Corrosion costs companies billions of dollars every year and engineers and technicians across the spectrum of industry are continually exploring effective ways of predicting, diagnosing and preventing this costly problem.
Ultrasonic thickness testing (UTT) has long been used in the aviation, aerospace, military and nuclear power industries as a proven non-destructive testing procedure for weld and flaw detection but its benefits are now increasingly being more widely recognised by other sectors including manufacturing and quality control.
UTT is a more complex procedure than some other types of testing such as mechanical and optical measurement, but it delivers a superior range of benefits and given that corrosion is such a costly problem, only the best diagnostic tools should be used.
In simple terms, corrosion happens when iron and steel are exposed to moisture, oxygen and other elements such as salt and heat which then cause the metal to eventually weaken or disintegrate due to excessive pitting on the surface. In order to ensure the ongoing performance, quality, reliability and importantly, the safety of plant and equipment in any operation where corrosion may occur, powerful and reliable testing procedures are necessary.
UTT is unquestionably the best way of avoiding equipment problems in corrosive environments.
Recent design innovations and improvements in instrumentation now mean that ultrasound gauges are totally operator-friendly and easy to use. Some devices weigh as little as 340g and can be easily operated in one hand – while still delivering the variety of benefits that have given UTT its reputation as the best way to get accurate and reliable data for any application where corrosion needs to be monitored.
UTT works through the introduction of high frequency sound waves into one side of the material which are then reflected back to measure wall thickness. Given that ultrasonic waves travel through metals at a constant speed, the thickness of the wall can be measured through a formula of dividing the duration of the waves’ round trip by the known sound velocity through that particular material. The calculations provide an accurate assessment of the material wall and will instantly reveal whether there is any sign of thinning ie corrosion – plus there’s the added advantage that only one side of the sample is required for testing.
Ultrasonic gauges have a wide measurement range, with some gauges capable of measuring as thin as 0.08mm with resolution as fine as 0.001mm.
UTT provides irrefutable hard evidence of any suspected equipment corrosion issue and is invaluable as an ‘early warning’ system for a variety of problems.
It can help prevent equipment failure because it provides advance notice for planning preventative maintenance, it can prolong the life of equipment or limit repairs to a clearly defined area, it can enhance condition-monitoring and support quality control and it can provide direction for future capital projects.
There’s no doubt that ultrasonic thickness testing is a vital means of avoiding equipment corrosion problems and by regularly testing their equipment for potential issues using this proven technology, engineers can save significantly on repair costs, costly downtime, lost production, labour costs etc.
Here’s a snapshot at the benefits of ultrasonic thickness testing:
- Wide measurement range
- Easy to use
- Immediate results
- Cost effective
- Non-intrusive and non-destructive
- No system shutdowns
- Instant results
If your business is losing money through equipment corrosion issues, it’s a good idea to talk to us about all the savings that ultrasonic thickness testing delivers.