Hi-tech safety

Smart Pig Engineer

Inspection Tools

Pipeline operators use hi-tech devices called "smart pigs" to scan their pipelines for potential issues. Smart pigs travel inside the pipe scanning the pipe walls using technology like an MRI or ultrasound at the doctor's office. Smart pigs use magnetic resonance to look for corrosion and ultrasound to look for signs of cracking. An operator can customize its inspection of a pipeline by selecting tools designed to identify or confirm the absence of specific issues.

Data Analysis

Digital data from a smart pig inspection is analyzed with the aid of sophisticated modeling and imagery software. Even though most pipelines are buried underground, inspection results can provide views of both the pipe wall exterior and peer inside the steel itself. Like a doctor's exam, data from an inspection can confirm a clean bill of health, diagnose a potential problem or help prescribe maintenance to correct the issue.

Inspection Data Analysis


New Research & Development

Each year, pipeline operators pool much of their research and development funding together to pursue new technologies and analytics. Smaller sensor sizes on smart pigs are able to find smaller potential defects, which means operators can find potential issues long before they become a problem. Advances in risk modeling are allowing operators to predict potential problems farther into the future, providing plenty of time to conduct preventive maintenance and keep their pipelines operating safely.

Smart Pig Technology


Pipeline operators love getting out in the field, using their hi-tech tools, performing their engineering analysis and practicing their response plans. All of this work to keep pipelines safe provides great videos, fact sheets and toolkits. Access them here: