Application of Pre-screen NDT Technology

This article, which is based on a technical paper that will be presented at the UESI Pipelines 2024 Conference “Utility Infrastructure: Moving Onward to a Sustainable Future” on July 27-July 31st in Calgary, AB, details a project with Jasper municipality in Alberta, Canada.   Showcasing PICA’s innovation in pipeline inspection through the Multi-Sensor Autonomous Inspection Device (MSAID) from PICA’s Pre-screening NDT service solution (Navigator). This device represents a significant advancement in low-resolution, non-invasive pipeline condition assessment.

PICA’s Innovation

PICA, collaborating with Russell NDE Systems, developed Navigator to address the challenges faced by asset managers in maintaining aging water and wastewater infrastructure. This technology is designed to provide rapid, low-resolution data collection for initial condition assessment, helping to pinpoint areas needing detailed examination.

Challenges in Pipeline Infrastructure

Asset managers face numerous challenges, including the inability to take pipelines out of service for inspection, inaccurate record-keeping, and budget constraints for full replacements. The MSAID (Navigator) is a response to these challenges, offering a practical solution for baseline data collection.

MSAID (Navigator) Technology

The device integrates a super-sensitive ultrasonic crystal acoustic sensor, a magnetometer, and a pressure sensor to detect leaks, gas pockets, and magnetic features in pipelines. It also includes an accelerometer and an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) for location tracking. The device’s buoyancy can be adjusted on-site, ensuring successful navigation through various pipeline conditions.

Case Study: Jasper, Alberta

In Jasper, a suspected water line leak was efficiently addressed using MSAID. Launched and retrieved through augmented fire hydrants, the device provided rapid data collection without service interruption. The data analysis pinpointed the leak within 10 meters, enabling quick repair and minimizing water loss for the municipality.

Result and Impact

The Navigator’s deployment in Jasper exemplifies its effectiveness in rapid leak detection and underscores PICA’s ability to provide efficient solutions for water infrastructure challenges. This technology not only saves time and resources but also ensures minimal disruption to community water supplies.

PICA Partnership

Pipeline Inspection & Condition Analysis Corporation (PICA) provides innovative solutions for pipeline inspection, as demonstrated in their project with Jasper municipality, Alberta, and presented at the ASCE Conference. Their Multi-Sensor Autonomous Inspection Device (MSAID) offers a groundbreaking approach to pipeline condition assessment, making PICA’s services essential for asset managers, pipeline operators, and owners.

Advanced Inspection Technology

PICA’s MSAID (Navigator) from its Pre-Screening NDT service solutions is an example of their cutting-edge technology, integrating multiple sensors for comprehensive pipeline assessment. It detects leaks, gas pockets, and other anomalies with precision, as seen in the successful Jasper project. This level of accuracy is crucial for maintaining pipeline integrity and preventing catastrophic failures.

Minimally Invasive and Efficient

One of the significant advantages of PICA’s services is the minimal invasiveness of their inspection tools. The Navigator, for instance, can be deployed without service interruptions, a critical factor in maintaining continuous water supply, as demonstrated in the Jasper case study.

Proactive Pipeline Management

PICA’s approach aligns with the needs of modern infrastructure management, emphasizing proactive inspections to extend the lifespan of pipeline assets. This strategy not only ensures safety and reliability but also results in significant cost savings by preventing extensive damage and costly emergency repairs.

Customized Solutions for Diverse Challenges

PICA offers solutions tailored to the specific challenges and conditions of various pipeline systems. Their ability to adjust the buoyancy of the Navigator to suit different pipeline environments, as seen in Jasper, illustrates their commitment to providing flexible and effective solutions.

Enhancing Safety and Reliability

Safety and reliability are at the forefront of PICA’s services. Their technologies, like the Navigator, enable early detection of potential failures, thereby enhancing the safety of the pipeline infrastructure and protecting the communities it serves.

Cost-Effective Maintenance Planning

PICA’s pre-screening NDT inspection tools allow for targeted maintenance planning. By identifying specific problem areas, asset managers can allocate resources more effectively, avoiding unnecessary expenditures on unneeded repairs or replacements.

Rapid Data Acquisition and Analysis

The speed of data acquisition and analysis with PICA’s technology is unparalleled. In the Jasper project, the leak location was identified within 24 hours of completing the field operation, exemplifying the efficiency and timeliness of their services.

Global Applicability

PICA’s solutions, as showcased in their work with Jasper municipality and at the ASCE Conference, have global applicability. Their technologies are versatile and can be adapted to various pipeline materials and configurations, making them suitable for diverse geographic and operational contexts.

Supporting Sustainable Infrastructure

PICA’s services contribute to the sustainability of pipeline infrastructure. By enabling effective maintenance and extending the life of existing pipelines, they support environmentally responsible management practices.


PICA’s Navigator is a groundbreaking tool in the field of pipeline inspection, offering asset managers a minimally invasive, efficient, and accurate method for preliminary pipeline condition assessment. Its success in Jasper highlights its potential as a global solution for diverse pipeline infrastructures.

Asset managers, pipeline operators, and owners should consider PICA’s services for their unparalleled efficiency, accuracy, and innovation in pipeline inspection. As demonstrated in their successful project with Jasper municipality which will be presented at the UESI Pipelines 2024 Conference “Utility Infrastructure: Moving Onward to a Sustainable Future” on July 27-July 31st in Calgary, AB.

PICA’s technology, particularly the Navigator (MSAID), offers a practical, minimally invasive, and highly effective solution for modern pipeline condition assessment. Their approach not only ensures the safety and reliability of critical infrastructure but also supports sustainable, cost-effective management strategies, making them an essential partner in the field of pipeline inspection and maintenance.