What is the purpose of carrying out a non-destructive test? Non-destructive testing (NDT) is used to inspect a component in a reliable, safe and cost effective manner without the need to shut plant operations down, lose income or damage any of the equipment.
Non-destructive Testing techniques are also used to detect, identify and/or measure the presence of anything that could damage a component, such as corrosion or cracks. It’s important to use a professional company with the appropriate qualifications and expertise if you require any form of non-destructive testing for your business. Format NDT can help with this.
When is Non-Destructive Testing Carried out? Non-destructive testing can be carried out during or after the manufacture of equipment and can even be carried out on equipment that is currently in service.
These kinds of inspections can determine if the component parts of machinery or other equipment are suitable for the functions they need to carry out. The parts are inspected to make sure they will last the requisite amount of time before they need to be replaced.
Non-destructive testing can also be undertaken whilst machinery is being used, in order to assess the state the equipment is in and make evaluations on its life span.
What are the Different Methods of Non-Destructive Testing Non-destructive testing methods are time trusted and reliable and have had decades of use and knowledge. They are also well-documented in codes, standards, and best practices. Conventional methods of non-destructive testing are as follows:
- (AET) Acoustic Emission Testing
- (IR) Infrared Testing (IR)
- (LT) Leak Testing
- (LPT) Liquid Penetrant Testing
- (ET) Electromagnetic Testing
- (MPT) Magnetic Particle Testing
- (RT) Radiographic Testing
- (FR) Film Radiography
- (UT) Ultrasonic Testing
- (VA) Vibration Analysis
- (VI) Visual Inspection
Non destructive testing offers many plus points. The equipment used to carry out testing is portable and tests can often be repeated many times on one component. The component can also be looked at internally and externally for any flaws it might have, reports are accurate and can give a thorough assessment of the life span of a component.
How is Non-destructive Testing Used in Industry? Non-destructive testing inspections are an integral part of the oil and gas and petrochemical industries. They are also used in chemical, aerospace, automotive, and defence sectors.
The overarching goal of testing in any of these industries is to make sure flaws in components are picked up and fixed, so that they can remain reliable.
Within an industry such as petrochemicals, non-destructive testing is used throughout the lifespan of a facility.
This is so that historical data can be provided about the unit’s processes and information about how a component has been inspected, repaired and/or replaced can be accessed.
Tests may also change depending on where the equipment is in its life cycle (for instance, is it brand new, or reaching the end of its lifespan?)
It may seem like overkill but performing many assessments during the equipment’s life cycle can end up saving a company hundreds of thousands, if not millions of pounds, especially if testing highlights a threat and equipment is repaired before a problem worsens.
Some of the most common types of equipment in the petrochemical industry that require this type of testing are:
- Storage tanks
- Heat exchangers
- Pressure vessels
- Piping systems
- What damage the mechanism to be inspected for?
- What is the minimum detectable flaw size, shape, and orientation of the defect?
- Is the defect surface or internal?
- What are the sensitivities and/or limitations of the testing method?
It is critical that everyone who works in places such as refineries, chemical and gas plants, and pipeline owners has thorough understanding and experience of what non-destructive testing is and how it affects the work they do.
It’s always recommended that site personnel continue to update and enhance their knowledge of these procedures, as technology surrounding best practise for non-destructive testing changes and develops.
Codes, standards, specifications and regulations can change depending on the industry that non-destructive testing is being performed in. It’s main purpose is to simply and safely inspect a component in a reliable and cost effective way, without presenting any damage or danger to the component, the operation of the plant or any of the personnel on site.
Brian Justice, Format NDT Ltd