintenance and repair activities, ensuring the safe and reliable operation of the pipeline.

In conclusion, CCM is a powerful tool for detecting coating defects in buried pipelines, and plays a critical role in ensuring their safety, reliability, and efficiency. By allowing for non-destructive inspection from the ground surface, it provides an efficient and effective solution for detecting defects and preventing corrosion in pipelines. Pipeline operators can benefit from the accuracy, reliability, and cost-effectiveness of CCM to ensure the longevity and safety of their pipelines.

Advantages of CCM

One of the main advantages of using CCM to detect coating defects in pipelines is its accuracy. CCM is a highly sensitive technique that can detect even small defects in the coating, such as pinholes and cracks. This is particularly important for detecting AC corrosion, where the likelihood of corrosion increases as the size of the defect decreases. Therewith, it can detect a wide range of coating defects, including those that are not visible to the naked eye. Consequently, allowing inspectors to identify and repair defects before they can cause more serious problems.

Additionally, CCM is a non-destructive inspection technique, meaning it does not damage the pipeline during the inspection process. This is in contrast to techniques such as DCVG (Direct Current Voltage Gradient), which require the use of a DC current and therewith measurement results can be affected by soil conditions and resistivity. CCM, on the other hand, uses an AC current and is not dependent on soil conditions, making it more reliable and accurate.

In fact, several comparisons between CCM and DCVG have shown that CCM has a higher accuracy and is capable of detecting smaller defects. This is particularly important for pipelines that are at risk of AC corrosion, as CCM's ability to detect small defects can prevent corrosion from occurring and prolong the lifespan of the pipeline.

Inspection procedure

Pre-inspection Preparation: Before the inspection, the pipeline operator or inspection company will gather information about the pipeline, such as its location, diameter, and length. This information is used to plan the inspection route and to determine the number of sensors needed for the inspection. The inspection team will also conduct a safety review to identify any potential hazards that may affect the inspection.

Sensor Placement: The CCM sensors are arranged in a specialized sensor array that is automatically positioned and moved along the axis of the buried pipeline to detect any potential coating defects. Depending on the location of the pipeline, the sensors can be mounted on an inspection rover, drone, or handheld tool to facilitate automated movement along the length of the pipeline.

Inspection Process: The CCM sensor measures the magnetic flux density at each point along the pipeline. The data obtained from the sensor is then analyzed to identify the location and severity of any coating defects. The inspection team uses AI-driven software to visualize the data and to generate reports on the condition of the pipeline.

Post-Inspection Analysis: Once the inspection is complete, the inspection team will review the data and generate a report on the condition of the pipeline. The report may include information on the location and severity of any coating defects, recommendations for repairs or maintenance, and an overall assessment of the pipeline's condition.

Applications of CCM

CCM is widely used in the oil and gas industry for inspecting buried pipelines, but it can also be used for a range of other applications.

Corrosion Detection: CCM can be used to detect and locate corrosion in pipelines caused by coating defects or other factors. By identifying the location and severity of the corrosion, pipeline operators can take action to prevent leaks, spills, and other safety hazards.

Pipeline Integrity Management: CCM is an important tool for managing the integrity of pipelines. By detecting coating defects and other types of damage, operators can prioritize repairs and maintenance to ensure the pipeline remains safe and reliable.

Pipeline Construction: CCM can also be used during pipeline construction to ensure the coating is properly applied and there are no defects. This can help prevent future issues and ensure the pipeline is safe and reliable from the start.

Other Industries: CCM is not limited to the oil and gas industry and can be used in other industries that use pipelines, such as water, sewage, and chemical transportation.

Overall, the versatility of CCM makes it a valuable tool for detecting coating defects and managing pipeline integrity across a range of industries.


In conclusion, Current Coating Magnetometry (CCM) is an innovative technology that has revolutionized the detection of coating defects in buried pipelines. Unlike traditional methods like DCVG, CCM is highly accurate, reliable, efficient, and non-destructive, making it a valuable tool for pipeline operators and inspection companies. With its fast and efficient inspection process, CCM can detect even the smallest coating defects, which is crucial for the prevention of AC corrosion.

With its various advantages, CCM has found widespread applications in the pipeline industry, including oil and gas, water and wastewater, and chemical transportation. As pipeline infrastructure continues to age, the need for efficient and reliable inspection techniques like CCM will only increase.

Overall, the CCM inspection process offers pipeline operators and inspection companies a cost-effective and reliable means of detecting coating defects and ensuring the safety and integrity of buried pipelines.

Related EMPIT Service: ⇒ Coating Assessment

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