July 8, 2014
Central Certification Programs vs. Employer Based Ones
It's not pure coincidence that most ISO Accreditation bodies are European. ISO standards are written like we in ASNT write our standards. That is, they're there to use and not be imposed for subjective regulatory purposes, and it's in Europe where central certification is the rage more for trade control and regulation than anything else, i.e. you must meet their standards as certified by them or you can't sell anything there.
At ASNT, we keep our standards and programs for industries to use as they see fit, while others have proceeded to impose and regulate ISO at government levels, hence their preference for central certification over our industry developed employer based certification for NDT Levels I & II. And that's the way it just so happens to be heading in ASNT Region 19. I see an increasing interest in central certification programs of PCN and ISO 9712 in our Region 19. To that, we have a response, and it's ASNT Central Certification Program (ACCP). There are ASNT Corporate partners also in our region ready, willing and able to qualify as Authorized Examination Centers (AECs) for this.
June 23, 2014
RD Basrawi Participates in ASNT
Qatar Section's Board Meeting
ASNT Region 19 Director Marwan Basrawi visited the Qatar Section and participated in its first section board meeting after the section's reorganization due to the departure of its Vice Chairman. Committee chairs were also confirmed and plans made to move forward with development of training courses and the section's first calendar featuring local NDT service providers.
No Accountability, No Liability, No NDT
Here's my theory of relativity: Q = A + L
Quality = Accountability + Liability
No amount of regulation and certification will get you quality. Quality starts with accountability to yourself first, and then you add liability on yourself and by others if that?s not enough. For NDT in particular, lack of accountability and liability work directly against it, and it fulminates when life is cheap, i.e. QLi = S or Quality of Life means Safety. That's the difference between "developed" economies and, I won't even call them developing, but emerging ones. Yes, let's be more positive like that instead of negative like asphyxiating R for regulation and randomly imposing certification requirements of choice. This is exactly why emerging economies can remain emerging for too long. It's because of the misconception that control heals all. C for Control is only one of the many processes of management, and that's essentially what we're talking about here. Doing something to a fault while not doing enough anywhere else is just another problem waiting to happen. Is it only coincidence that where there's mostly control that progress is slowed? And that's just a mildly rhetorical question. I don't want to write this opinion to a fault, but I will end it with one final formula: Q - (R + C) = P for progress.
June 16, 2012
JSNDI Secretary-General Minegishi, Dr. Eng. Ooka, RD Basrawi, JSNDI Academic Affairs Manager Ooka
RD Basrawi met on June 10, 2012, with a delegation from The Japanese Society for Non-Destructive Inspection in Yokohama, Japan. JSNDI is the leading NDT society of Japan, an academic research organization promoting NDT and it is under the jurisdiction of Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. JSNDI was established in 1952 to facilitate, promote and apply NDT technology. It has over 2,000 individual members, and close to 500 corporate partners. JSNDI has developed certification programs and publishes periodical journals, standards and distributes reference blocks and gauges.
March 25, 2011
It's Asset Integrity
I don't have to read "Disaster on the Horizon" by Robert L. Cavnar to tell you with any new found authority that lessons are not being learned by the Oil industry as far as quality and safety are concerned. The tired old systems approach just keeps getting tweaked here and there and the industry goes back to resting on its laurels for having done that, secure in the fact that all other industries always come back for more of its production with the lack of progress in alternate energy sources and lately with the nuclear energy scare that's rightly reared its ugly head once again. Just today, on some news program, they actually took time off from news about the Japanese nuclear disaster and the unrest in the Middle East to ask this question, "What lessons have we learned from the biggest oil spill in US history?". (Interesting that they mention it as such, in US history, which begs the question, how about elsewhere in this world?!) Lessons to be learned are about avoiding its reoccurrence and if it does happen, lessening its impact. The answer to this on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow's Investigation Reporting show featuring Mr. Cavnar was that "training and certification" have been beefed up, while blowout preventers still cannot be relied upon do the job for which they are named to do.
So here we go again with the most basic of quality and safety concern, Asset Integrity, once again being overtaken by the relative fluff of Training and Certification. It's no wonder that certification and training are still bigger businesses than it seems that testing and inspection of assets will ever be. I use the word "relative" here to qualify that while training and certification are very important, they are just "fluff" when it comes to addressing the root cause to resolve a problem with physical assets, and that resolution needs to simply be making sure the asset does not fail by making it of higher quality and imposing stricter safety regulations in and around it, where as I've said before - Quality and safety can mean the same thing; and the only certain way to do that is to test and inspect the asset and audit the system around that asset for quality and safety, not impress the unknowlegeable masses with uncomprehensive fluff until the next disaster is sure to happen and continue to get through that with more of it.
It's all about the assets, and you've heard the word that can deragatorily end this statement.
Courage won't have to lead the way when asset integrity does ...
