Enhancing NDT Performance at the Inspection Academy

GE Inspection Technologies operates an Inspection Academy at its state-of-the-art facilities around the globe. Highly experienced instructors train both GE employees and customers on GE’s latest non-destructive testing (NDT) tools, helping address a global shortage of experienced, well-trained NDT personnel.

Detailed course-work combined with hands-on experience result in a high level of competence and understanding of inspection theories and concepts. GE’s Inspection Academy offers courses in the major NDT modalities, including ultrasonics, radiography, eddy current, and remote visual inspection.

Recently, GE’s Inspection Academy introduced the first course of its kind to train operators in industrial computed tomography (CT). As advanced 3D technology becomes more prominent in industrial quality control and metrology, the demand for CT operators and analysts is surging. This new course will help organizations meet their staffing and development needs and keep pace with technological innovation.

Check out upcoming courses in January 2016:

  • Ultrasonic Testing Level I
  • Ultrasonic Testing Level II
  • Computed Radiographic (CR) Testing, Level II
  • Film & Digital Radiography (Basic Course)
  • Film & Digital Radiography (Advanced Course)
  • Digital Detector Array (DDA/DR) Testing, Level II
  • Eddy Current Testing Level I

A Review of our Advanced Eddy Current Weld Inspection Webinar

GE recently hosted a webinar about advanced eddy current weld inspection. Eddy current is an environmentally friendly and approved nondestructive testing (NDT) technique for weld inspection that complies with the ISO/DIN 17643 (previously EN 1711: 2000) standard.  Eddy current can save time and money compared to using liquid penetrant or magnetic particle inspection when inspecting welds, and unlike LP and MP inspections, there is no waste material generated that requires environmental disposal. As NDT continues to evolve, more advanced inspection tools like Mentor EM have emerged to provide weld inspectors with simpler and more effective eddy current inspection tools.

Mentor EM allows rapid weld inspection by all levels of inspectors – from the expert to the newly qualified, helping with the challenges of the new NDT landscape. Additionally, Mentor Create enables easy customization of the user interface to suit the applications and skill level of the inspector. Workflows are easily transferred from the PC to Mentor and quickly shared between remote sites.

MentorEM Screen (002)MentorEM (002)

Today’s NDT industries deal with a number of challenges, including:

  • Aging NDT inspector population and dwindling talent pipeline
    • Increasing complexity of inspections
    • Demanding environment, health and safety regulations
    • Eddy current as alternative to liquid penetrant (LP) and magnetic particle inspection (MPI)
    • Growing need for improved Probability-of-Detection (POD) and productivity

To address these challenges for NDT professionals, GE is:

  • Leveraging advancements in digital electronics, packaging, and display technology
  • Expanding use of downloadable customized applications (‘apps’) for NDT inspections
  • Integrating wireless communication into NDT instrumentation to allow immediate collaboration with remote experts

Watch a replay of the full webinar below to learn more about eddy current weld inspection and today’s advanced technology.


Benefits of Digital Radiography for Process and Personal Safety

In a recent post we discussed a few advantages of digital radiography for nondestructive testing. There are, however, several benefits to transitioning to digital radiography for corrosion inspection from traditional film radiography, particularly improved safety during testing, instantaneous feedback and new possibilities for inspection.

The traditional use of film-based radiography brings with it a number of safety concerns, including:

  • High doses of radiation in the plant.
  • Maintenance of a large restricted area during the use of film-based radiography equipment.
  • The stoppage of work due to film-based radiography equipment use and the costs associated with that downtime.

Converting to digital radiography essentially eliminates those concerns. In many cases pulse type x-ray units can eliminate isotope utilization. Lower curie sources and iridium are used as opposed to cobalt when testing heavy items. Implementing a digital radiography approach limits exposure time to 10 to 45 seconds (conforming to As Low As Reasonably Achievable – ALARA – standards.)

Consider a facility that has several leaks, cracks and corrosion on 16 inch pipes. The use of film or computed radiography (CR) only allows workers to conduct three to five inspections per day without exceeding the exposure limits allowed per hour. Leveraging a digital radiography approach reduces exposure time to 30 seconds per inspection, greatly reducing exposure to plant workers. An easy rule of thumb to remember – one minute film shot equals a 40 second CR shot equals six seconds of a digital radiography shot.

