When To Pig Out: Reasons For Carrying Out Pipeline Pigging

When To Pig Out: Reasons For Carrying Out Pipeline Pigging

Pipeline pigging is a crucial process for any company that uses industrial pipes, especially those in the oil and gas industry. The basic function of pipeline pigging is to clear out the interior of an entire pipeline, but pigging equipment can also be used for inspections and monitoring.

Funny as the name may sound, pipeline pigs may have been named after the squealing sound made by the equipment when it moves through the pipelines. Some people also created backronyms for ‘pig’, one of which stands for ‘pipeline intervention gadget’.


How does pipeline pigging work?

A basic pigging system involves three components: the pig, launcher, and receiver. Together, these components are called the ‘pig trap’. To perform the process, the pig launcher launches the pig towards the receiver. The pig, a cylindrical device, is either pulled along the length of the pipeline using a string or by the force of a fluid flowing through the line.

Pipeline pigging is a hazardous process that requires the expertise of professionals to execute. Yet, it is an important and even necessary process for some types of piping systems. Here are some cases and reasons you would want to carry out pipeline pigging on your piping system:


  • Before first use

After the initial construction or renovation works, performing pipeline pigging helps clear out any debris left over from the installation works. This ensures the system starts on a clean slate, without any contaminants or obstructions to impede the flow of the medium.


  • Routine maintenance

After some time in use, sediments can get deposited on the walls of the pipes, and fluid that gets transported can also settle into the surface, affecting fluid flow. Most industrial pipelines will benefit from routine, scheduled pipeline pigging to remove the buildup of contaminants and optimise flow rates.


  • Change of fluids

In any event your piping system is used for more than one type of fluid; carrying out pigging at every change of fluid is a good practice. This prevents mixing and cross-contamination and reduces wastage – compared to flushing out the pipes with water, for example.


  • Inspection and troubleshooting

Special pigs can be used to observe and take key measurements of parameters inside the pipe. They can be used to identify and locate deformations and metal loss so that workers can decide whether repair works are needed and which part of the pipe to open up.



Pipeline pigging is a useful process for maintaining the health of piping systems. It’s worth understanding more about pipeline pigging and the different types of pigs to be clear about which one to use.

As leading industry suppliers of industrial engineering parts, we understand the importance of using quality pipeline-pigging equipment to maintain pipeline flow and integrity across the line. Be it for routine maintenance or more specific troubleshooting purposes; you can count on us to supply the right type of pigs and equipment for your needs.

Discuss your project with us to get a quotation, or browse further for more engineering solutions like fabric expansion joints, valves and fittings, or Teflon hoses.