IMDb: Deepwater Horizon (30 September 2016 (USA)
A story set on the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon,
which exploded during April 2010 and created the worst oil spill in U.S.
August 31, 2010
... Creating a Safer World
ASNT - creating a safer world by serving the NDT profession and promoting NDT technologies through publishing, certification and conferencing. So why do they relegate NDT to Inspection, which is having a hard time of its own convincing others that it?s not just ?hardhats and flashlights?, or even Quality, which others inaccurately perceive as the soft system of Inspection, erroneously complicating the issue even more? For me, it?s a rhetorical question. I know why. I may have started in Inspection, but had the opportunity to end up in Safety, where people?s eyes tend to glaze over at the mention of anything not to do with their familiar soft systems management approach of Behavioral Safety, Safety Management System, or Safety Process Management, Probability and Risk whatever, etc. And yes, I just love that Holistic approach to safety that?s being batted around of late. Well, really no. Talk about subjecting oneself to unneeded criticism and Monday morning quarterbacking. You see, this way apparently gives license for anyone who has an inkling of program or system management (and there are so many) to comment, even from the peanut gallery, no less tack it up to it being just another system amongst too many to be able to focus upon enough to appreciate any plausible and positive outcome from it. Safety needs to focus more on hardware for not only more effectiveness, but also to spend less time and effort answering the peanut gallery and trying to get others to make it at least equal in everything they do. And this is where NDT as served by ASNT comes in real handy. Think of it as getting back to the hard basics of hardware safety, where a lot of safety begins. A facility with extensive material and equipment that can fail and directly jeopardize safety needs NDT to avoid this happening. I?ll venture to say that it needs it more than all the soft system approaches put together. In the end, you?re more likely to get what you expect when you inspect. This brings us back to Inspection, as it should. That?s the hardware safety I?m talking about here and that?s exactly where NDT comes in handy. ASNT creates a safer world through quality testing of hardware, be it material, structure or equipment. See how I was able to throw in Quality here? Quality and Safety are so interchangeable and can mean more the same than anything else, and here we have ASNT pragmatically doing just that. The NDT that ASNT serves is quality testing and inspection for safety to get what you expect. Until now, it?s HSE ? Health, Safety & Environmental, when it should be HSQE, that?s an added ?Q? for Quality that serves HSE as each does to each other, which in turn would explain why they all should be lumped together if that?s what organizations have to do and I?m not talking about semantics only here. HSQE are so reliant on each other that they should be lumped together and report directly to a CEO that recognizes that. This way, they won?t be as ineffectively applied as they are now because of being fragmented away from each other and nebulously buried in ever-changing organization structures.
May 29, 2010
Now this is real destructive ...
This is what happens to an engine when it's flown through a volcanic ash cloud. This is a Cessna Citation (CJ2) out of Germany from a few weeks ago. Fortunately the other engine kept running, although very sluggishly. The burns are due to trapped hot air being unable to escape due to everything being clogged up with the ash.
April 15, 2010
ASNT Kuwait Section Holds its Inauguration Meeting
RD Basrawi presents the ASNT Kuwait Section banner to section chairman Nayef Al-Enezi
An inauguration meeting was held for ASNT's Kuwait Section at the Hilton Kuwait Resort on April 15, 2010. It was sponsored by the Human Investment Company (HIC). Regional Director Marwan Basrawi gave an update on ASNT and he was followed by Mark Adams of Spectrum Sales & Services who presented some advanced pipeline inspection technologies. About 100 members and potential members attended.
April 17, 2010
Turk Section Holds its First Meeting of 2010
Visiting ASNT delegation and Turk Section members standing in front of METU's Radiation Containment building
The Turk Section had its first meeting of 2010 at the Middle east Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey, on April 17, 2010. Before the meeting, the visiting ASNT delegation toured METU's NDT Center. The meeting was thereafter followed with a symposium featuring an ASNT Update by RD Marwan Basrawi, followed by an ASNT review and an Advanced Aerospace NDT presentation by ASNT Secretary/Treasurer Robert Potter and finished with a presentation by Mark Adamss of Spectrum Sales & Services about advanced pipeline inspection. About 65 members & potential members attended the symposium.
March 1, 2010
UAE Section Holds its First Meeting of 2010
The New UAE Section
ASNT's UAE Section held its first meeting of the year 2010 in Abu Dhabi on February 24th atLe Royal Meridien Hotel. It was attended by about 25, most of them new to ASNT. The new officer line-up was presented and Regional Director Marwan Basrawi followed with an update about ASNT, its mission, programs and activities.
The 5th Middle East Nondestructive Testing
Conference & Exhibition
November 8-11, 2009
His Excellency Bahraini Oil & Gas Minister Mirza at the Exhibits Opening Ceremony
5MENDT winds down today, November 11, 2009. It's been reported that over 500 delegates and 60 exhibitors participated. This conference typically attracts participants from around the globe, as far as Far East Asia, as in fact one of the exhibitor companies actually had for a name and as far west as America. This conference has been held every two years since its first one in 2001. With each conference, the participants increase. So this year's conference is the largest to date. Exhibitors are typically very pleased to participate due to the interest they confirm in getting. It shows from the fact that a big number of them are return exhibitors.
