NDT Inspection Equipment

Non-destructive testing or NDT inspection equipment is used to detect, inspect, and measure flaws, bond integrity, and other material conditions without permanently altering or destroying the examined part or product.

The primary objective of NDT is to identify characteristic differences, welding defects, cracks, voids, inclusions, and discontinuities in a non-intrusive manner.

In this guide, we will cover the following topics related to NDT inspection equipment:

The Benefits of Using NDT Inspection Equipment

NDT inspection equipment offers a range of benefits, including the preservation of original form, enhanced safety and reliability, compliance with regulations, cost savings, asset integrity management, convenience, and non-destructive analysis capabilities.

The following are benefits of using non-destructive inspection equipment:

Preservation of Original Form and Usefulness 

NDT allows for the inspection, examination, and testing of materials or components without causing any damage to their original form or usefulness. This means that NDT methods can detect flaws, defects, or discontinuities on the surface or subsurface areas while maintaining the serviceability of the component after inspection.

Safety and Reliability

NDT plays a vital role in industries such as aerospace, pipelines, bridges, refineries, oil platforms, and power stations. By preventing failures that could have adverse impacts on safety, reliability, and the environment, NDT helps ensure the integrity of assets and personnel.

NDT inspection equipment can be used to check for safe conditions during confined space/human entry inspections.

Compliance with Regulations and Standards

Implementing NDT procedures throughout the construction process or service life of materials or components helps companies safeguard assets and personnel. It ensures adherence to regulations and standards, which is crucial in industries where safety and quality are paramount.

Cost Savings 

Detecting defects or flaws early through NDT can prevent catastrophic failures or unsafe conditions that may result in extensive repairs, replacements, or project shutdowns. By identifying potential issues before they escalate, NDT helps avoid significant costs associated with downtime and reactive maintenance.

Asset Integrity Management

NDT is essential for asset integrity management, ensuring the efficiency and durability of equipment. By maintaining the integrity of assets, NDT contributes to better output and profitability for companies.

Visual inspection of a storage tank for asset integrity management.

Convenience and Efficiency

NDT tests can be performed without the need to dismantle or stop the operation of the components being tested. The portable size of NDT equipment makes it convenient for use, even while the equipment is in service. This enhances the efficiency of testing techniques.

Non-Destructive Analysis

Unlike destructive testing methods that require the destruction or damage of a sample to assess its properties, NDT allows for the analysis of materials, components, structures, or systems without causing harm to the original part. This non-destructive nature of NDT is particularly valuable when evaluating valuable or irreplaceable objects.

Boston Dynamic’s Spot performing an NDT inspection.

Uses For NDT Testing

With the quality control offered by NDT equipment from MFE Inspection Solutions, you can spot several structural flaws in many different types of standard construction materials without disassembling the equipment, including:

  • Ultrasonic noise testing to scan for shifts in gearboxes and moving machinery
  • Leak detection to spot structural flaws in components like pipes and valves
  • Radiography scans to gauge the density of sheet materials and webs

Scanning for these flaws, and many others that NDT testing will catch, will help keep your machinery running smoothly without undetected issues.

Types of NDT Inspection Equipment

Using NDT inspection equipment increases the efficiency of inspections and provides valuable technology to improve the data collected in inspections. 

Inspection equipment can be operated in different ways, depending on the specific method used. Some instruments are handheld and require manual operation, while others may be mounted on racks, cabinets, or PCBs for automated or semi-automated inspections.

