Russell N.D.E. Systems Inc.

2001 Winner: Industrial Research

Russell N.D.E. Systems Inc. of Edmonton is a pioneer in the use of Remote Field Eddy Current (RFEC) technology to inspect carbon steel tubes and pipes in Alberta’s oil and gas sector. The non-destructive procedure cost-effectively detects corrosion defects, cracks and ultimately leaks, which can devastate pipeline operators and land owners alike. With over 600 leaks reported in Alberta last year alone, the requirement for innovative technologies, such as RFEC, to detect these leaks continues to escalate.

Using a prototype tool and instrument, Russell recently applied the RFEC technology to the inspection of a number of shallow gas pipelines in Alberta. It was bench and field tested with excellent results, although improvement to its distance capability still remains a challenge. With the NRC/ASTech prize, David Russell, president, plans to hire a new graduate student to enhance the technology. Advances to this technology will result in increased employment, export opportunities, and most certainly, safety – fewer leaks will mean less exposed gas and saline water to fewer landowners.

Established as world experts in their field, Russell is also known for their inspection services of heat exchanger tubes, boiler tubes, oil well casings and cast iron water mains. Russell’s inventions have provided the base for employment of thousands of technicians worldwide. They are looking forward to adding an expert in data analysis to round out their current development team for this exciting new technique.