The Benefits Of Magnetic Flux Leakage for bridge inspections and international bridge inspections.
All around the world, there are hundreds of thousands of infrastructural masterpieces servicing our communities. These can range from broadcasting towers to cable-stayed bridges all of which are seemingly immortal, however in reality they require regular inspection and maintenance from professionals with specialised equipment. Magnetic Flux Leakage (or simply MFL) is one of these specialist pieces of equipment and with the help of CableScan Robotics and Software, it can be used for the challenging task of steel infrastructure inspections.
In this article we are going to summarize the basics of MFL and CableScan robotics alongside their useful utilization for inspection of steel defects on tall infrastructure such broadcasting towers, flare stacks and cable-stayed bridges.
The Benefits of Magnetic Flux Leakage
What is MFL and CableScan®?
Magnetic Flux Leakage is categorized as an Advanced NDT (Non-Destructive Testing) Technique(1). This means that as the inspection of the steel is conducted, that the material is not changed or damaged in any way or form. MFL alone, is specifically utilized for the inspection of steel infrastructure such as the previously mentioned broadcasting towers and cable-stayed bridges.
However it is not solely limited to these structures and it is also commonly used to inspect oil and gas pipelines, flare stacks and aboveground storage tanks. The system inspects infrastructure with the purpose of searching for defects in the steel such as corrosion, pitting, cracks and wall loss all of which, if left unmanaged, would eventually impact the integrity of the structure and the safety of those within its vicinity. Maintenance is crucial.
CableScan® on the other hand is a robotic software system which also houses the MFL sensor head. It is securely fastened to travel along the cables of bridges, broadcast towers or flare stacks conducting the magnetic inspection of defects. It fully encloses the cable which allows for an efficient 360 degree scan of the material and as it self-propels along the lime, a live-action recording is made which can be viewed by an operator remotely; this allows the inspection to be conducted visually, robotically as well as magnetically.
How does MFL and CableScan work?
With the help of the CableScan® technology, MFL inspects the subject cables at hand via the application of powerful magnets, robotic circuitry, sophisticated software and camera systems. These magnets are placed within the proximity of the steel structure with the intention of provoking a magnetic reaction from the steel.
The MFL analyses and visually records/photographs these reactions alongside recording for signs of other defects, such as other problem areas on the bridge with a high 1080i/60fps resolution camera. All of this information is wirelessly sent back to the operator of the CableScan® who will then inspect the data and determine the degree of the structures defects; without the necessity of a worker being high up on the side of a bridge or tower.
What are the Advantages of MFL and CableScan®?
In the past, the inspection process for steel infrastructure was solely conducted manually. This meant that a trained professional was always required to examine the infrastructure visually by either scaling the structure with the help of climbing equipment or looking through binoculars from the ground below. There are many faults associated with this inspection method and it is because of these faults which has helped with the development and utilization of MFL and CableScan® technology.
For an inspection process, using a professional to visually examine a structure will always be subjective to human error; the final results of the inspection vary from person to person. MFL and CableScan® follow one universal inspection system and with its sophisticated programing, the detection of steel defects is much higher than those completed by simple visual inspection.
To continue, the financial costs associated with the manual inspections of infrastructure are expensive as workers are required to be highly certified. They need to qualify not only as inspectors of steel infrastructure, but also as structural climbers and with health and safety procedures also. CableScan® is a remotely operated analytics system which means the inspectors remain safely on the ground and the only costs associated is with the rental/purchase of a MFL and basic operation training. MFL/CableScan® adds to financial savings even further by increasing the speed of an inspection substantially.
The CableScan® system simply needs to be fastened to the cable wanting to be inspected and it is ready to use, this is much more time efficient than the old school method of harnesses and climbing without a doubt.
Lastly the safety of the inspectors and general public will always be at risk. Working at heights is dangerous and mistakes do happen; second chances do not exist. Objects can fall while an inspection is in process and injure people on the ground or the inspector in question could fall themselves. MFL systems remove this possibility as they are remotely controlled and are firmly fastened to the structure.
The CableScan® system is deemed to be so reliable that highways and pedestrian-ways will always remain open when they are in use (also minimizing the congestion of traffic in urban areas).
Systems like Magnetic Flux Leakage and CableScan® are changing the way that the infrastructural inspection industry views its previously utilized processes. In a society increasingly aware about practicality, financial savings and above all, the health and safety of its people; MFL and CableScan deliver to an industry of utter importance, modern methodology.
It is a process which is highly flexible with its
application and can be used to inspect the mentioned: crane wire ropes, flare stack guy wires, broadcast tower guy wires,
post tension tendons, hoists and bridge cables, suspender cables and bridge cable stays.
In a society increasingly aware about practicality, financial savings and above all, the health and safety of its people; MFL and CableScan® deliver to an industry of utter importance, modern methodology.