Here are some types of NDT inspection equipment that are used:

  • Thickness gauges: Used to measure material thickness, such as coatings or wall thickness in pipes.
  • Flaw detectors: Detect and analyze flaws or defects in materials, such as cracks, voids, or inclusions.
  • Material condition testers: Assess the condition of materials, including hardness, conductivity, or corrosion.
  • Eddy current testers: Uses electromagnetic induction to monitor variations in phases, magnitudes, and patterns of these eddy currents to locate defects such as cracks, corrosion, or changes in material thickness.
  • Radiography or x-ray equipment: Utilize radiation to examine the internal structure of objects and detect defects.
  • Ultrasonic Testing (UT) instruments: Transmit high-frequency sound waves into materials to detect flaws and measure properties.
  • Magnetic Particle Inspection (MPI) equipment: Detect surface and near-surface flaws by applying magnetic fields and magnetic particles.
  • Liquid Penetrant Testing (LPT) kits: Identify surface defects by applying a liquid penetrant and observing its indication under UV light.
  • Visual inspection tools: Used to visually inspect the condition of assets. There has been a surge of technology, including drones and other robots, that have come on the market to help with these inspections.

Instrument Operation

It is important for NDT technicians to have a good understanding of the equipment they are working with, including its operating principles, calibration, maintenance requirements, and safety protocols. 

Following proper procedures and using reliable equipment is crucial to ensure accurate and reliable inspection results.

Where is NDT Inspection Equipment Used?

NDT inspection equipment is used to assess the integrity and quality of various assets without causing damage to the original part. These assets can belong to a wide range of industry sectors and include different types of materials, components, structures, and systems. 

Here are some examples of assets that are commonly inspected using NDT inspection equipment:

It’s important to note that the applications of NDT are extensive and not limited to the examples provided above. NDT inspection equipment is used in many other industries and sectors where the assessment of asset integrity and quality is essential for safe and reliable operations.

Industrial Equipment

NDT is extensively used to inspect industrial equipment such as pressure vessels, pipelines, tanks, boilers, heat exchangers, valves, pumps, and storage tanks. These inspections help detect defects, corrosion, and structural weaknesses that may compromise the safety and performance of the equipment.

Heat exchangers at an oil and gas facility.

Aerospace Components

NDT plays a crucial role in the aerospace industry to ensure the safety and reliability of aircraft components. Aircraft engines, wings, fuselages, landing gear, and other critical parts undergo NDT inspections to identify cracks, defects, or material degradation that could compromise the structural integrity and airworthiness of the aircraft.

Inspections of aircraft engines using NDT tools are crucial for safe flights of commercial aircrafts.

Automotive Parts

NDT inspections are performed on automotive components like engine blocks, transmission parts, chassis, suspension systems, and brake components. These inspections help detect flaws, discontinuities, or material defects that could impact the performance, durability, and safety of the vehicles.

An inspection of automotive parts for quality control.

Infrastructure and Construction 

NDT is employed to inspect infrastructure assets such as bridges, tunnels, dams, buildings, and concrete structures. The inspections aim to identify structural weaknesses, cracks, voids, or deterioration that could lead to structural failures or safety hazards.

Flyability’s Elios 3 conducting a sewer inspection.

Oil and Gas Facilities

NDT inspections are vital in the oil and gas industry to assess the integrity of pipelines, storage tanks, offshore platforms, refineries, and other critical equipment. These inspections help detect corrosion, weld defects, leaks, and other forms of degradation that may result in environmental risks, operational disruptions, or safety incidents.

An offshore oil and gas processing platform.

Power Generation Facilities

NDT is utilized in power plants, including nuclear, thermal, and renewable energy facilities, to inspect turbines, generators, boilers, condensers, heat exchangers, and other components. The inspections aim to identify defects, cracks, or material degradation that could impact the efficiency, reliability, and safety of the power generation process.

A gas turbine electrical power plant.

Medical Equipment

NDT inspections are performed on medical devices and equipment, such as X-ray machines, MRI scanners, ultrasound equipment, and implants, to ensure their proper functioning and reliability. These inspections help detect any defects or malfunctions that could affect patient care and safety.

Medical equipment in a modern neurosurgery operating room is inspected to maintain proper functioning of equipment.

Manufacturing Processes

NDT is employed during the manufacturing of various products to ensure quality control and compliance with industry standards. It helps detect flaws, defects, or irregularities in materials, welds, or assemblies before the final product is released.

Machinery in a metal manufacturing plant is inspected to ensure safe operation of equipment and quality products.

