Pipe and tank scanning Systems

Pipeline and Tank MRI Systems

Information about the permanent scanning installations can be found here.

Information about the portable scanning system can be found here.

How Our Systems Work


Copper “saddle coils” are readily and easily installed on existing pipelines. They are effective in transferring magnetic information even on insulated pipe that is several inches thick and covered by aluminum sheet. The coils are then charged creating a continuous magnetic field around the pipe. Trillions of small groupings of atoms, called domains, that make up the pipe are forced to line up.

Corrosion in the steel will result in a loss of magnetism. By determining the number of magnetic domains that remain intact, the monitoring technology can accurately measure the degree of corrosion in a pipeline. Once the MRI system is installed, it operates automatically on a schedule. Using sophisticated mathematical modeling, the integrity of a pipe is determined in real time. The monitoring technology provides a visual representation of a pipeline’s percentage of metal loss. Output information can be viewed on any computer, by accessing a secure website.


It is designed to be installed permanently alongside pipelines, with saddle coils of copper wire every two meters along the pipe. Electric current is provided by a power supply at one end of the pipeline and, once activated, sends pulses of current to the coils pairs. A drive coil sends magnetic field along the pipe, and a response coil to detect the pipe’s magnetism. As a pipe corrodes, its degree of magnetization will decrease and the signal will decrease accordingly.

Laid alongside a pipe, the system continuously reports the pipe’s level of corrosion, inside and out. It also measures temperature and strains along the pipeline’s length—information that would have detected the weld failure that caused the San Bruno pipeline explosion.


The portable system works using the same principle, but instead of scanning once a day or week, it scans multiple times a second while being moved across an area to create a 2D representation of the amount of remaining metal in the pipe or tank wall directly underneath the scanner. The portable scanner is very useful for measuring corrosion under the insulation with aluminium sheeting still attached. The portable scanner works best at detecting corrosion located on the ourter surface of the pipe. This prevents the need for destructively taking off the insulation and exposing the pipe or tank to new corrosive environments,


We are presently accepting orders for U.S. or worldwide locales for installations of the FourD MRI system on pipelines within refineries and in the field. Email info@4dimaging.com to place an order.