Microline's new Pipeline Inspection Gauge (PIG) has over 75 circuit boards collecting data from 1,000 sensors every 500 microseconds. And its configuration app displays a flood of information clearly. This potent combination gives Microline a clear advantage over the competition.
Microline tests oil and gas pipelines for corrosion, deformity, and weakness using Pipeline Inspection Gauges (PIGs) and other tools. They wanted to create a new PIG for testing large-diameter (24-inch) pipelines.
To stand out from the competition, Microline needed two things: highly-accurate deformity data and an efficient, modern PIG configuration application
Microline hired Atomic to help their team create firmware on the PIG that collects and manages data from its many sensors, and to design and build the Windows diagnostic app (eventually called Streamline).Streamline in The Press
Streamline is a beautiful application. Personnel are often under pressure in the field because the customer wants to get the pipe back online ASAP. So we focused heavily on conveying the right amount of information in the right way. Jason Enyart, Embedded Software Manager
PIG Embedded System
The Microline/Atomic team developed firmware to collect and store data from many sensors on the 6-foot-long, 2-foot-wide PIG. The finished PIG has 78 circuit boards, incorporating 90 microprocessors. It can travel over 300 miles and record data from all of its sensors every 16th of an inch (every 500 microseconds).
Streamline Windows App
Technicians use Streamline to configure, test, prep, launch, and gather collected data from a PIG. Previous apps were complex and divided configuration data among many screens, making it hard to quickly identify problems or find a particular data point.
The Microline/Atomic team matched data on-screen with the position of the corresponding sensors on the PIG, helping technicians quickly find what they're looking for. They also flattened the data, showing a high-level overview on the main screen and making it easy to access any functional aspect of the PIG without clicking several layers deep.
The Microline/Atomic team worked closely with field engineers and process managers to figure out what data they needed to see. Streamline slices the data many different ways, based on what questions need to be answered, and the technicians' workflows.
Unlike other configuration apps, Streamline also reviews the status of each sensor and shows warnings. Streamline is a Windows app, developed in C# using WPF.
Bringing it All Together
To keep all parts of the project working together, the team developed an open-source tool called Cauterize that allows the PIG, Streamline, and other tools to share the same communication protocol. This dramatically reduced miscommunication and the possibility of error.
Atomic also developed a simulation framework so the team could test Streamline with real data as they developed it — long before a PIG was built and deployed.
The first PIG for 24-inch pipelines was completed in Spring 2014. Microline next plans to extend Streamline to new and existing PIGs of other sizes.
- System Architecture
- Information Architecture
- Interaction Design
- Visual Design
- Software Development
- User Testing
Pipeline Inspection Gauge
ARM Processors (Cortex M3 & M4)
CAN & Ethernet Communication
WPF Graphics Framework