Challenge for the High Temperature Clamping Project

Challenge: High-Temp Clamp Design Challenge

Winner Announced on or About
Submissions Closed

Entries currently being evaluated by the judging panel

Brief for High-Temp Clamp Design Challenge

See Official Rules for details.

Corrosion is one of the single largest safety challenges facing the Oil & Gas industry. In the last few years alone, corrosion has run to over a billion dollars in costs and failure to properly identify corrosion can impact the safety of those who work in the field. Inspections are done regularly to identify corrosion signs early on and take preventive measures.  However, doing these regular inspections is not an easy task.

Accessing the pipes is a challenge when they are buried under ground or suspended from large heights, or very importantly, when they run at very high temperatures and are therefore insulated for efficiency and safety reasons.  All this poses several challenges for inspection. First, the pipe must be physically reached – requiring either complex and costly scaffolding or excavation. Once the pipe is accessed, the insulation needs to be removed. Finally, insulation removal often means that service must be stopped (to bring the temperature down to safe levels for operators). As with any industry, service interruption can lead to quality issues and unplanned downtimes. What this implies is that inspection is often done only when the standards demand it, once every few years or so. But the industry is looking for ways to detect early corrosion signs more efficiently and frequently, overcoming these periodic access challenges.  A permanently installed monitoring system could provide an ideal solution to this problem and increase the safety for everyone.

We have developed a monitoring system consisting of a novel ultrasound thickness measurement sensor which can withstand high temperatures and remain in service for several years. These sensors relay the thickness of the underlying pipe to a “monitoring” station that can remotely provide health information of the pipe on an ongoing basis. Thus, with one installation, we could potentially eliminate the necessity for periodic inspections while providing accurate health information 24/7.


While the permanent sensor offering exists, a problem of safely and effectively attaching these sensors for long term monitoring remains. This challenges seeks to design a clamping system that consistently maintains a minimum downward force on ultrasound probes to the surface of a pipe at temperatures as high as 400oC.

Any ultrasound sensor for a system like this needs to maintain contact between the sensor surface and the surface (of the pipe) being inspected. The force (or equivalently, pressure) of the contact has to be maintained consistently to avoid measurement errors. If the sensor is intended to remain in contact for 10 years, we need to ensure that the contact between the sensor and the pipe is maintained for the entire period. To this end, we would like to ask your help in designing a high temperature, robust clamping system that would keep our sensors in contact with the pipe for over 10 years. In addition, it is important that the clamping system can be set up in the field without damaging the asset. Check out the Requirements section for details.

Subject to Official Rules. Contest opens on 9am ET on September 19, 2017. Must submit at least one Entry by 11:59pm EST October 16, 2017 to be eligible.  Free FUSE account required. Employees and contractors of GE and Local Motors and any of their respective parents, affiliates or subsidiaries are ineligible. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.

Go check out the requirements for additional information.

Submissions Closed

Entries currently being evaluated by the judging panel

Awards

First place
$7,000
$7,000 USD Cash Prize and may be eligible to receive additional funding, from a total prize pool of up to $40,000 USD, to continue further development and/or commercialization.
Second place
$2,000
$2,000 USD Cash Prize
Third place
$1,000
$1,000 USD Cash Prize

Requirements for High-Temp Clamp Design Challenge

Requirements

General Requirements: Entries should be in PDF report format of approximately 5-10 pages and contain the following information and elements (BUT SHOULD NOT DISCLOSE CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION):

  • An executive summary describing your proposed solution;
  • A detailed description of your proposed solution, including any supporting drawings and dimensions;
  • A description of how to implement the solution (e.g., Describe how  the clamp will be setup, how  the sensors will be installed, how  the clamp will be mounted on the pipe, etc.); 
  • A description of an experiment that could demonstrate the capabilities of the clamping system you design. 
  • A brief description of you (or your Team’s) experience, background and capabilities, including relevant past projects and experiences.  If your Entry is submitted on behalf of a Team, each Team member should be named individually in the description.

