Planning a Pigging System – Getting Started

What You Need to Know to Get Your Product Recovery Project Underway. 

Industrial process pigging is probably the most popular and effective method of recovering useable, residual product from pipelines. It’s used in a variety of production processes ranging from alcoholic beverages and soft drinks to paint and varnish, from the finest quality confectionery to pet food, and from high-end cosmetics to household cleaning fluids.start-pigging-project

Successfully implemented, pigging systems deliver a wide range of benefits with clear return on investment. They can be deployed on existing industrial plant as well as new equipment, and the majority of solutions delivered by HPS typically pay for themselves in less than twelve months. But like many projects, getting started can often be one of the most difficult hurdles. It is, however, much less of a hurdle if you have some basic information and know where to begin.

This blog article outlines the background information you need to take in to account when choosing a pigging system and what to consider when planning a pigging-based product recovery solution.

Set Out Your Aims and Objectives

While efficient product recovery is a key driver to most pigging system projects, overall objectives often include improving green credentials, streamlining operations, increased efficiency or profit maximisation. Objectives that are more specific typically include improved pipe cleaning, increasing overall processing speed, and reduction of water and cleaning fluid usage (as well as product recovery). However, these objectives vary depending on application. For example, a winery may focus on reducing dissolved oxygen or other contamination risks while transferring their liquids, while a cosmetics company may focus on eliminating as much product waste as possible.

Prioritising your key objectives will make it easier for your pigging system provider to design the right solution for you. Having clearly defined SMART objectives also makes it easier for you to assess the success of your project. Typical examples are % increase in product yield during a set number of production runs, reduction in waste per week, month or year, number of minutes saved per week due to faster changeover times, reduction of water or cleaning fluid usage in litres per month, or number of hours saved each week due to faster cleaning.

How to Choose a Pigging System

Given that there are a broad variety of applications, aims and objectives, there is similarly a broad variety of pigging system designs and specifications. As such, there is no such thing as an ‘off the shelf’ product recovery or pigging system.

HPS designs each of its systems around the precise requirements, needs and infrastructure of each customer. HPS experts will help you choose the most suitable system for you. However, a little background research can help so you know the basics of the single pig, double pig and tank drop off: here are some pigging system demo videos showing how these different systems operate.

Different products have different requirements. For example, a single-pig system will suit many applications, but if your products has a tendency to foam, or must not come in to contact with air, we would probably recommend a double pig system. The type of product will also affect the type of pig we recommend. For example, whether your product is a foodstuff, contains traces of silicon, or is solvent based will influence the type of pig required.

Basic Information

Once you’ve set out your aims and objectives, it is worth collating some basic information about your existing or planned infrastructure, before approaching a pigging specialist such as HPS Product Recovery Solutions.

Here are some of the key areas of information you should be considering. If you can’t answer everything it will still be possible for your pigging company to provide you with a recommended system specification, but the more information you can provide, the better.

Your Products

As long as you process a liquid, HPS can pig it! However, as well as the type of products you process, if you have some information about typical operating temperatures, viscosity, pumping pressures and so on it will help our engineers more accurately specify a solution for you.

Your Current Operation

Before recommending a pigging solution, it is important to outline how your current liquid processing system is set up. For example, how many product sources do you have, how many destinations, the approximate distance between each, how you currently clean between changeovers, changeover frequency and so on.

Your Existing Pipeline Infrastructure

The type, dimensions, material and condition of your existing pipeline infrastructure will directly influence the design of your pigging system. Here’s a useful article on pipeline infrastructure for pigging systems.

Existing Services

There are different ways to propel pigs. The most common is by using compressed air, or using a gas such as nitrogen or carbon dioxide. Other methods of propelling pigs include water or even the next product to be processed. It is usually preferable to use existing services if possible, so take a note of the compressed air, gas or other services you have available, including their rating.

Pigging System Automation

Automated pigging systems are more efficient, more reliable, easier to run and safer than manual systems. You may have your own PLC, SCADA or HMI system specialists that will be able to set up programming and control for you. Alternatively, you can call on the extensive experience of HPS pigging system automation specialists.

Next Steps

Once you’ve clarified your objectives and gathered some background and technical information, it will be easier for your chosen partner company to provide you with some pigging system costs. For accurate pricing, our pigging system request a quote facility will help us provide you with a accurate budgetary information for your new project. They’ll also provide information about the design details, installation, delivery, training, site surveys, customer care and so on. There’s no substitute for a face to face meeting, so if you would like to discuss your project with one of our specialist pigging system engineers or arrange an on-site visit, simply contact your local HPS representative, or email info@hps-pigging.com. Our friendly, knowledgeable experts will provide you with all the information you need to get your project underway.