An Overview of Laser Pipe Profiling


There was a time not so long ago when the pipeline profiling process was completely labour intensive and the operators had no way to find out the specific problems with pipes. A mandrel was pulled through the pipe by two or more operators to find out debris, deposits, and deflections. Understandably, this process was lengthy, laborious, and often resulted in digging up pipelines to address even smaller issues. Also, even if the mandrel stopped, operators had no idea about what made it stop.

What is laser pipe profiling and how does it work?

A more accurate, quicker, and less physical measurement method was born with the advent of the latest cameras and profiling. In simple words, laser pipe profiling refers to the use of lasers in tandem with camera equipment to find out and measure joints, cracks, and deflections in a pipe. Using projected laser light, it helps inspection crews analyse the alignment, ovality, capacity, and diameter of a pipe. In general, laser pipe profilers project a ring of light on the wall of the pipe. Following this, a software is used for extracting the profile from a video captured by the camera and trending it over the pipe’s length. This creates a geometric profile of the pipe. Analysis of the captured profile data helps plan relining projects, verify proper pipe installation, monitor erosion/corrosion, quantify defects, determine remaining pipe life, and analyse partial collapses.


During the installation of new pipes, laser profiling is extensively used as a measure of quality control. In projects that involve installation of new culverts under highways, laser profiling inspection is carried out before the project is completed. Applications of laser profiling also include measurement of pipes that are scheduled for rehabilitation. These measurements are extremely useful for the contractors because it shows the areas where the pipes are oversized or undersized. A laser profile allows creating highly accurate pipeline design because it provides detailed information about the circumferential profile of the pipe.

Types of Laser Pipe Profiling:

Laser pipe profiling can be broadly classified into direct measurement and laser light ring. In direct measurement, the pipe circumference is measured by a camera and laser to deliver a visual that gets relayed back to the user automatically as the camera scans through the pipe. The chance of human error is reduced significantly as the bulk of the work is done by the camera, software, and laser. On the other hand, for laser light ring, human data entry is required before making any measurements. Here, the laser is on the end of a fixed rod placed in front of the camera. To ensure that the average measurements are correct, operators must enter accurate data and field calibration of the cameras must be done. In general, direct measurement provides greater integrity in terms of results.

Hope all of you enjoyed reading this article. At Austeck, we have now established ourselves as the undisputed industry leader in robotic pipeline inspection. Please get in touch with us for all your queries related to drain cleaners, CCTV systems, profiling, robotic cutters, sound testing, etc.