For added information about this conference and its program, go to http://www.mendt.net/
March 27, 2009
Regional Director Basrawi Awarded ASNT Fellow
ASNT Region 19 Director Marwan Basrawi has been selected by the ASNT Board of Directors as an ASNT Fellow, Class of 2009.
This award for exceptional contributions to the NDT profession will be presented to Marwan at the Annual Awards Banquet of the ASNT Fall Conference and Quality Testing Show in Columbus, Ohio during the week of October 19-23, 2009.
Marwan led the establishment of one of the world's largest centers dedicated to NDT in Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil producer, to name it the Inspection Technology Center. He also led the way to incorporating ASNT's certification program in Saudi Aramco's mandatory engineering requirements. Through the local sections that he also directed through to chartership, Marwan facilitated training and certification programs for ASNT members overseas, thereby increasing ASNT certifications worldwide as well as its sustaining membership. Marwan continues to lead the establishment of organized and credible NDT in Region 19 as its founding Regional Director, through training, certification, conferencing and active ASNT sections. There are currently three reporting sections in Region 19, the Saudi Arabian (Marwan is its founding chairman), UAE and Turk Sections, of which the first two continue to be in the top most active sections of ASNT, with the Saudi Arabian Section having received the ASNT President's Award in 2006 and 2008.
April 26, 2009
NDT is a hard sell internationally in developing economies that rely on rich natural resources and primary industries where there is so much more pronounced lack of liability and accountability that would create a safer world, which ASNT aspires to accomplish. Internationally, developing economies predominate. These, coupled with the fact that the most important investment in NDT is in human resources complicates the NDT issue further in these international emerging economies, where human resources are cheap, and so training them is often minimal and secondary to making money quickly, i.e. cost & schedule supersede quality & safety all the time. Internationally, there is rampant misapplication of technologies & equipment because of this lack of training and certification. In fast growing developing economies over the world, businesses are set up overnight and profit today before tomorrow is paramount, since tomorrow things can and do change. Long term investment is risky under these circumstances. So economic and commercial interests take precedence over all else, including human resource development, which is a long term investment unto itself, relegating NDT and its equipment to businesses and vendors, respectively, that feel the need to make their money quickly.
Training and certification needs are much less available internationally because of the aforementioned detractors, and these are the primary reasons why ASNT?s international membership has swelled to 35%, which means we?ve already surpassed one out of every three ASNT members working and residing overseas. ASNT certification must be made more accessible internationally to keep this upward trend going and retain this growing membership. Being by far the world?s largest advocate of NDT for its practitioner members, ASNT representing and supporting its members? interests in such ways is exactly what keeps its international membership growing. But ASNT must do this as credibly as possible by not allying itself with primarily profit-making interests such as those mentioned earlier that can only work against its membership?s interest.
Internationally, and maybe to a lesser extent nationally, high potential NDT technologies and their associated equipment are doomed to failure through misapplication without the realization of any cost saving, quality and safety benefits. This happens overseas too frequently where NDT is handled primarily by vendors just selling another commodity rather than more credible and dedicated service providers to the NDT industry.
International NDT in developing economies is not as industry driven as it is nationally in the market economy of the US, and it is controlled so much more by economic, commercial and geopolitical interests, under command economies where government controls more of the economies than its citizens, market or industries (which governments can go as far as owning and operating), rendering international NDT management to have so little to do with human resource development and even less with innovation for technologies and equipment that is required for the advancement of NDT.
Overseas, particularly in developing economies, there?s no assurance of the existence of regulatory authorities such as OSHA, nor even national standards. There?s no litigation. Companies tend to be self-insured, all the aforementioned certainly lessening the relevance of accountability, liability and safety.
ASNT can positively affect the NDT industry internationally through its active sections overseas. This benefits ASNT members, even nationally, by opening for them NDT markets globally in which they may effectively and reliably work. It does this:
When industry, wherever it may be, adopts NDT training, certification and technologies through ASNT, ASNT?s members will benefit from gaining more job opportunities and market reach for their services and products. And that?s what being member-centric is all about.
December 15, 2009
ASNT SOC Chairman Basrawi's Message for Section Officer's Newsletter
Our Section Operations Council is all about ASNT's members, so it's gratifying that every time that I write the SOC Chair message, I get to report the increase in our membership. As of November 30, 2009, membership has grown another 3% compared with a year ago. Domestic members are 62% of the total membership and international membership is 38%.
