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Hard Spots and Hard Spots with Crack-Like Defects

Although hard spots themselves are not a threat to the integrity of your pipeline, they can lead to hydrogen induced cracking, resulting in catastrophic leakage of product. In the Liquids Transmission market, TDW offers a suite of solutions to detect both hard spots and defects within hard spots, often using just one tool.

TDW services enable operators to:

  • Detect both hard spots and crack-like defects using a single tool.
  • Pinpoint the exact location of hard spots.
  • Assess damage to prioritize repairs.
  • Keep lines running safely and efficiently, in compliance with company, industry, and regulatory standards.
  • Reduce danger to personnel and the environment by preventing hard spot cracking.
  • Reduce risk of financial loss due to product leaking from a hard spot crack.



Pigging programs scaled to the needs of Liquids Transmission operators help clean lines to enhance pipeline integrity by reducing the risk of leaks through the removal of built-up liquids, contaminants, and deposits on the pipe wall. Cleaning pigs prepare pipelines for evaluation, which helps to improve data capture and provide the most valuable and accurate information possible in detecting hard spots and crack-like defects.

  • VANTAGE® V cleaning pig – Multi-use pig designed to remove both hard, crust-like and soft, gummy deposits, as well as ferrous materials.
  • PitBoss™ cleaning pig – Removes soft to medium-hard deposits from internal pits, which is essential to improving the effectiveness of corrosion inhibitors.
  • WCK cleaning pig – Removes contaminants and deposits that increase resistance to flow.
  • REDSKIN™ foam pig – Used for light cleaning; one version incorporates a urethane cleaning wrap with bypass groove that effectively removes paraffin and other soft deposits that could lead to corrosion.
  • V-Jet® corrosion inhibitor pig – Sprays corrosion inhibitor onto the hard-to-reach inside top portion of multi-phase gas gathering and transmission lines.
  • OptionAll™ batching pig – Designed for light cleaning, line filling and dewatering, batch separation, and liquid removal.
  • VANTAGE® V batching pig – Multi-use pigs used for batching, displacing, and light cleaning,
  • UNISPHERE™ pig – Provides removal of liquid hydrocarbons and water from pipelines and piping systems. 

Technical assistance is available from TDW subject matter experts for special circumstances or if the path to a solution requires consultation.


Through advanced technology to detect and characterize hard spots and hard spots with crack-like defects with a high degree of accuracy, TDW helps Liquids Transmission operators optimize the number of inspections and unnecessary excavations, saving time while lowering operational risks and costs.

  • Multiple Dataset (MDS) platform Combines multiple technologies to generate comprehensive, critical information in a single tool run. To detect hard spots and crack-like defects, MDS utilizes SpirALL® Magnetic Flux Leakage (SMFL) and Low Field Axial MFL.
  • SpirALL® Electromagnetic Acoustic Transducer (EMAT) – Using a unique sensor/magnetizer configuration, guided ultrasonic (sound) waves are transmitted into the pipe wall through direct contact, allowing EMAT to inspect natural gas and liquids pipelines. This tool collects data related to axial cracking (i.e., Stress Corrosion Cracking (SCC), Hydrogen Induced Corrosion (HIC), fatigue cracks, etc.) and correlates those results to the hard spots detected by Low Field Axial MFL. This allows detection of an interactive threat such as axial cracking with a hard spot.
  • XYZ mapping (XYZ) – Supplies highly accurate location information about every hard spot reported by pairing global positioning system (GPS) coordinates with inertial mapping.


TDW provides Liquids Transmission operators non-destructive in-ditch assessment to detect and size crack and crack-like anomalies in the pipe wall, including inside welds, near mechanical damage, and in high-stress areas such as dents.

  • Eddy current array (ECA) – This provides a highly sensitive means of detecting permeability changes in a pipeline wall, allowing operators to address flaws, such as hard spots, before they lead to further damage.
  • Phased array – Advanced ultrasonic inspection is used to detect and size planar anomalies, such as cracks and crack-like features. This evaluation allows for permanent documentation of acquired data for anomaly growth monitoring.
  • Conventional shear wave ultrasound – This technology detects and sizes planar anomalies, such as cracks and crack-like features that are perpendicular to the pipe wall.
  • Magnetic particle inspection (MPI) – A combination of magnetic flux leakage (MFL) testing and visual inspection, this evaluation checks exposed pipe for surface anomalies, such as cracks.