Case Study: Redefining CUI Pipe Inspection for an Oil and Gas Leader

Case Study: Redefining CUI Pipe Inspection for an Oil and Gas Leader




A prominent player in the oil and gas industry sought innovative solutions for detecting Corrosion Under Insulation (CUI) within their industrial pipes. Recognizing the limitations of traditional manual inspection processes, they turned to ARIX Technologies, a leading provider of robotic inspection solutions tailored specifically for CUI detection.  


Understanding Corrosion Under Insulation (CUI)


As per a report by NACE International, the annual cost of corrosion-related issues across industries in the United States is a staggering $276 billion. CUI, often the root cause of leaks, accounts for 40-60% of total maintenance costs. 


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Challenges of Conventional Inspection Methods


Erecting scaffolding for inspections is not only time-consuming but also expensive, encompassing costs such as materials, labor, and equipment rental. Additionally, deploying rope access crews incurs further expenses, including training, safety equipment, and logistical arrangements. These cumulative costs can swiftly escalate, imposing a significant strain on the contract or service company's budget for inspection projects. 

Moreover, it is important to note that rope crews (and scaffolding) also introduce working at heights hazards, an issue many companies are actively seeking to reduce or eliminate. 

From a risk assessment (RA) perspective, advanced technology solutions present a notable differentiator. They mitigate risks associated with incomplete data, providing comprehensive insights that traditional methods may not offer. 


Client Challenge 


In aging plants and refineries, corrosion poses significant challenges, affecting safety, operations, and environmental concerns and the reputation and trust of companies in the industry. Asset integrity managers face the daunting task of making effective and accurate repair and maintenance decisions amidst these challenges. However, they often struggle to access tools that provide actionable insights that can aid them in navigating the complexities of corrosion management. This lack of comprehensive insight hinders their ability to proactively address corrosion and maintenance issues, leading to increased repair costs, lengthy inspection cycles, and unforeseen problems that can lead to production losses. 


Client Success with ARIX


Through a recent collaboration with a leading oil and gas refiner, ARIX Technologies delivered meaningful results. Our robotic inspection technology provided a full comprehensive grid scan of over 325 linear feet of piping in less than 2 days (1,625 total scanned feet). This provided a comprehensive analysis 13 times faster than traditional approaches. As a result, the cost of ARIX's services represented approximately 30% of the total inspection expense compared to traditional methods. Furthermore, the objective nature of the data collected eliminates the potential for human error and fatigue often associated with manual inspections. 


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Image shows ARIX robot at 40-foot elevation, eliminating the need for scaffolding.​


Overview of the Project: 


ARIX’s Solution: ARIX successfully provided a full comprehensive grid scan (complete coverage) of 325 linear feet of piping in less than 2 days (1,625 total scanned feet). Traditional manual inspection methods can only cover a fraction of the piping that ARIX robots scan comprehensively in a day. 

Traditional Inspection Cost Comparison: Traditional manual inspection typically incurs costs exceeding $3,500 per day, with an estimated completion time of around 26 days (about 3 and a half weeks) for a comprehensive scan covering equivalent linear pipe footage. Moreover, this estimation does not encompass supplementary expenses inherent to manual inspections, such as scaffolding, logistics, and equipment rental.  

Additional Insights: ARIX's superiority over traditional methods was further exemplified by completing inspections on four insulated pipes within 10 hours. This significant time-saving achievement underscores ARIX's unmatched efficiency and cost-effectiveness compared to traditional manual inspections. To put it into perspective, conventional methods would have cost the client approximately $91,000 for the same scope of work. In contrast, ARIX delivered the service for less than 30% of that cost, providing substantial value for the client. 


ARIX's Solution


ARIX Technologies' flagship inspection robot, VENUS, represents the pinnacle of efficiency and precision in CUI pipe inspections. Unlike manual inspection crews, which are limited by factors such as fatigue and accessibility, VENUS operates tirelessly under a wide range of conditions, delivering consistent and reliable results. Equipped with state-of-the-art sensors, VENUS navigates through complex piping systems easily, reaching areas often inaccessible to human inspectors and providing thorough and actionable insights. 


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The Future of CUI Pipe Inspection


The partnership between ARIX Technologies and it's client exemplifies a transformative shift in CUI pipe inspection methodologies. By embracing robotic inspection technology, organizations can achieve unprecedented levels of efficiency, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness in their inspection processes, enhancing operational performance and ensuring the integrity and safety of critical infrastructure. 

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