| Connect Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook
About | Subscribe | Advertise


Download our free Blasting Resource Guide eResource Book

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

PG&E Trying 3D Laser for Pipe Safety

Friday, January 25, 2013

More items for Health & Safety

Comment | More

A high-tech laser scanner was recently implemented to enhance gas pipeline safety and detect corrosion at Pacific Gas & Electric.

PG&E announced on Jan. 17 that it is testing a 3D laser scanner to look at pipe corrosion and recently used it to map the surface of a 16-inch gas pipe.

Accurate and Fast

While being held a few inches above a section of pipeline, the scanner produces a 3D, color-coded view of the pipeline on a monitor and can detect potential concerns, according to PG&E. Accurate within 40 microns, the technology can provide information for an entire pipeline section within minutes, versus the traditional manual inspections.


PG&E is trying out 3D laser scanners to identify possible safety concerns on pipelines.

The hand-held scanner is called EXAscan and is manufactured by Creaform, located in Quebec.

"Using the laser scanner, compared to conventional means, would save, literally, hours and hours and hours," said Alexander Gutierrez, PG&E's senior welding engineer.

"When it comes to finding the nooks and crannies of pipeline dents or external corrosion, the EXAscan provides speed and detail far and above the mechanical way of doing things," said Gutierrez.

The company said that the scanner will work in conjunction with other pipeline safety tools to test, repair and replace segments of pipeline as needed, as set forth in PG&E's Pipeline Safety Enhancement Plan (PSEP).

"This is one of several technologies that PG&E has invested in and is testing right now," said Brittany Chord, spokesperson for the company.

San Bruno Settlement

However, the new equipment would likely not have found the internal pipe problems that caused the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion, according to KGO-TV 7, an ABC affiliate in San Francisco.

The explosion on Sept. 9, 2010, caused a 28-foot-long rupture in 30-inch-diameter pipeline, blowing open a massive crater and launching the ruptured section of pipe 100 feet into the air. The blast leveled a neighborhood and killed eight people. 


The deadly 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion launched a ruptured pipe 100 feet high.

In 2012, the company agreed to pay a $70 million municipal restitution package, in addition to earlier commitments to replace and repair the city's infrastructure.

A recent lawsuit settlement with a family that lost a mother and daughter in the explosion requires the utility to strengthen its gas pipeline safety and keep closer watch on the life span of its pipelines.

"[The family] wanted to make sure something came out of this tragedy," said family attorney Steve Campora. "I think they want to make sure what happened to their wife and daughter won't be in vain."

In addition to an undisclosed payment, the settlement requires the utility to calculate a minimum safe life span for pipes in populated areas and give the family reports on their progress. The family will also be able to demand an audit of the company's progress on the work.


Tagged categories: Explosions; Health and safety; Pipelines

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.


The Next Generation
of Blasting

• Lightest
• Coolest
• Most Comfortable
• Most Dependable

Nationwide Overspray
Profession Overspray Removal Services

The Finest Name in Safe Overspray Removal. We specialize in removing all contaminants from any surface. Family Owned and Operated for 33 years! Fully insured. Satisfaction is guaranteed.

SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings
SSPC 2016 Register Now!

SSPC2016 is earlier this year, don't forget to book your plane tickets and hotel. See you soon. For more information visit

Graco Inc.
Graco Mortar Pump

The M680 sprays epoxy-based mortars, anti-skid coatings, cementitious and filled materials. Compact.
Easy to use.
Call 877-844-7226 or

Larson Electronics
Larson Electronics Explosion Proof Tank Lighting

Larson Electronics is a premium supplier and manufacturer of portable explosion proof lighting systems for tank cleaning and servicing lighting.

Detail Masters
Overspray Removal

We offer professional, turnkey service and unparalleled quality!
Our process can save hundreds— even thousands of dollars. It's fast, environmentally safe and 100% guaranteed.

Blastox/The TDJ Group, Inc.
Blastox - One Step
Lead Abatement

Don't waste money on added labor steps with other methods. Don't mix, meter or apply at the job-site. Avoid strict hazardous waste rules.
Let your painters paint

CS Unitec
Peening Preparation Tools

CS Unitec’s hand-held scarifiers are an ideal alternative to small-area shot blasting for cleaning and preparing concrete & metal surfaces.

Sidewinder/Persyst Enterprises, Inc.
The Sidewinder Model M2 Solvent Recycler

Combat the rising cost of gunwash, thinners, acetone & more while drastically reducing waste disposal coat.

Novatek Corporation
Dustless Coatings Removal

Strip it, clean it, and profile it,
all dust free! High production
rates and Blast like finishes.
Comply with new lead

Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us

© Copyright 2000-2015, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail