Eddy Current: A Cost-Effective Alternative to Liquid Penetration & Magnetic Particle Inspection

Eddy Current Testing

Liquid penetration (LP) & magnetic particle inspection (MPI) are long-standing methods of non-destructive testing (NDT). But, eddy current inspection is proving to be a cost-effective alternative for weld inspections. In a time when companies need to prioritize sustainable practices and improve EHS (Environmental, Health & Safety) performance, Eddy Current Flaw Detectors can help companies meet these goals – while saving time and money.

Eddy current inspection does not require many of the consumables needed with the LP and MPI processes. For example, eddy current doesn’t use chemicals for penetrant or cleaning liquids. This eliminates the costly chemical disposal and is more environmentally-friendly. Additionally, it doesn’t call for pre-inspection coating removal or post-inspection repainting, which eliminates another consumable from the process.

For companies looking to achieve the most bang for their buck, eddy current testing saves money in the long run. Let’s compare eddy current to LP for a shut-down at 250,000 barrel per day refinery for inspection of 10,000 welds. LP would call for:

  • A recurring $6,500 for chemicals
  • 2,100 man hours for pre- and post-tasks
  • 2,900 hours for LP inspections and cost of chemical disposal

Compared to eddy current testing:

  • A one-time $12,000 capital investment
  • 1,700 hours for ED inspection
  • Lower inspection hours
  • Lower long-term cost

Although eddy current testing has a larger initial cost, there is a strong ROI and far less chemical waste than other common weld inspection methods. Learn more about the benefits of eddy current testing in our latest webinar and about Mentor EM Eddy Current Portable Tester.

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Optimize Weld Inspection with the Mentor EM

The landscape of non-destructive testing (NDT) has changed significantly over the past 15 years – from increasing complexity of inspections to the rapidly retiring workforce to demanding Environmental Health and Safety regulations. Each change brought with it the need for improved testing and inspection technology. To ensure you’re ready for the next wave of changes, don’t be caught off guard by outdated inspection technology.

To help companies address these issues, David Jankowski, product sales leader at GE Inspection Technologies, and Daniel Groninger, program manager at GE Inspection Technologies, recently held a webinar on how operators can optimize weld inspection and adapt to the times with GE’s Mentor EM Eddy Current Portable Tester.

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As a full featured Eddy Current Flaw Detector, Mentor EM provides an effective, efficient and reliable means to perform weld inspection. Here’s why an eddy current tester like the Mentor EM provides the most optimized inspection quality:

  • Eddy current is environmentally friendly and an approved technique for weld inspection – meaning it will meet updated EHS regulations.
  • Mentor EM allows rapid weld inspection by all levels of inspectors – from the seasoned expert to the newly qualified, ensuring the next generation of inspectors can easily use the product and complete their job.
  • With our Mentor Create feature, Mentor EM enables easy customization of the user interface – suiting the applications and skill level of the inspector.
  • Workflows can be easily transferred from the PC to Mentor and quickly shared between remote sites – by simply emailing or sending wirelessly.

For Mentor EM demonstrations and more details on its advantages, watch the full webinar here.

Interested in learning more about Mentor EM? Contact your local GE Inspections Technologies sales engineer for more information, who can even arrange an on-site demo of the Mentor EM.

What to Expect from GE at NACE Corrosion 2016

With NACE Corrosion 2016 just around the corner, we look forward to showcasing GE’s latest corrosion technology as part of our advanced non-destructive testing (NDT) offerings. More than 5,500 attendees from 70 countries are expected to be in attendance, making it the largest corrosion conference internationally – and a great place for us to connect with industry peers and customers about the corrosion challenges facing organizations today. To check out our wide range of NDT solutions or speak with some of our experts at the conference, stop by booth #1550.

Our experts will explain how our NDT offerings help industrial organizations boost productivity, improve safety and minimize plant downtime. These products include everything from remote visual inspection, ultrasonic testing, radiographic testing and eddy current testing. Corrosion and erosion result in billions of wasted dollars each year in the oil and gas and power generation industries. Detection, sizing and monitoring equipment can help avoid up to 25 percent of those wasted dollars, making it crucial for companies to have the most innovative and effective NDT equipment.

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Our NDT technologies help you collect important data and convert it into useful information. Coupled with historical plant data, intelligent software, image enhancement, databasing, applicable codes and additional knowledge, asset owners can make better-informed decisions regarding treatment, mitigation, remaining life, component replacement or plant operating parameters.

Whether you are in oil and gas, aerospace or government infrastructure, our experts can help ensure you are getting the optimal solution to meet your company’s inspection needs. Additionally, we are always taking into consideration customer feedback to build the most productive inspection products in the market and would love to hear from you.

We hope to see you in Vancouver from March 6-10!

High Performance Ultrasonic Instrumentation Improves Rail Inspection

Wheel and axle inspection is a fundamental component of high speed railway safety. As more high speed trains become available and the speed at which they transport and the loads that they carry continually increase, the possibility of material failure grows substantially. High profile incidents, most recently in Germany, France and the U.S., demonstrate a significant need for increased safety practices and improved technology to mitigate these risks.

Trains traveling at speeds greater than 200 km/h and urban commuter or metro trains subject their hollow axles to increased strain, which puts their structural integrity and reliability at risk. Fatigue cracks occur in areas where there is a high stress concentration, including the hollow axle, wheel rim, wheel disk, bore hole and gear seat, and the wheel seat. Remnants from the wheel and axle manufacturing process can also cause stress at high speeds, reinforcing the need for inspections to be done accurately on a scheduled and ongoing basis. As a result, hollow axles must be inspected regularly for early detection of flaws to assure the cracks do not propagate quickly.

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GE recently introduced technology to dramatically improve inspection quality for the rail industry. The Compact Hollow Axle Tester (CHAT) combines hollow-axle inspection mechanics and ultrasonic angle-beam probes with GE’s high quality ultrasonic instrumentation. GE’s CHAT allows inspectors to perform regular evaluations and create dynamic inspection plans through fast data acquisition and image display with an intuitive interface and advanced software.

Global rail operators conduct inspections at regular intervals, primarily during the night shift to avoid traffic disruptions. The ability to complete a full inspection quickly, without the removal of the wheelset and axles from the car, allows rail operators to increase the productivity of the inspections.

Watch this video to see CHAT at work:

3D Quality Control Inspection for 3D Printed Parts

When people think about 3D printing, many assume all printed parts are exactly the same. Additive manufacturers today, however, understand that there is still a considerable amount of variation with 3D printing, and, as a result, advanced inspection methods and tools must be used to ensure printed parts are meeting industry standards.

Because 3D printing is not as repetitive or consistent as it’s often portrayed to be, it requires regular testing and calibration. For this reason, GE developed a scatter|correct function to be used in conjunction with cone beam CT in its v|tome|x m microCT scanner to eliminate the guesswork in additive manufacturing.

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Cone beam CT, which images an entire part as it rotates just once between an X-ray source and a detector, is up to 100 times faster than fan beam CT. That’s partially because a fan beam CT scanner X-rays thin slices of a work piece as it rotates and moves linearly in steps through the beam. Those thin slices then have to be reconstructed and combined to represent the full 3D volume. The downside to cone beam CT is that it’s subject to scatter on images.

When GE works with super dense metals, such as chromium cobalt, the radiation causes the materials to scatter resulting in a blurry image. The scatter effect can make it more challenging to get an accurate measurement. Steel, aluminum, composites and multi-material parts are also prone to create scatter on images.

Additive Part 3

For industrial process control, excellent CT quality at high sample throughput is evident. GE’s proprietary scatter|correct option is a combination of hardware and software advances, allowing users to scan large sample batches in reasonable time as well as significantly reduce scattering artifacts to improve the precision of failure analysis and 3D metrology inspection tasks. The scatter|correct smart function is applied to the first part scanned in a series and the CT scanner applies it to every subsequent part for a clear image and accurate measurement. By combining high precision fan beam CT quality with high throughput of fully automated cone beam CT, the significantly increased inspection productivity allows CT to migrate from R&D applications to serial inspection on the production floor.

Read the full article in Manufacturing Engineering.

Improving Productivity and Increasing Uptime with Advanced Inspection Tools

Today’s advanced visual inspection technology, such as Mentor Visual iQ from GE, helps operators make smarter decisions faster. More sophisticated devices with connectivity and intuitive touchscreen user-interfaces extend uptime and increase productivity. The latest generation of visual inspection technologies improve inspection processes and help address challenges around the growing skills gap by providing less experienced inspectors with the insights necessary to do their jobs via technology similar to that of a smartphone.

