How Does Pipeline Pigging Work

piggingThroughout the nation, pipelines are crucial for transporting energy resources such as gasoline, jet and diesel fuels, natural gases, heating oil, kerosene, propane, and fertilizer (anhydrous ammonia). These resources are used in the transportation industries, home heating, refineries, manufacturing and agriculture. To continuously perform safely and efficiently, pipeline infrastructures need proper maintenance and cleaning. Transmittal of products can become slow or the pipelines could become plugged due to material buildup in the lines. These inefficiencies, as well as cracks and imperfections in the pipelines, can be hazardous.

Pigging” is a form of pipeline cleaning and maintenance designed to assure product flow and keep pipelines running smoothly. The devices used to perform the different operations of maintenance are known as ‘pigs’. To accomplish cleaning and inspecting operations, the pig is inserted into a launching station, also known as a ‘pig launcher’. After closing the pig launcher, the pig is pushed down along the pipeline by the pressure exerted on the flow of the product in the pipe. The pig can also be towed by a cable or other device. The shape of pigs are usually spherical or cylindrical. Pigs scrape and sweep the pipeline sides, while pushing debris ahead. As the pigging continues, the pig is pushed until it reaches a receiving station or the ‘pig catcher’.

Pigging systems can be used in the process of transferring chemicals, paints, lubricating oils, toiletries and cosmetics, in the systems of product blending, filling and storage. To avoid cross-contamination, pigs are used to clean the pipes used in paint blending and lube oil processing and to empty the products from the pipes into tanks. Inspection of pipelines to prevent environmental dangers and explosions from oil and gas leaks are done by ‘smart pigs’. When selecting the right pig, it’s important to know the job the pig will perform, the size of the pipeline and the pipe layout. The development of technology has increased the purposes of pipeline pigging.

Using a variety of manufacturers, offers a full range of pigging and pig accessories. At, Drinkwater assures experience and expertise in their assistance with choosing the exact pig product for specific pigging applications. Drinkwater Products have the reputation for being of the highest quality, backed by a unique team offering lifetime customer care. As the number one source for pipeline maintenance products, Drinkwater’s assistance in building customer pigging programs ensures pipeline integrity by protecting operations from downtown and unforeseen delays.