Just as gratifying is having seen a self-motivated group of students present at our last Fall conference in Columbus to petition for their North Carolina Student Section. And, that was before our e-Mentoring program could take effect; we are already seeing an increasing interest in the e-Mentoring program, to the point that other than the targeted younger students are applying. Obviously, a gaping need is being filled already. We are noticing that while our NDT professionals may be maturing, hopefully this e-Mentoring program will reflect that there is an interest in NDT by the younger generation and it will continue to grow. So, welcome North Carolina Student Section and our new Kuwait Section, excellent reflections of growing interest in NDT the ASNT way, nationally and internationally.
But we in SOC cannot afford to rest on our laurels. Our increasing membership must be maintained through proactive and effective support. One important step taken is that we have passed through to approval a travel budget to support our Regional Directors to, in turn, support our sections. Even in this internet age, we can only expect to be most effective by meeting face to face with our sections and their members. That?s the proactive part that world leaders see the need to do on a regular basis. Otherwise, they too would stay put and let IT do the rest. My best advice to our section leaders is that they too need to meet with their members to do the same. Out of sight, out of mind, it is as simple as that, as I?ve seen time and again with people in positions of leadership who do not stay in touch, and there are many such positions within ASNT that can keep this from happening. Better yet, let?s all make the commitment now for 2010 to stay in touch with one another from all directions: member to member, member to section leader, section leaders to Regional Directors, RD?s to Society leadership and headquarters.
ASNT Turk Section Inauguration Meeting
February 19, 2009
An inauguration meeting for the recently chartered ASNT Turk Section was held on February 19, 2009, on the premises of the Welding Technology and NDT Center of the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey. ASNT Region 19 Director Marwan Basrawi participated as ASNT?s repreentative. There were 23 participants at the inauguration meeting.
Professor Dr. C. Hakan Gur started the meeting with a summary of how the ASNT Turk Section was chartered. He then introduced RD Marwan Basrawi who gave a presentation about ASNT and its programs. Mehmet Ali Bal followed with a presentation on ASNT Applications in Turkey: Expectations and Problems. A section board meeting was held thereafter, followed by a tour through METU?s NDT Center.
Ahmet Tokmakcioglu , Secretary Orcan Kolankaya & Treasurer Ertugrul Yilmaz were respectively appointed chairs of the Membership, Education and Programs.
April 27, 2009
NDT Technologies for Facility Integrity
Nondestructive Testing (NDT) is proving itself and industries that are seriously investing in it are ensuring safe and reliable facilities of high integrity while they are in operation and realizing millions of dollars per year in cost saving and/or cost avoidance by detecting defects such as corrosion before they propagate to cause large scale loss and disaster. However, the most important investment in NDT is in the human resources part of it. NDT is not only about equipment, but even more about the professionals operating the equipment and interpreting the results. Proper training and certification is paramount to this aspect. Each newly developed NDT technique leads to another more effective one that may be adapted for purpose and finally implemented effectively. Effective implementation is achieved only through proper up-to-date training and certification for even the most conventional NDT techniques. Otherwise, high potential NDT technologies are doomed for failure through misapplication and then eventual surplus without the realization of any cost saving, quality and safety benefits.
Advanced Nondestructive Testing Technologies are emerging faster than industries are realizing and appreciating. Industries need to participate more in their development and implementation to realize more of NDT?s benefits. NDT can ensure safe facilities while saving production and operation annual costs in millions of dollars.
STATEMENT OF NDT THEORY AND DEFINITION
A general definition of nondestructive testing (NDT) is an examination, test, or evaluation performed on any type of test object without changing or altering that object in any way, in order to determine the absence or presence of conditions or discontinuities that may have an effect on the usefulness or serviceability of that object (1).
APPLICATION OF NDT EQUIPMENT AND PROCESSES
The test object for NDT is industry equipment, from storage tanks to pressure vessels to heat exchangers and from pipes to valves, etc. And the splendor of it is that it?s in-service inspection. Facilities may continue in operation while comprehensive NDT is done. There?s no need to shut down the facility for most NDT, and there you have savings already from the start, while ensuring the safety of the facility at the same time. An excellent example of this is the most passive non-intrusive testing of Acoustic Emission on storage tanks and pressure vessels. This recognized NDT method merely listens for corrosion activity through probes placed around the tank or vessel, without having to empty the storage tank and while the vessel is still charged and in service. The probes are sensitive enough to detect corrosion and the computers are advanced enough to process the location of the corrosion, which can propagate into becoming a safety hazard that has an effect on the serviceability and reliability of the tank or vessel. However, the sensitive probes and processing computers are only the beginning of this proven NDT method. It takes properly trained and qualified experts to interpret the readings to avoid ?garbage in, garbage out? scenarios. Acoustic Emission is just one of the eight basic NDT methods in which technicians may be trained and certified as high as Level III. Training for certification is paramount, since without it the whole NDT system can only fail and the proven methods will not be appreciated in the way they can be. This is where the American Society for Nondestructive Testing has a significant role as not only a proving ground for the ever advancing NDT methods, but this society also develops and manages credible certification schemes for the NDT industry, starting with the most basic of all, Visual Testing.
