This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

PG&E Unveils New, High-Tech Laser Scanner Device Designed To Enhance Pipeline Safety

Stocks in this article: PCG

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today announced that it has added a new, high-tech laser scanner device to its suite of technology used to enhance gas pipeline safety in the field. This new tool provides a highly efficient and accurate way to determine the safety and integrity of natural gas pipelines.

The hand-held device, called EXAscan, manufactured by Creaform of Levis, Quebec, is held a few inches above a section of pipeline and produces a three-dimensional, color-coded view of the pipeline on a monitor. Accurate within 40 microns, or 0.0016 of an inch, the device can detect potential safety concerns such as corrosion, dents or warping within a pipeline.

Conventional industry practice for measuring pipeline corrosion involves digging down to a section of the pipe, drawing an extensive grid of one-inch squares on the pipe, and then measuring the "wall loss"—or effects of corrosion—square by square with a manual tool. The EXAscan technology allows PG&E to capture the same information from the entire pipeline section within minutes and helps assess whether that section is fit for service. PG&E Senior Welding Engineer Bronson Shelly described using the new product as "night and day" compared to the manual process.

"When it comes to finding the nooks and crannies of pipeline dents or external corrosion, the EXAscan provides speed and detail far and above the mechanical way of doing things," said Alex Gutierrez, a supervisor with PG&E's Applied Technology Services division.

The device has already proven useful at PG&E. In spring 2012, a crew in the East Bay used it to check the status of a gas pipeline when the weight of a construction crane caused an underground water main to break. The crew did an ovality check—a process that ensures the pipeline is at least 97 percent of being perfectly round—on a nearby gas pipeline to confirm that it did not sustain damage. In that case, the scanner found no concerns with the pipeline's shape, thereby assuring its integrity.

The EXAscan's capabilities extend beyond gas operations into PG&E's electric operations and electric supply. The device helped PG&E's hydroelectric engineers perform a stress test to ensure the structural integrity of newly repaired rotors at Helms Pumped Storage Plant in the Sierra National Forest.

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

Jim Cramer's protégé, David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

Jim Cramer's protégé, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 17,429.74 +238.37 1.39%
S&P 500 2,021.16 +19.00 0.95%
NASDAQ 4,681.17 +43.1760 0.93%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs