What is NDT Inspection?
Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) refers to inspection techniques that can be used to evaluate, analyze, and test properties of materials without causing any harm or damage. Sometimes called non-destructive examination (NDE) or non-destructive inspection (NDI), this type of testing is critical for shipyards, aircraft manufacturers, automotive production facilities, and fabrication processes where invisible cracks, weak spots, or failing welds could lead to dangerous conditions, critical failures, and catastrophic accidents.
Who uses NDT Inspection?
NDT is used in many different industries where precision is paramount and any failures could cause hazard or significant economic loss. Industries include:
Automotive: NDT testing is used in manufacturing and post-manufacturing for inspection of individual components, as well as molded and welded parts.
Aerospace: Aircraft must go through significant testing to ensure they uphold all standards and regulations during manufacture and ongoing maintenance.
Oil & Gas: Pipes, boilers, and valves must be inspected for corrosion, erosion, and any welding damage.
Shipyards: Steel plates welded together to create the hull of ships and piping must be inspected for cracks or weak spots.
Railways: Castings, cast wheels, engine components, tires, airbags, fuel injectors, and brake components all undergo significant testing during manufacturing processes and maintenance.
Power generation and powerlines: Powerlines and facilities all undergo testing during installment and maintenance for voids, sleeve alignments, clamps, soldering, core cracks, and more.
Ammunition and fuses: Military equipment, from large rocket motors to handheld firearm ammunition, must all be inspected for safety purposes.
Art: NDT can be used to test authenticity, discover hidden secrets, and allow for reconstruction inspections in sculptures, paintings, and ancient artifacts.
What methods are there for conducting NDT Inspections?
There are many different methods for conducting NDT Inspection. Each requires their own tools, preparation, and may be more or less useful depending on the project and materials being tested.
Visual NDT: This is the simplest type of NDT Inspection. It requires the inspector to use his or her own eyes to inspect the materials. A flashlight, camera, or drone could be used to help the inspector see the inspection subject. This method is an important first step, but obviously does not provide accurate measurements, nor give any information about internal materials or microscopic imperfections.
Ultrasonic NDT: This method includes transmitting high-frequency ultrasonic sound waves into materials to detect internal flaws or measure thickness. It is highly sensitive and provides very accurate measurements, however it is not an easy method to carry out. Highly experienced technicians must conduct the inspection and it cannot be used if materials are rough or irregular in shape.
Electromagnetic NDT: Electromagnetic NDT measures the strength of electrical currents in a magnetic field surrounding material to examine it. It can be very useful in detecting flaws, but only in conductive materials.
Radiography NDT: Radiography NDT uses gamma or x-ray technology to identify imperfections. It is done by directing radiation from a radioactive isotope or x-ray generator through materials to create a photograph that reveals underlying aspects. This method is very useful for uncovering imperfections, cracks, or alterations that would be invisible to the naked eye.
What are the difficulties with conducting NDT Inspections?
Carrying out NDT inspections can be challenging. Onsite there may be meters of pipelines, various composites, either welded or produced by different techniques. Everything must be inspected thoroughly to ensure that no damage or cracks were missed and that all testing is completely accurate.
Often in manufacturing, production takes place during the daytime shift and then inspection is carried out during the night shift. This can lead to bottlenecks in production and inefficient time allocation if the inspectors missed something, or need to redo an inspection before production can continue. Additionally, tight places and small corners in infrastructure may pose challenges.
Using Digital Radiation Technology for NDT Inspection
Digital Radiation (DR) is a superior method of NDT Inspection because it can save time, money, and provide accurate and instant imaging. With this type of technology, inspections can be done on the spot, with instant exposure and results, allowing for inspectors to approved or rejected work immediately. No development is required and files are immediately transmitted for higher level inspection and analysis. DR also saves costs because it does not require development materials such as film. This increases productivity, which is also a money saver.
DR Technology uses x-ray imaging to scan equipment. While traditional x-ray technology requires waiting for film to be developed to see the scans, DR Technology allows for instant results. Images are displayed on a laptop or tablet screen. In cases where multiple images are required, each image is automatically stitched together to create a larger picture to be inspected. Any images that are unclear or need to be adjusted can be reshot immediately.
Vidisco is a leading developer of DR Technology for safe and accurate NDT Inspection. Founded in 1988 by military and professional experts, Vidisco pioneered the digital x-ray industry and is used by top military, security, and industrial organizations worldwide.
The DR Technology testing system is portable, fitting into one small box on wheels, where it can be transported from place to place and easily set up. The system is battery operated and wireless, allowing for up to five hours of scanning on battery life and unlimited scanning while plugged in.
Using the equipment, inspectors can take multiple images of whatever equipment is being scanned and instantly see images on the screen. The images show thickness measurements, water penetration, cracks, and any abnormalities.
Because the system uses low doses of x-rays, only small area closures are required for inspection, allowing inspection to commence in parallel with production. Repairs can also be completed immediately after the imperfections are found.
In today’s world, businesses can’t afford to be slowed down by inspection processes, which is why forward-thinking companies are moving toward DR Technology for NDT Inspections.
Are you interested in learning more about how Vidisco’s DR Technology can improve your NDT Inspection process? Read more about our solutions and how we can personalize them to your business here