Pipe coiling, or the act of turning a straight pipe into a cylindrical formation, may seem relatively simple, especially to anyone who has ever wound a rope or other material around a pole. In reality, however, pipe coiling requires much more technical knowledge than coiling other materials, and the technique is very important in many applications.
What Is Pipe Coiling?
Simply put, pipe coiling is the act of winding pipe into a cylindrical shape. Depending on the metal of which the pipe is composed, it can be done by heating the metal to certain temperatures or through the use of other techniques. Pipe coiling plays a significant role in metal fabrication, x-ray quality welding, particle testing, hydro testing, bracing, and any other important processes.
Pipe coiling can be done with many different types of metals. Aluminum, stainless steel, copper, and other blends are often used in pipe that is put through a coiling process. These pipes may be coiled to provide heat conduction or to save space in transference of liquids or gases. Coiled pipe saves installation time and costs and improves flow characteristics for oil, gas or other important fluids.
X-Ray Quality Welding
The use of girth welds from pipe to pipe often requires x-ray welding treatments to ensure solid connections. By using coiled line pipe, several miles of flow line on a gas line, for example, can be installed with minimum connectivity to other pipes.
Magnetic particle inspection is a way to inspect metals for surface or even sub-surface discontinuities. These can cause distortions in the magnetic flux which translates into images of problem areas when MPI is used. By using pipe coiling, MPI testing can be done quickly over a large surface area and discontinuities in the pipe itself can be spotted quickly.
Hydro testing is a common way to test the integrity of a pipeline or other important length of conductive metal. However, it is difficult to test long lengths of pipe with water; therefore pipe coiling can give much quicker results and help technicians pinpoint weak areas in pipe lengths.
Pipe coiling is essential in the technology of tilt-up pipe bracing. The tilt-up pipe brace is attached to a panel and tilted by means of a coil threaded into an anchor. The coiling allows the brace to diffuse the force of the pipe weight and provide a strong, stable platform that can hold many times its own weight.
How Is Pipe Coiling Used in the Oil and Gas Industry?
Pipe coiling is used in several ways in the oil and gas industry. For example, pipe coiling is often used in circulation processes such as deliquification. This is done when a well is said to have been “killed” due to the weight of certain liquids pressing down on reserves. In order to remove the weight of these liquids, coiled tubing is often inserted into a well and used to inject a nitrogen “kick” to remove the liquid.
Pipe coiling techniques remain an important part of not only the oil and gas industries but also heating and air conditioning, medical, aerospace and other fields that rely on the transport of liquids or gases over large areas or distances.