The Best NDT Inspection Equipment on the Market in 2023

NDT inspection technicians strive to use the best NDT inspection equipment to ensure accuracy, reliability, efficiency, compliance with standards, and the ability to leverage the latest advancements in inspection technology. 

These factors collectively contribute to maintaining the integrity, safety, and quality of inspected materials, components, and structures.

Here is the best NDT inspection equipment on the market in 2023:

Flaw Detectors

A flaw detector is an NDT inspection equipment device used to identify and locate flaws or defects in various materials without causing damage.

Flaw detectors use ultrasonic or eddy current testing techniques to inspect the integrity of the material being tested.

Acoustic Imagers

An acoustic imager is a specialized device used for detecting and locating various issues such as leaks, partial discharge, and Corona problems in different systems.

It uses a combination of highly sensitive microphones, algorithms, and visual imaging technology to convert sound signals into visual representations, allowing technicians to pinpoint the exact source of a problem, even in noisy environments.

XRF Elemental Analyzers

An XRF Elemental Analyzer, also known as X-ray Fluorescence Elemental Analyzer, is a device used for elemental analysis of various materials.

It uses X-ray fluorescence spectrometry to determine the elemental composition of a sample without touching or damaging it.

NDT Drones 

NDT drones, also known as unmanned aerial systems (UAS) or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), are specially designed NDT inspection equipment drones.

These drones use advanced technology to perform inspections in various industries, including oil and gas, infrastructure, energy, utilities, and more. 

Eddy Current Flaw Detectors 

Eddy current flaw detectors use electromagnetic induction to detect flaws in conductive materials. They work by generating alternating currents in a test coil, which in turn induces eddy currents in the material.

Flaws or defects in the material cause disruptions in the induced currents, which can be detected and analyzed by the flaw detector. Eddy current flaw detectors are commonly used for surface and near-surface defect detection in metallic parts

Gas Detection Cameras

A gas detection camera, also known as an optical gas imaging (OGI) camera, is a specialized device used to detect and visualize the presence of various gasses in an area.

It is designed to enhance the safety and efficiency of gas leak detection processes in industries such as oil and gas, chemical, power generation, and manufacturing.

NDT Ground Robotics

NDT ground robotics refer to the use of robotic systems for NDT applications on the ground. These robots are designed to perform inspections and evaluations of various structures and components without causing damage.

They are equipped with NDT sensors and advanced technology to carry out inspections in complex environments efficiently and accurately.

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR)

Ground Penetrating Radar is a geophysical method used in NDT to investigate and image the subsurface. It uses radar pulses, typically high-frequency radio waves in the range of 10 MHz to 2.6 GHz, to detect and analyze reflected signals from subsurface structures.

The technique is non-intrusive and can be employed in various media such as rock, soil, ice, fresh water, pavements, and structures.

Hardness Testers 

Hardness testers are instruments used to measure the hardness of a material, which is its resistance to indentation.

The results obtained from hardness testing provide valuable information about the material’s mechanical properties, such as strength, wear-resistance, and ductility

Holiday Testers

Holiday testers are specialized NDT inspection equipment tools used to detect discontinuities in painted or coated surfaces. They are also known as holiday detectors or porosity detectors.

The purpose of holiday testing is to identify coating flaws, such as pinholes, voids, or other defects that could lead to premature corrosion if left undetected.

Infrared (IR) Cameras

Infrared cameras, also known as thermographic cameras or thermal imaging cameras, are devices that create images using infrared radiation. They operate on the principle that all objects emit infrared energy, also known as heat signatures.

Unlike traditional cameras that capture images using visible light, infrared cameras detect and measure the infrared energy emitted by objects.

Material Testing Equipment

Material Testing Equipment refers to a range of instruments and machines used to determine the physical and mechanical properties of various materials, including but not limited to raw materials and components such as steel, composites, ceramics, plastics, rubber, packaging materials, automotive parts, medical devices, metals, paper, textiles, electronics, and building materials.