Visual Testing or VT was the first NDT method used but the last method to be formally acknowledged through training and certification programs. Direct visual testing is defined by ASME as using visual aids such as mirrors, telescopes, cameras, or other suitable instruments, when access allows the eye that does the visualizing to be within 25 inches (610 mm) of the surface to be examined, and at an angle not less than 30 degrees to the surface that is to be examined. Remote visual testing is done through borescopes, fiberscopes, and video technology. This goes to show how even in such an obvious method as visual testing, it is important to be properly trained and certified. The list of NDT methods goes on to include Penetrant Testing, Magnetic Particle Testing, Radiographic Testing, Ultrasonic Testing, Eddy current Testing, Thermal Infrared Testing, and finally Acoustic Emission Testing, the method first introduced as a good example of in-process testing and the most passive one at that.
Each of these NDT methods comes along with multitudes of associated equipment, from the most basic tool of a magnifying glass for visual testing to highly advanced computer processors in sophisticated equipment for Acoustic Emission and Thermal Infrared Testing. The more sophisticated equipment requires its own specific training and certification to be operated credibly. If this requirement is not satisfied, it can render NDT ineffective. This would be a direct result of inappropriate or misapplication of the NDT equipment.
Unfortunately, it is possible to buy and sell sophisticated NDT equipment without adequate technical support, be it qualified operators or maintenance. Thus, high potential NDT technologies are procured to be doomed for failure through misapplication and then eventual surplus without the realization of any cost saving, quality and safety benefits.On stream Inspection (OSI), Plant & Equipment Integrity, Fitness for Service (FFS) and Risk Based Inspection (RBI) programs are based on nondestructive testing. Most of the input data for these programs comes from NDT, from the most basic to the most advanced methods. In equipment integrity programs, corrosion loops are established that rely on NDT input. A Fitness for Service study on a storage tank is entirely an NDT method unto itself, which is the Accoustic Emission that has been mentioned.
Having introduced the significance of NDT and its effective application, here are some proven NDT technologies, from the most conventional to the more advanced, their required training requirements and proper application and resulting benefits.
NDT methods can be broken down into two main categories: conventional and advanced. The conventional NDT methods are those that have been in use since as early as the 1950?s and have proven to be a daily routine examination for many. These methods include:
Radiography Testing (RT) is widely used for both welding examinations during construction and corrosion/erosion detection after facilities are placed in service. This method utilizes a radiation-emitting device, e.g., x-ray or iridium, and industrial film as a recording medium to produce a latent image of the piece being radiographed. Sensitivity in the range of 1% of the material thickness is easily achievable with the latest films available. Issues of Radiation Safety, Operator Training and Radiographic Film Interpretation (RTFI) are all areas that add to the complexity of this NDT method, but when the individuals are trained properly, this tool can be a very cost effective and safe way to inspect material. Initial training requirements for this method start at a minimum of 80 hours of technical training and require a minimum of 1200 hours of recorded hands-on experience in NDT (600 of which must be directly related to radiography). A series of general, specific and practical examinations and documented proof of the minimum requirements are all part of the certification process to become a Level II Radiographic technician. Typical results of the radiographic testing process are shown below.
Ultrasonic Testing (UT) is probably the most widely used type of conventional NDT today. Ultrasonic inspection of parts involves transmission of sound waves higher than human ear can hear within the test material. A sound wave is sent from one part of the test piece, reflected from the opposite part, then returned to a receiver located at the first part. A break or imperfection in the material is detected when the signal is reflected and its movement changed. This causes a delay that becomes a signal of the location of the of the imperfection. From this, a map of the test material can be made to show the area and geometry of the imperfections. With the through-transmission method, the transmitter and receiver are placed on opposite ends of the test piece. Delays in the movement of sound waves between the transmitter and receiver are used to isolate and measure imperfections such as cracks. Sometimes water is utilized as a medium in which transmitter, sample, and receiver should be immersed. Ultrasonic testing is performed to take simple thickness readings of material for on-stream inspection, perform more sophisticated weld examinations for inherent flaws in the welds and performed in both semi-automatic and automatic modes to map corrosion of piping and pressure vessels. Below is a typical ultrasonic A-scan.
Newer automated and semi-automated devices to handle the high temperature systems in refineries are being produced now to allow on-stream examination of material that is up to 700 degrees C in temperature without having to shut down the process. The requirements for training and experience are very similar to that of RT, but the 600 hours of actual UT experience are required instead of the RT experience.
The two NDT methods just covered are considered volumetric examinations as they investigate the areas inside the material. There are common types of conventional NDT methods that deal strictly with surface or very near surface defect detection, as follows.
