High-resolution internal inspection tools or smart pigs have revolutionized the pipeline industry. The ability to accurately locate corrosion, dents, close metal objects, and mechanical damage, have brought the industry out of the dark ages of pump and pray hydro-testing. Past methods of excavating and locating these anomalies, however, have been just as archaic. The success of finding the closest girth weld to the anomaly is crucial to the speed and cost of making repairs and inspections. Past weld locating techniques have involved using a compass or hardware store stud finders after the pipeline had been excavated, until now.

Global Utility Tracking Systems’ WeldWitcher is the industry’s first electronic breakthrough in this field. This unit can accurately sense the magnetic signature of the girth welds on pipelines up to 10 feet in depth, without excavation. The unit is lightweight, rugged and easy to use. Actual field use has shown the WeldWitcher can cut field costs in half and double repair crew productivity. As if this capability was not enough, the unit also solves the problem involved with accurately measuring the distance from the Above‑Ground Marker (AGM) to the target weld by using an on-board mounted WAAS GPS unit, Garmin's GPSMap 76. This unit uses the new satellites launched for the FAA to auto-land aircraft, and reads footage in feet and tenths of feet. This unique capability gives the user the ability to measure distance across flooded fields, underbrush and other tough terrain. This feature also eliminates errors in distance measurement due to sag in tape measures, especially in windy conditions, and only requires one person versus two.

 Another added capability of the WeldWitcher involves the lost or stuck Smart Pig. Because the unit is extremely sensitive to magnetic fields, and the forward portion of the tool generates an immense one, the WeldWitcher can be used to positively identify its location in the pipeline prior to cut out.



As the locator is moved over the pipeline, the waveform depicts the increase in the frequency of the locator's 20 Hz audio idling signal. The audio signal peaks over the magnetic signatures at the two joints of a steel, welded pipeline.

Weighing in at 1.6 pounds, and 42.5 inches in length, the WeldWitcheris powered by 4 AA alkaline batteries, giving it 80+ hours of operation. The Garmin GPSMap76 is powered by 2 AA alkaline batteries and can be used as a handheld or in tandem with the WeldWitcher™. The GPSMap 76 comes with a mount, PC interface cable and carrying case. The WeldWitchercomes with a padded, water resistant carry case and 7-year warranty. The total packaged price is $2,500 (excluding sales tax and shipping costs).