These testing machines are designed to make accurate and repeatable force measurements within a specific range, typically from 0.1 N to 300 kN (0.0225 lbf – 67443 lbf). They are used in quality control, production, laboratory research and development (R&D), and educational settings.

Magnetic Flux Leakage (MFL) Scanners

MFL scanners are a type of NDT inspection equipment technology used to detect corrosion and pitting in steel structures, particularly pipelines and storage tanks.

The basic principle behind MFL is to use a powerful magnet to magnetize the steel being inspected. In locations with corrosion or metal loss, the magnetic field escapes from the steel.

Mobile Optical Emission Spectrometers (OES)

Mobile optical emission spectrometers are portable instruments used for metals analysis in various industrial applications. These spectrometers utilize the principle of optical emission spectroscopy to determine the elemental composition of metallic samples.

They are designed to provide precise analysis and material identification in demanding environments.

Ultrasonic Thickness Gauges

Ultrasonic Thickness Gauges are NDT inspection equipment that determine the thickness of materials, particularly solid elements such as metals. These gauges utilize ultrasonic waves to perform measurements without requiring access to both sides of the test piece.

By emitting an ultrasonic wave from a transducer and recording the time it takes for the wave to return after reflecting from the surface, the gauge can calculate the local thickness of the material based on the known velocity of sound in the given sample.

The Best NDT Inspection Equipment Training Courses 2023

NDT techniques and equipment are constantly evolving, and staying updated with the latest advancements is essential for professional growth. 

The best training courses provide comprehensive knowledge and hands-on experience to develop your skills in operating and interpreting results from NDT inspection equipment.

To find the best NDT inspection equipment training courses, consider factors such as the training provider’s reputation, course curriculum, industry recognition, hands-on practice opportunities, and availability of certifications. 

It is also beneficial to seek recommendations from industry professionals and review testimonials or case studies. By investing in high-quality training, you enhance your expertise and contribute to the overall quality and safety of NDT inspections.

Here are the best NDT inspection equipment training courses of their kind:

  • Infrared Training Courses: Infrared training courses typically cover various aspects of infrared thermography and its applications, including fundamental knowledge, infrared applications, thermal imager setup and operations, safety, data collection and analytics, and certification.
  • Drone Training Courses: Participating in drone training courses can provide you with valuable skills and knowledge related to drone operations. While the specific content and curriculum may vary across different training providers, here are some common topics that drone training courses typically cover: drone flight maneuvers, drone maintenance, drone components, and regulations and safety procedures.
  • MFL Training Courses: Magnetic Flux Leakage training courses provide comprehensive knowledge and skills related to the application of MFL technology for inspection purposes. Technicians would typically learn MFL tool configurations, corrosion defect geometry and signal amplitude, inspection variables, how to analyze MFL inspection results, and other MFL applications in the training course.
  • PMI Training Courses: PMI training courses provide valuable knowledge and skills related to project management. The specific content of PMI training courses can vary depending on the focus and industry. The main aspects covered in PMI training courses include foundations of project management, project team, leadership, and communication, specialized courses, and professional development.

Investing in the best NDT inspection equipment allows technicians and inspection teams to stay ahead of technological advancements. As technology evolves, new inspection methods, equipment, and software are developed, offering enhanced capabilities and improved efficiency. 

By utilizing cutting-edge equipment, technicians can adapt to emerging industry trends, leverage the benefits of technological advancements, and provide accurate inspections in line with evolving requirements.

About MFE Inspection Solutions

MFE Inspection Solutions provides NDT inspection equipment for industrial applications. Having been a service provider for 29 years, MFE has vetted the best inspection equipment on the market. MFE offers calibrations, repairs, and training—a full-service solution that ensures technology understanding and adoption. 

MFE’s team is made up of inspectors, technicians, engineers, and trainers who have a comprehensive understanding of the industries we serve and the solutions we offer. 

When you get your inspection solutions from MFE, you will have the confidence that the tool in your hand is the best tool for the job, all while maintaining safety and reducing downtimes. 

MFE’s NDT inspection equipment is accurate, dependable, and meets industry standards.

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