Magnetic Particle (MT) is an electromagnetic examination that is used to locate and estimate the size of defects that are either open to the surface, such as cracks, and delaminations or very near subsurface defects such as gas holes and inclusions. This test uses an AC, DC or permanent magnet to introduce lines of magnetic flux into the material and small visible or fluorescent metal particles that are dusted on the surface. Any disturbance in the lines of flux will cause the metal particles to collect in the area of disturbance and produce an outline of the defect causing the flux line disturbance. Below are cracks detected by MT.
Liquid Penetrant Testing (PT) is one of the oldest conventional NDT methods used today. It was first used as an oil and powder type examination to test railroad car wheels for cracking. The wheels were soaked in light oil (kerosene) and then lightly dusted with powder. The powder would pull out the oil that had seeped into the cracks in the wheels to reveal the location and size of the flaws. Today?s liquid penetrant material is much more sophisticated than the old oil and powder method, but still works on the same principals. Highly viscous penetrants (mostly colored to clash with the developer that is applied at the end) are sprayed on the part and allowed to dwell for a specified period. Excess is removed and a developer is applied to draw out the trapped penetrants and reveal the defects locations and size. This method can be used on any nonporous material such as metals, plastics, concrete, etc. Below are defects detected by PT.
Visual Testing (VT), the most frequently used and most overlooked conventional NDT method, can be very simple and very complex. Simply looking at a part and identifying areas of concern is the simple part. Remote visual inspection using borescopes, fiberscopes and even robotic video devices is the far more complex part and requires significantly more training and expertise. Both types of visual inspection can be used on virtually any material where access is possible.
Over the past few years, other somewhat nonconventional methods of NDT have become more widely accepted as more engineers become more familiar with them to render them to be now considered by many as conventional methods. These include:
· Electromagnetic Testing (ET)
· Acoustic Emission (AE)
· Thermal/Infrared (IR)
Electromagnetic Testing (ET) is one of the oldest forms of NDT, but it was not until recently that this testing method was made readily acceptable with the development of associated user-friendly instruments. Eddy current theory is based on the fundamentals of electricity and magnetism and the inductive properties of alternating current. This NDT method is used commonly in tube testing of non-magnetic materials, production testing of tubing and pipe and it is quite easily used as a tool for material sorting. Training is required and significant field experience is mandatory to enable the technicians to become proficient in the analysis of the ET data. Minimum technical training of 80 hours and 1200 hours of required experience are essential for the proper operations and interpretation of this NDT method.
Acoustic Emission (AE) testing is another NDT method that has recently taken on its important role as a routine inspection method that is being used more frequently in industries around the world. AE is based on elastic energy that is spontaneously released by material when it undergoes deformation. The first evidence of acoustic emission in metals was the detection of ?tin cry?, a phenomenon of pure tin during plastic deformation. This NDT test method has progressed to being used widely in the examination of storage tanks for tank floor corrosion, pressure vessel examinations for detection of cracking and corrosion and in pipelines under hydrotest to detect weak areas and leaks. AE is capable of detecting very small areas of corrosion when properly applied. Significant training and experience are required for technicians to perform this test effectively. Below is Acoustic Emission data from a storage tank floor.
Thermal/Infrared (IR) testing came about in NDT in the early 1960?s after considerable testing by the military. Based on the emittence of energy from any material, the infrared radiometer is capable of detecting skin temperature differences in a very small range. Infrared Thermography has become very applicable in many ways due to today?s advancements in microprocessor equipment. However, analysis of the IR data is far more complex. Requirements for technical training are currently at a minimum of 80 hours, but 900 hours of practical field experience is required to obtain a level II certification as an IR Thermographer.
As mentioned previously, advancements in NDT technology is growing in leaps and bounds. The remainder of this article will present some of the more notable advancements, most of which are a derivative of the conventional methods mentioned earlier.
There is much advancement in NDT, which has proven to be very cost effective and easy to use. However, some of the newer NDT methods are very complex and difficult to use, but produce results that make the complexity of the test worth the time and effort. When one considers the huge sums of money spent each year in shut-downs, cleaning and inspection of plant piping and equipment and the negative environmental impact from waste produced during these cleaning and inspection exercises, research efforts should be focused on developing more advanced NDT methods that can lessen if not eliminate these costly and negative environmental impacts. Many times the results of the costly internal inspections show the effort could have been avoided if viable non-intrusive NDT methods were proven and available.
Some of the newer and more advanced NDT methods that have recently become available for use are:
· Electromagnetic Acoustic Transducers (EMAT)
· Guided Wave Ultrasonic Testing
· High Energy Radiography
Electro-magnetic Acoustic Transducers (EMATs) are a revolutionary method of introducing ultrasound into a part without the normally required liquid couplant. This non-contact method of ultrasonic inspection provides for high-speed examination of piping and pressure vessels. This method of NDT introduces the ultrasound via electro-magnetic coupling, making it very suitable for use at higher temperatures than conventional UT. This also eliminates the need to shut down the component for inspection. With plant or refinery processes running in upwards of 1200 º F temperatures, conventional UT becomes obsolete and EMAT has proven to be a very valuable method to examine in-process piping and pressure vessels to assure safe operation of the components. Technical training in this NDT method is required in excess of the normal electro-magnetic training previously discussed and governing standards have yet to stipulate regulations for the training and experience requirements. However, many industry standards are reviewing it at this time.
