Magnitogorsk is an industrial city on the South Eastern side of the Ural Mountains in Russia and is home to one of the largest steel producers in the country, Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works (MMK). Just across the Ural River is Magnitogorsk Vodokanal (Vodokanal), a municipal enterprise that provides water and sanitation to 420,000 residents across a 600km water supply network using steel pipe with diameters between 100 and 1,000mm.
In recent years, both companies have dealt with water leakage, especially from large diameter mains. One of the biggest difficulties encountered was locating these leaks during extreme weather conditions, with temperatures dipping down to -40˚Celsius. Their current leak noise correlators were insufficient, and both companies realized they needed to look for a more advanced leak detection solution.
Prometey, headquartered in St. Petersburg, is a company known for serving the local industrial enterprises with the latest technology in the field of nondestructive diagnostics. Sergey Koshkin, Technical Director of Prometey, went on-site to determine the challenges that needed to be addressed in order to accurately pinpoint leaks on various pipe materials and with varying diameters. Given the rugged terrain, Koshkin needed a compact solution that was easy to transport. After Koshkin’s evaluation of the distribution network, he recommended Echologics® LeakFinder-STTM correlators as the best option.
Prometey conducted a two-day technical training with MMK’s leak detection engineers and Vodokanal’s chief engineer, chief technologist, engineers, and head of leak detection. It began with highlighting the principles behind the acoustic correlation capabilities of the technology and how it can be used to pinpoint leaks.
Designed by engineers for engineers, the LeakFinder-STTM correlator uses advanced signal processing and acoustic sensor to locate leaks and even the quiet narrow-band low-frequency leaks, long before they become detectable by conventional detection methods. The automatic noise filter and velocity calculator are highly accurate in identifying leaks on any material of pipe and avoiding “dry holes”. The interface was perfected in the field through collaboration with end-users and is simple to operate. “Anyone that has used Microsoft Windows can easily and confidently operate the LeakFinder-STTM correlator,” said Koshkin.
The training covered live demonstration and hands-on testing on Vodokanal’s 500 & 600mm diameter steel transmission pipeline. Known for its speed and accuracy, the noise correlator very quickly identified a point of interest when a peak on the user interface was observed in this 2km pipe section. “Both MMK and Vodokanal employees were very pleased with the ease and rapid correlation to find the leak,” said Koshkin. The next day, an excavation team from Vodokanal was dispatched and the leak was found as pinpointed by the LeakFinder-STTM correlator.
“The superior accuracy, ease of use, and, most importantly, rugged packaging has given us the privilege of assisting both our clients in driving down water loss in the city of Magnitogorsk” concluded Koshkin. Both MMK and Vodokanal use the LeakFinder-STTM weekly when they suspect there is a problem in one of their pipelines.