Every minute of downtime, whether it’s a turbine that is taken offline or a plane that is grounded, costs money – upwards of millions of dollars per day. Advanced visual inspection technologies allow technicians to more quickly and accurately identify issues or rule out problems reducing costly downtime.

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Past systems required technicians to use a joy stick and menu to select points they wanted to measure and record annotations. Now, inspectors can easily access the points they want to measure by a simple touch on the screen. Moreover, the touchscreen speeds up the commonly used text annotation process by 50 percent compared to older visual inspection systems. Inspectors can take a picture and add a text annotation that labels the defect, making it easier to share the image and get a second opinion from an off-site expert. It is also much quicker for inspectors to choose the images they want to share with improved file navigation tools that are easily accessible on the touchscreen.

Hardware upgrades have dramatically improved visual inspection, and software is simultaneously evolving to keep pace with an increasingly connected environment. Device side menu and profile software that is built within the system has become easier for technicians to access and is more customized to their needs. Inspectors can change interfaces and profiles on the system to have exactly what they need to complete their jobs most effectively. And for compatibility with existing systems, new software packages load onto the system and set standards to keep inspectors working in the same consistent format across the organization. For example, a power plant employee working on the compressor side of a turbine can save images following a predetermined procedure which allows each inspector, regardless of location and experience level, to conduct the inspection the same way and in the same order. Consistency is just another facet of a productive workforce that provides more accurate results. The latest software for visual inspection is being developed with architecture for the future to adapt to the changing landscape and workplace dynamic.

To learn more about these benefits, read the full article in Quality Manufacturing Today here: http://www.qmtmag.com/display_eds.cfm?edno=8004979.

 By Tom Ward, RVI Senior Product Manager, GE Measurement & Control

Transforming Pipeline Inspection with Digital Radiography

For many years, equipment manufacturers have worked to develop radiographic systems that take film radiography to the next level. Their goal was to increase the functionality of these systems by incorporating the benefits of digitization in data processing, analysis and storage.

Digital radiography (DR) composed of both computed radiography (CR) and digital detector array (DDA) technologies is now fast assuming the role once held by film radiography in industrial and process segments, including the oil and gas industry, where non-destructive testing (NDT) is applied.

The technology benefits of digital radiography that are driving this transition include efficiency, enhanced image quality and dynamic range. Advances in wireless technology are also a contributing factor, as it makes digital radiography more portable than ever. Further, a change in industry standards has both allowed and encouraged digital radiography to be used for new applications which have been formerly exclusive to traditional film inspection.

In the oil and gas industry, there are a number of important considerations that impact how NDT is carried out, including safety, quality, production, cost and environmental issues. Pipelines represent a significant financial investment and are considered critical business assets. They are responsible for transporting very high value fluids and any fracture or leakage can result in a damaging financial loss— not to mention environmental issues and detrimental effects to a company’s reputation. Consequently, it is essential that pipelines are inspected for integrity during manufacture, installation and service.

Inspection is carried out to ensure the on-going integrity of welds in-service, as well as to identify and monitor any pipe wall-thickness changes and metal loss caused by corrosion or erosion, and to locate any cracks which may develop in welds, pipe walls and the heat affected zone.

DDAs are now helping to streamline weld inspection processes. With the development of more versatile and higher resolution detectors there is a reduction in wait time for results as a radiographic image is produced in real time directly onto a connected display screen. In the past, the use of digital radiography has been limited due to size, weight and connectivity of the equipment. New technology solutions give users the benefit of shorter shot times, minimal radiation exposure and can easily connect to a laptop and produce images for instant review.

Digital X-Ray Image 1

In summary, the primary benefits of the latest CR/DDA technology for pipeline field inspection are:

Increased inspection productivity;

  • Improved deep-water inspection;
  • Reduced inspector and inspection materials costs;
  • Improved safety and reduced environmental impact due to reduced radiation and chemicals; and
  • Enhanced data management for effective review, collaboration and long-term storage.

With the field-ready inspection technology available, the significant productivity advantages and the relevant inspection standards ready to go, digital conversion will change the way industrial radiographic pipeline inspection is performed going forward.

For more information on digital radiography transforming pipeline inspection, read Richard Mills’ GE article in Inspection Trends – Transforming Pipeline Inspection with Digital Radiography.

By Richard Mills, Senior Radiography Technical Support Manager, GE