Inspectioneering Journal

Achieving Digital Transformation in Pipeline Construction with Quality Management Systems and Industry 4.0 Technology

By Stephen P. Webb, P.E., Asset Integrity Engineer at Metegrity. This article appears in the March/April 2019 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.

Industry 4.0: A name given to the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things, cloud computing, and cognitive computing. Industry 4.0 is commonly referred to as the fourth industrial revolution.

Source: Wikipedia


An increasing number of quality incidents during pipeline construction has raised cause for concern: “Since 2010, there have been 206 incidents reported that were caused by materials or construction issues. For pipelines installed in the past 20 years, well within their intended design life, a total of 21 material or construction failure incidents were reported.”1 The Pipeline Hazardous and Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) “has identified material, weld and construction quality as a major source of leaks during pre-commissioning hydrostatic pressure tests, the first years of operations, and later in the life of a pipeline.”2 In order to investigate, PHMSA put out a request for research into the underlying cause of these incidents, resulting in the 2015 report “Improving Quality Management Systems (QMS) for Pipeline Construction Activities.”

The recommendations contained therein concluded implementing a “systematic, process-based approach of Quality Management Systems (QMS) improves a company’s ability to identify, manage, and continually improve the activities and processes that affect the overall quality of a constructed pipeline.”3 The report noted several direct benefits of implementing a QMS, including reduced costs associated with pipeline dig-ups and re-work, as well as improved regulatory compliance. As a result of these findings, the American Petroleum Institute developed API RP 1177: Recommended Practice for Steel Pipeline Construction Quality Management Systems.

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Comments and Discussion

Posted by Baskaran Ponnaiah on May 9, 2019
Superb This real time Quality Management System... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

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