By Mike Domke, software product line leader, GE Inspection Technologies
For decades, the Oil & Gas industry has improved productivity and reduced maintenance costs through nondestructive testing (NDT) of critical operating assets. These traditional inspection technologies are poised for disruption through connectivity and digital solutions, which will unlock tremendous value for Oil & Gas asset owners. And improved operations are more important than ever in the era of lower oil prices.
Today’s most advanced inspection technologies such as phased array ultrasound, digital x-ray and 3d visual measurement are firmly part of the digital industrial age. Derived from healthcare and hardened to stand up to the toughest field conditions, these techniques help to detect corrosion, erosion, weld failures and cracking before they turn into costly downtime. Armed with these tools, inspectors generate large volumes of digital inspection data which can be shared wirelessly, analyzed and archived.
One of the most exciting technologies available today enables real-time streaming and remote collaboration. InspectionWorks Connect gives experts the ability to participate in live inspections anywhere in the world via wireless connection. Imagine an inspector who finds a severely corroded section of piping on an offshore oil rig, and is unsure whether to take the unit out of service. In an analog world that inspector might have been forced to make a judgment call, or at best flown an expert in via helicopter for consultation incurring costly delays. Today that inspector can connect wirelessly to an onshore expert who can view a live stream, recommend additional inspections and help to make the right call. Real-time streaming makes it possible to reduce costs and improve workforce training in many situations.
For inspection service providers who manage large fleets of inspection equipment, digital inspection tools are boosting productivity. Imagine being able to push wireless procedure updates and work plans to a large fleet of inspection hardware in multiple cities at the push of a button, or centralizing inspection data management and reporting for your company. The InspectionWorks platform offers fleet management and analysis tools that make data sharing, analysis and storage much easier for large inspection teams.
These are just a few examples of how advancements in digital inspection are helping the Oil & Gas industry become more reliable, more efficient, and more connected. These technologies are available today, and our team at GE is working hard to develop the next generation of digital inspection breakthroughs. Just wait until you see what’s next.
Mike Domke is software product line leader for GE Inspection Technologies. Learn more at www.inspectionworks.com