Your Entry must:

  • Provide a radially directed force of between 600 to 1000N at a minimum of 4 probe locations, placed equidistant around the circumference of the pipe 
  • The probe holder that needs to be clamped is roughly shaped like two cuboids placed on top of each other. The one on the bottom has a footprint of 24mm by 12mm and the one on the top has a footprint of 12mm x 12mm. The total height of the holder is 24mm and the bottom piece is 7mm high (leaving 17mm for the top piece). 
  • Be applicable to pipes ranging in diameter ranging from 2 to 22 inches. 
  • Maintain the pressure either actively or passively over a period of 10 years at temperatures up to 400oC. 
  • Provide a mechanism to route the wires from the sensors to a connector on the clamp
  • Provide a “warning” system that notifies the user of a loss in pressure at any sensor. 
  • Be installable by a trained operator in less than 30 minutes.
  • Have a cost of materials less than $300.00.
  • Have minimal lateral movement (<10mm) while applying clamping pressure. 
  • Be self-contained except for data transfer. Specifically, the system proposed should not require external power or control mechanisms to operate to specifications.
  • Provide a cost estimate for prototyping

The list below sets forth suggested items for inclusion your Entry. While these are not requirements, and some submissions may not need all these elements, a more complete Entry will be judged more favorably. 

  • Full CAD drawings and files for any mechanical designs.
  • Complete material specifications.
  • Circuit diagrams and specifications for all electronic components.
  • Estimates of prototyping costs.


Guidelines

The objective of the Competition is to design a clamping system that consistently maintains a minimum downward force on ultrasound probes to the surface of a pipe under insulation. 

OPPORTUNITY:  

Up to 3 winning Entries will be awarded cash prizes of $7,000, $2,000, $1,000 USD, respectively (from a total prize pool of $10,000). 

The First Place Winner also will be eligible to receive additional funding for a six month period (from a total prize pool of up to $40,000 USD) to continue further development and/or commercialization of winner’s Entry technology, provided winner enters into the Development Funding Business Relationship. See Official Rules for details.

Should a team be awarded as winner, the cash prizes will be provided to the Team Leader for distribution amongst the Team members.

TEAMS:

Multiple individuals may collaborate as a team. You may not participate on more than one team. You must register individually for the Challenge before joining a team.  You will need to identify your team, as well as the team leader, at the outset of the Entry in accordance with the requested Entry deliverable. 

A single individual member must serve as an official representative for each team as the team leader. If more than one leader is named for a team, the team will be disqualified from the Challenge.  Team leader is the person submitting the entry. There is no size limit to team size. 

TIMELINE:

  • September 19, 2017 at 9AM ET- Challenge opens to all eligible participants.
  • October 16, 2017 at 11:59PM ET - Challenge closes and all Entries must be submitted.
  • October 17, 2017 at 12:00AM ET - Validation opens for all submitted Entries. 
  • October 23, 2017 at 11:59PM ET - Validation closes and Judging begins.
Winners will be announced on or about December 4, 2017. The server hosting the Competition Website is the official time clock for the Competition. 


JUDGING CRITERIA:

Entries will be evaluated based on compliance with Entry Requirements as well as upon a combination of the following:

  • Completeness of the Entry;
  • Technical Feasibility of your proposed solution;
  • Range, resolution and accuracy;
  • Estimated implementation and production costs; and
  • Proposed solution’s ease of use and simplicity.

Deliverables

Subject to Official Rules. Contest opens on 9am ET on September 19, 2017. Must submit at least one Entry by 11:59pm EST October 16, 2017 to be eligible.  Free FUSE account required. Employees and contractors of GE and Local Motors and any of their respective parents, affiliates or subsidiaries are ineligible. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.


Challenge Terms and Conditions

Entry list for High-Temp Clamp Design Challenge

41 Entries Submitted
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Please note that for this challenge, entries are private and only viewable by the creator, admins, and judging panel.

Challenge Discussion for High-Temp Clamp Design Challenge