Manufacturing engineers create industry pipeline cleaners

Engineers at manufacturing company Forth have solved an expensive problem for those in the oil & gas pipeline business - retrieving stuck cleaning devices

Few people enjoy cleaning, but even fewer enjoy the cleanup of problematic cleaning items. 

Across the oil and gas industry, pipelines clogged with stuck cleaning devices, known in the oil and gas industries as Pigs, have caused many problems. 

Now, engineering experts from Forth have developed a “remotely operated mechanical retrieval system” which can remove cleaning devices that are jammed in the pipelines.


Lightweight engineering solution for pipelines 

In the oil and gas industries, pigging is a cleaning process using downstream pressure to send devices down a pipeline to clean them, but these can get stuck. 

Forth’s engineers have designed and manufactured the Spherical Pig Retrieval system, which can quickly remove the stuck devices and allow business to get back to normal on the pipeline.

“Manufactured to be lightweight, it has a suction cup grab system with auto release to connect with the Pig,” said Forth in a statement. “It is fitted with electrically conductive castors to protect the system from explosive atmospheres, and comes with a spring loaded trolley and castor assemblies, to mitigate circumferential imperfections and defects in the pipeline.”

There is also a camera which helps the operator see what’s going on.


Manufacturing a system to save customers time and money

The team at Forth are proud of the Spherical Pig Retrieval system and are now researching a way to remove non-spherical Pigs from industry pipelines.

“Our customer was clearly frustrated with being unable to retrieve the Pigs, and they came to us knowing that we would be able to produce something which would put an end to their problems,” said Rob Sneesby, Senior Mechanical Engineer. “Time was certainly against us as we were asked to conceptualise, design, build and manufacture a system which would remove the Pigs with ease, all within an eight-week period.

“We are extremely proud to say that we met this challenge well within the timeframe and within budget. We did this by using our wealth of prior experience, knowledge and dedication to the oil and gas industry. This system proved how effective it is in removing the Pigs and how it could help operations across the oil and gas industry by improving productivity and therefore saving a substantial amount of money.”


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