A Quick Guide to Pigs for Pipeline Cleaning

Pipeline pigging is an essential process for keeping oil and gas pipelines operating safely and efficiently. This process involves the use of specialized utility pigs for pipeline cleaning, or cleaning pigs, that are designed to remove debris and buildup from within the pipelines. While there are many different types of cleaning pigs, they all serve the same purpose of helping to keep pipelines running in top condition.

What is Pigging?

Pigging is a technique used in industrial oil and gas pipelines to clean the interior walls of the pipes. It involves the utilization of a device known as a spherical “pig” to scrape and/or brush the inside of the pipe. This is done to remove any build-up of materials such as sludge, scale, grease and other debris. In some cases, a pigging operation may also be used to detect corrosion or other damage to the pipeline.

Types of Pigs used for Pipeline Cleaning

The pigging device is designed to travel through the pipeline and is propelled by the pipeline pressure or by an independent pig launcher. There are many different types of pipeline cleaning pigs. 

The different pipeline cleaning pig types are typically made from either a foam or elastomeric material and is designed to scrape or brush the interior walls of the pipe as it travels along. In some cases, additional specially designed instruments may be attached to the pig for additional cleaning or inspection.

Foam Pigs

The most common type of cleaning pig is the foam pig. This type of pig is made of a foam material and is designed to fit tightly inside the pipeline. As it travels through the pipeline, the foam material collects any debris or buildup it comes across, leaving the pipeline clean and free of any blockages. Foam pigs are the most widely used in pipeline pigging operations and are used for a variety of applications.

Brush Pigs

Another type of cleaning pig is the metal or brush pig. This type of pig has metal brushes that are designed to scrape away any debris that may have accumulated on the walls of the pipeline. These pigs are often used when pipelines have been in operation for a long period of time and have experienced significant buildup. Brush pigs are also useful for removing rust or corrosion from the interior of the pipeline.

Mandrel Pigs

Mandrel pigs are a solid cast pig from material such as steel or aluminum and are designed to be able to navigate tight bends in a pipeline without being damaged. These pigs are equipped with brushes or discs that are used to clean the interior of the pipeline by scrubbing off debris and deposits from the walls of the pipe.

The primary benefit of mandrel pigs is that they are able to navigate tight bends in a pipeline without damaging the pipe. This makes them ideal for cleaning pipelines with multiple bends, as they can easily navigate the tight turns without causing any damage.

Gel Pigs

Gel pigs are a type of device used to clean pipelines by pushing a gel-like material through the pipe. The gel material is designed to fill the pipe and move along its length, pushing any debris or other particles out of the way. This cleans the pipe and helps to ensure that it is clear of any obstructions or potential blockages. 

Generally, they are made of a synthetic rubber or plastic, and can be designed to fit specific pipelines. The gel material is usually a non-toxic, biodegradable substance that helps to prevent corrosion.

Get ready to revolutionize your pipeline maintenance with pipeline-cleaning experts!

Share this article:

Have a Project for us?

Learn more about our services


Talk to one of our Hydrotesting experts.