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Smart Pigging

Question Corner: December 2020

by Tim Athan

From the December, 2020 issue

Q. What is being built on the large wooded tract on the southwest corner of Dixboro Rd. and Geddes Rd.?

A. DTE is constructing a "smart pigging" testing facility to support in-line inspections of its natural gas pipelines. Originally developed for oil pipelines, "pigging" sends an object through the pipes to clean and inspect them.

Some early pigs were made from straw bales wrapped in barbed wire, while others used leather. Both made a squealing noise while traveling through pipe, sounding like a pig's squeal, which led to their name. Today's smart pigs deploy sophisticated electronic instruments that scan for anomalies so they can be repaired before causing problems.

Pipeline pigs have been used as plot devices in three James Bond films. There has been no announcement of Bond film production in our area.

Got a question? Email     (end of article)


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