Guided Wave Ultrasonic testing is fast becoming the choice of many industries. This NDT method?s ability to examine long distances in a single setup (approximately 30 meters in both directions from the transducer ring) on both insulated/coated and buried pipelines makes it very cost effective and it provides an enormous amount of information for condition assessment. The equipment introduces bulk UT waves at somewhat lower frequencies (10 to 25 KHz) than that of conventional UT or EMAT technology and provides a means of detection of anomalies at great distances from the source of the propagating waves. Although a quantitative exam, it has become very useful as a screening tool to identify areas of concern for follow-up examinations with other more exacting and time consuming tools. This NDT method will eliminate costly unburying of lines that were not required and provide substantial costs savings by decreasing the number of digs. Further development is needed to refine this process to allow increased sensitivity and overcome the current problems faced with tape-wrap and heavy coating. These tend to deaden the sound significantly and greatly reduce the length of piping that can be examined at one time. Interpretation of the results from the Guided Wave UT tests is similar to that of conventional UT, but it does require additional training and experience to fully understand and benefit from the results. Below is a graph of Guided Wave signals.
High-energy radiography (2-10 MEV) has been around for quite some time but it just recently made its way to the portability from which especially the geographically widespread oil and gas industries can well benefit. Conventional radiography has thickness limitations of approximately three inches of steel or equivalent, unless Cobalt 60 is used which provides very grainy and hard to interpret images. The introduction of portable ?Linear Accelerators? has made possible the field radiography of material with thickness of up to 14 inches of steel and with current high output options available on some newer instruments, 20 inches of steel is no problem for the portable accelerators to handle. Given the equivalency factor for oil as compared to steel, the portable linear accelerator can easily be adapted for corrosion surveys of 48-inch diameter oil filled pipelines, examination of small oil filled vessels and huge valves. This is just a few of the many number of situations for which the Linear Accelerator could provide valuable information for plant reliability and safe operations.
The above mentions only a few of the new advanced NDT methods that are being used in industries today. Many others such as Magnetic Flux Leakage for storage tank floors to determine overall floor condition, high speed tube testing with Guided Waves, filmless radiography using phosphor imaging plate, Ground Penetrating Radar systems to nondestructively investigate the subsurface of the ground and infrastructure and others are continuously being introduced and beneficially implemented by companies to extend their operations and eliminate downtime of process equipment.
NDT can save lives and millions of dollars for facilities that use its methods. There are proven NDT technologies to do this, from conventional to more advanced ones that are essentially based on the conventional ones. Their required training requirements and proper application are paramount for realizing ever-increasing benefits.
June 3, 2009
Inspectability in Design
Too often, NDT is an afterthought and rarely brought about in the initial design phase of a project. It would be most cost effective if everything from manufactured parts to overall project management were designed or planned with inspectability in mind ? inspectability based on anything from an adequate NDT technique to an adequate inspection program that takes into account all environmental factors, as well as the true limitations of the technique or program, so the designers and planners, who are engineers for the most part, do not design hardware or plan projects, with inspections that may fall short of their expectations due to limitations they know nothing about from the start. Engineers as a whole require better appreciation of NDT and Inspection in general to realize more integrity in the facilities they design, build and operate.
June 9, 2009
No Standard NDT Certification nor T&I Programs for the Airline Industry
We know that the nuclear industry started with serious NDT before everyone, and we know why (Three-Mile Island, Chernobyl). And now we are seriously pursuing nuclear related sector certification as requested, as I understand, by the nuclear industry.
The airline industry has no standard certification nor inspection & testing program to begin with, simply because the FAA doesn?t require it.
Maybe all the airplane groundings that American Airlines pulled off last year to extreme general discontent might be a wake-up call for the airline industry to get its Quality Testing & Inspection act together to avoid having to take such sweeping measures and before any disaster on the scale of Three-Mile Island happens to it. We shouldn?t wait for sector certification to also be requested by the airline industry, especially since such a request could be a long time coming. And now tragically there's Air France Flight 447. The newspapers are now reporting that "the French agency investigating the disaster said the airspeed instruments on Flight 447 were not replaced as the maker recommended before the plane crashed in turbulent weather", according to AP. Note how Airbus, the airplane's manufacturer, could only recommend, to no avail, so it seems.
