The ice slurry, comprised of very small ice crystals, is pushed through the section of pipe under pressure to carry out the cleaning process. The slurry is pumped into a pipe like a liquid but moves through the pipework like a solid plug, detaching contaminants and fouling from the pipe wall and carrying them out of the pipe entrained within the ice pig.
Ice Pigging™ has the benefits of solid conventional pigging, but without any of the associated hazards; the Ice Pig™ can flow like a liquid through obstructions such as
changes in diameter and valves, and it can be inserted and ejected from the pipe using small diameter fittings. In the unlikely event of an Ice Pig™ becoming stuck it can be left to melt and flushed out after a few hours.
The process can be undertaken on all pipe materials, on a range of diameters from 8mm up to 600mm and on lengths of several kilometres. Ice Pigging™ cleans in a single pass, so is incredibly fast and water efficient, as well as requiring no specific cleaning chemicals.
Ice Pigging™ is incredibly versatile and can be used for a diverse range of applications. It is commonly used by water supply and sewage companies as well as a wide range of industries including defence, aerospace, automotive, electronics and district heating; and manufacturing organisations such as chemical and pharmaceutical, health & beauty, paint and coatings.
Although the principles of Ice Pigging™ are common to all applications, every case requires a subtle blend of ice, additives, and quantities according to the type of lines, temperatures and other variables. This level of flexibility allows the ice to be customised for each individual operation or application.
Ice Pigging™ is an environmentally safe process, using significantly less water than other cleaning options and in many cases can instigate a reduction in the energy required as well as remove the need to use chemicals. Waste products from the pipework can be captured and managed appropriately.
SUEZ can deliver the process as a service with our mobile delivery units or we can install a fully automated machine to provide regular cleaning.
The adaptable nature of the Ice Pig™ enables a great range of pipe sizes and networks to be cleaned. With Ice Pigging™, long sections of pipe can be cleaned in one operation, usually between existing fittings which removes the need to break the pipe into sections for water flushing or water jetting. The quality of clean is significantly higher (up to 1000 times cleaner) than can be achieved by water flushing alone. The Ice Pigging™ technique uses less water, and in applications where the pipeline being cleaned contains a product or recoverable material, it enables up to 85% of the product to be recovered from the pipelines. Ice Pigging™ is very quick as pipelines can be cleaned in a single pass, dramatically reducing downtime, improving Overall Operational Effectiveness (OOE) and minimising customer disruption. A cleaning process that might have taken weeks can be achieved in days and what might have taken days can be completed in minutes.
Ice Pigging™ is a non-aggressive process that does not damage pipes, pipe linings or ferrules and, by not introducing abnormal stresses to the network, reduces the likelihood of leakage. Ice Pigging™ is faster and can be performed over larger diameters and greater lengths than air scouring. Importantly, the quality of clean is significantly higher.
An Ice Pig™ is usually inserted and removed via existing fittings and carries much less risk – if it were ever to get stuck, the ice would simply melt. Conventional and foam pigs present more disruption and risk than Ice Pigging™; the installation of launching chambers is required and if the pig or swab gets stuck it must be located and the site excavated or pipes dismantled to remove it. Ice Pigging™ is less expensive than foam swabbing as typically no excavations are required. Ice Pigging™ is much less disruptive, with pipe outage of only a few hours, compared with days for swabbing. An ice pigged pipe can be returned to service immediately; no need for a lengthy chlorination process, and uses less than 50% of the water used in a typical swabbing operation.