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Technology

Fuller Industrial develops leak detection system

August 13, 2013
by Scott Haddow
In: Technology

Markets include mining, oil and gas

Fuller Industrial manager of technical services and customer care Dan Chamberland shows how the company’s new Continuous Leak Prevention and Detection System operates in a test section of pipe.

Jeff Fuller is one of those people who is never satisfied and always looking for ways to improve his company’s products. Even success doesn’t stop him from thinking there is a better way.

Fuller Industrial has earned a reputation around the world as a leader in carbon steel pipe fabrication, rubber and liquid coatings, and linings for pipe and tank systems.

Two years ago, Fuller and his employees began to work on a better leak detection system for pipes and tanks. They knew there was a better, more efficient way to detect leaks. The company designed the Continuous Leak Prevention and Detection System, and now has a patent pending on the technology.

“This shows our innovative approach to the industry,” said Fuller. “This is at the forefront. We wanted to improve our product and we did. It will make a difference in the industry.”

The new system is a failsafe product that instantly detects and reports the exact location of a breach in a coating or lining. It monitors the entire surface of a pipe or tank by checking a circuit between two conductive layers in the coatings.

When there is a breach in the coating or lining, a circuit is completed and a signal is generated. The signal can be any format required such as analog, digital or RFID. The warning signal can be sent by wired or wireless communication. The message can trigger an automatic shutdown, transmit an email alert, or initiate a work order.

On external coatings, a sensor is wired between the pipe and the conductive layer. They are insulated from each other so the circuit is open – no signal is produced.

If transport fluid makes the connection anywhere in the coating, the circuit closes and the sensor sends a message. The hole can be smaller than a pinpoint and will still set off a signal.

For internal coatings, a sensor is wired to the pipe and the conductive layer embedded on the lining. They are also insulated from each other, so the circuit is open – no signal is produced. If transport fluid makes the connection anywhere in the coating where the fluid touches the steel, the circuit closes and a signal is sent. It differs from current systems by offering continuous and comprehensive monitoring 24/7 and is non-invasive, intrinsically safe, failsafe, works in all operating conditions and can monitor the inside, outside or both of a vessel or pipe.

“It’s simple stuff hooked up to advanced technology,” said Dan Chamberland, Fuller Industrial manager of technical services and customer care. “We invented this to save our customers money on downtime due to maintenance or repairs. It signals to people there is going to be a leak before it happens. It’s a huge difference.”

Fuller Industrial has done extensive in-house testing on the new system in a wide variety of failures in pipes and tanks. They have proven the technology works in a 20-foot section of pipe. They are convinced it will be reliable in the field. The markets are vast for this new technology, including mining, oil and gas, overland pipeline, trucking and rail transport. Fuller’s goal is to get it commercialized and find a partner to take it to “another level.”

“It protects people and the environment,” Fuller said. “Leaks are expensive. It would pay for itself the first time it went off on most systems.”

Fuller has keen interest from many mining companies and has had several meetings with top officials from natural gas distributor Enbridge Inc. Fuller expects the new system to be a world-wide success. “It’s neat this technology was invented in Sudbury,” he said. “There is already international interest in it. It’s exciting to see where it will go.”

Fuller Industrial was established in 2004. The company manufactures world-class carbon steel pipe and rubber and liquid coatings and linings for pipe and tank systems.

The company has an extensive range of services including pipe fabrication, detailed engineering/design, exterior coating, internal lining, packaging and logistics.

www.fullerindustrial.com

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