With digital radiography, the instant display of the radiograph at the point of inspection makes the need for re-shots virtually impossible, eliminating the need for unnecessary exposures. The plant operators now have results almost instantly. In many cases the x-ray image may be viewed in seconds and at remote locations even thousands of miles away. This is similar to doctors sharing patient x-rays and scans in hospitals miles away from one another.

What enables the digital X-ray  workflow that addresses lack of industry expertise, geographic challenges, documentation, quality control, and remote collaboration with data integrity is the industry standard DICONDE (non- propriety).

 DICONDE is a designated ASTM E2339-04 Standard and stands for:

  • D – Digital
  • I – Imaging and
  • CO – Communication in
  • NDE – Nondestructive Evaluation

DICONDE is the backbone of a modern digital radiography workflow and supports full image integrity as well as specific transmission protocols and enables truly global operations and compatibility with other DICONDE devices.

  • Data can be readily shared between DICONDE workstations
  • Image data can be automatically pushed to multiple workstations
  • Data can be automatically pushed during non-peak working hours
  • Rhythm and the DICONDE protocol will ensure data-integrity
  • Reduction of Level 2 and Level 3 labor required


Example of a global architecture where radiography inspection, image assessment and remote diagnosis are done on different geographic locations  

Digital radiography provides new opportunities to inspect and test equipment for damaged mechanisms, particularly due to corrosion and erosion. Operators and asset owners can now conduct inspections of structures that are thicker and more complex in less time and often with lower radiation sources. New technologies and improvements may be used for both in-process inspection as well as new construction. Enhanced image quality is associated with improved measurement capabilities and increased probability of damage detection.

To read more about the benefits of digital radiography, you can find the full article here in Inspectioneering.

By Richard Mills, GE Radiography SME and ASNT Level III

Monitoring, Detecting and Measuring Corrosion

Natural objects, such as granite, and man-made structures, such as bridges, cars, ships, refineries, aircraft, are all subject to the same environmental stresses. Light, temperature changes, water, and gasses in the air all play a role in the breakdown of materials. The one major difference is just how quickly that breakdown occurs.

A general term for the degradation of man-made structures is corrosion. Scientists try to understand the mechanisms by which corrosion occurs, design barriers to corrosion, find ways to monitor the progress of corrosion, and build processes for asset maintenance and systems to reduce the overall costs of corrosion to society.

Digital X-Ray Image 1

The economic impact of corrosion has been researched at length. A well-known study published in 1999 by NACE (the National Association of Corrosion Engineers) titled The United States Cost of Corrosion Study indicates that the direct cost of corrosion is more than 3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Similar studies report direct costs ranging from 2 to 4.5 percent of the GDP. The real issue is where direct costs end and indirect costs begin.

Given these enormous costs, it is not surprising that there are large industries centered on:

  1. Corrosion prevention (such as additives in water systems, coating materials like paint for automobiles, etc.)
  2. Corrosion repair and maintenance
  3. Corrosion monitoring, detection, and measurement.

Regularly scheduled inspections can validate corrosion rates and allow engineers and operators to better plan for maintenance situations. While ultrasound thickness (UT) readings can be of occasional use with regularly scheduled inspections, they do not provide enough precision with the collection of manual thickness readings to adequately determine wall thickness losses from corrosion. Pitting cannot be reliably detected by conventional UT methods simply because the size of the defect is small compared to the area inspected. Phased array ultrasound (PAUT) techniques can be developed to approach the needed precision and get great coverage quickly.

The direct and indirect costs of corrosion can be staggering. With improved inspection technologies, such as digital radiography and phased array ultrasound, and maintenance schedules, equipment manufacturers and providers are helping organizations control costs and get a better handle on the health of their assets.

For more information on corrosion monitoring, detection and measurement, read Robert Ward’s article in Inspection Trends Corrosion, Monitoring, Detection and Measurement. And, for more information on GE’s phased array flaw detectors, visit here.

By Bob Ward, Senior Product Manager, Portables, GE Measurement & Control