Aviation handles all quality testing and inspection under maintenance, and the airplane maintenance people I've spoken with about it say that they maintain, test and inspect their airplanes in accordance with whatever the airplane manufacturer tells them per the "manual" that comes with the airplane, and whatever the local aviation authority tells them to do, which is apparently not much when it comes to NDT. The US airlines may be at least governed by the FAA Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR), but other non-US airlines do not have to abide by FAA regulations. However, most of them have their airlines implement Airworthiness Directives issued by the FAA, which brings us back to FAA. There are requirements that they implement an FAA approved inspection program and follow the aircraft manufacturer's NDT requirements, very generic at best. Initially, NDT manuals are issued by the manufacturer for each aircraft type. In addition, manufacturers issue Service Bulletins (SB) throughout the aircraft?s life span which often include additional NDT inspections. If the requirement is critical, the FAA will issue an Airworthiness Directive (AD) which makes implementation of the new inspection mandatory.
There is no one program for all, but the US airlines do need to meet the FAR requirements and they get audited by the FAA, while foreign airlines do not. So as far is Aerospace NDT is concerned, this is from bad to worse.
Years ago, the airlines were trying to get one comprehensive specification that they could use for NDT personnel training and certification. To date this has not happened. That was Spec 105. Related to such lack of NDT standards in Aerospace, Mr. Roy T. (Tommy) Mullis wrote in our Materials Evaluation magazine of August 2008 in his article entitled, ?Air Force NDT Procedure Qualification?, that ?it was determined that a standardized procedure qualification process was necessary to ensure the reliability of Air Force NDT procedures? and ? a new process has been developed and is scheduled for formal implementation in the near future?, while further attesting , ?Although required, a standardized NDT procedure qualification process has never been established? and ?Historically, personnel roles and responsibilities concerning NDT procedure qualification have not been well defined within the Air Force.? So no NDT standards in general and even procedures for the Air Force.
The aircraft manufacturers require National Aerospace Standard NAS-410 for NDT certification of all their suppliers' inspection personnel. Internally manufacturers have their own specs, but most are based on NAS-410. Years back this started out as MIL-STD-410. (NAS-410 references the standards of EN 473, EN 4179, EN ISO/CEI 17024 & ISO 9712). In fact, EN 4179 is Aerospace Series -"Qualification and Approval of Personnel for Nondestructive Testing", which is Sector Certification, which would in turn explain referencing EN standards over ASNT ones since sector certification is desired and ASNT has none. But interestingly, NAS-410 does use ASNT's Levels 1 to 3 certification terminology and ASNT's concept of employer based certification, but that's about it. As NDT progresses specifically into the advanced methods of digital imaging, phased array and Laser Shearography, it attracts more interest from industries that may not have been as interested before, such as the Aerospace industry, which uses a wide range of composite materials that laser shearography is made to nondestructively test. Our NDT industry should keep up with and cater to the advancing and changing needs of our client industries and provide in this case Aerospace Sector Certification, and even for the oil industry, where we still can see disasters as a direct result of insufficient inspection & testing programs. But at least the oil industry has embarked on such programs while It?s hard to believe that it started on anything to do with quality and safety before the Aviation industry, Aviation being so much more risk sensitive by the nature of the business it?s in and the lives it?s responsible for transporting safely.
Writer's additional note (December 2, 2013): NAS 410 is a good certification standard. Any such standard is good, only if it is being implemented. But, it's left up to the airlines to determine their own testing & inspection programs, down to certification. The irony of this is that the American NAS 410 is based on European standards that were drawn from American standards, an ASNT certification standard in this case. I'd like to see ASNT standards directly in NAS 410 and getting airlines, not only the airplane manufacturers, to apply consistent testing & inspection programs across that industry and not relegate it under maintenance, like most other industries prudently do not do. I see such indirect and subjective application of standards as undermining the true effectiveness of NDT.
April 18, 2011
Message from the SOC Chair
Quality and safety are so interchangeable and reliant upon each other that they can mean more the same than anything else. Something of high quality has high safety and vice versa. ASNT gets it. ASNT?s mission starts with ?Creating a safer world?? through something called ?quality testing,? or nondestructive testing (NDT) as it?s better known. This interchangeability and reliance should also lead to the realization that it?s in fact HSEQ ? health, safety, environment and last but not least, quality, the "glue" holding it all together, and not just HSE (health, safety and environment) as it?s commonly known and overly used. A lot of the frustrating starts and stops in getting these very critical efforts going will be dispelled by the establishment of HSEQ reporting directly to the highest executive possible, as any quality system will stress. This will ensure much more effective application of HSEQ from resulting clearly apparent accountability, and the added realization of each of its components reinforcing the other for even more effectiveness. Clarity is a key word here and the lack of it has much to do with corporate systems that are developed separately for each component of HSEQ not taking as firm a hold within organizations as they should have. It would be much more effective to manage HSEQ in one system. This way, each of its elements won?t be as ineffectively applied, as they tend to be because of being fragmented away from each other and buried in ever-changing organizational structures.