4 ways to speed up onsite testing

Why does the speed of NDT testing matter?

In short, faster tests ensure that sites can return to operation quickly. 

Whilst it’s important that quality and safety are never compromised, it is also important that the operational disruption caused by overly long NDT inspections is minimised in order for businesses to run smoothly and cost-effectively. 

In this article, we will explore four practical methods for speeding up onsite NDT testing that every NDT company should know.  

What is NDT?

Non-destructive testing (NDT) is the process of inspecting and evaluating materials and components without causing damage to identify any defects that may affect their performance or safety. NDT techniques are used in a variety of industries, such as the renewable energy, construction, nuclear, oil, gas and water utility sectors. 

A range of techniques are used to inspect components. Examples include radiography, magnetic particle inspection, and eddy current testing amongst others. Each method has its own advantages and limitations depending on the type of material being tested. 

Why onsite NDT testing speed matters

Whilst, no NDT company would ever compromise on safety by rushing an inspection just for the sake of completing it to a schedule, ensuring that tests are completed as quickly as possible are essential within the industries that use NDT regularly. Here’s why:

1. Reduces downtime

Faster onsite NDT testing means quicker turnaround times for completing projects. This reduces downtime for machinery or equipment, allowing it to return to operation as soon as possible. 

To give a practical example of this, if welds are needed to repair a storage tank, a mobile darkroom might be used so that the welds could be X-rayed as soon as the weld has been formed. This would let the engineers know that the weld was secure, and work could continue as quickly as possible. 

2. Reduces financial losses

If the test has been ordered because of unexpected damage, rather than scheduled condition monitoring, any delays can result in considerable financial losses. So, testing efficiently is helpful to reduce those costs. 

How do NDT companies speed up onsite testing?

All companies know that saving time and money when possible is good for business. 

Here are four methods used to speed up onsite testing, ensuring that the client does not have unnecessary operational disruption.  

1. Portable technology

Firstly, one way to speed up the testing process is to use portable testing units. A mobile darkroom service means you can develop films onsite and produce instant results. This reduces the need for operational disruption. 

Find out more about our mobile darkroom

Another piece of kit used to reduce downtime is the Saferad Radiography System. This system allows you to perform onsite inspections without the need for large areas of your site to be affected. The Saferad System can reduce the area that needs to be cordoned off, often to just 2 metres, meaning your site can be operational whilst Saferad testing is performed. 

Find out more about the Saferad Radiography System.

2. Robotic technology  

The use of robotic crawlers and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) can speed up the time it takes to conduct visual inspections. 

Robotic crawlers can inspect pipelines and storage vessels remotely. 

Find out more about the robotic crawlers we use as part of our Corrosion Mapping service. 

UAVs, or drones, can manoeuvre around large, complex offshore sites to collect visual and thermal data. Technicians can view the images relayed by the UAVs to identify any defects as they can more easily access areas that are difficult to reach. Once areas of concern are identified, technicians can then focus on applying NDT techniques to assess the flaw. 

This saves time, as the technicians do not have to install scaffolding or use ropes to access hard-to-reach areas to perform the initial visual inspection of the whole site. 

UAVs are used as part of our Visual Inspection service. Find out more.

3. Investing in innovation 

The industries that use NDT are constantly changing and developing with the world around them. In turn, NDT must change and develop with them. A further way to speed up onsite testing is to innovate and look for new technologies that can be used within NDT. The development of new smart technologies can improve NDT methods, whilst ensuring accuracy. 

Find out more about NDT Innovation – our research and development division.

4. Investing in a multidisciplinary team 

Although there are strengths to having a few select employees focus on highly specialised areas, ensuring that a workforce is as multidisciplinary as possible is a good way to speed up onsite NDT testing.

Multidisciplined technicians can adapt to situations as they arise, applying different NDT techniques as they need to, without the need for bringing in additional teams and thus reducing disruption. 

Fast onsite testing: good for business

Finding ways to speed up the NDT inspection process, whilst maintaining accuracy, has become imperative. Using portable systems, utilising robotics, investing in innovation and having a multidisciplinary team can all speed up onsite testing times. Ultimately, reducing operational disruption (so long as safety or quality is not compromised) is best for every industry. 

Responsive testing that delivers assurance that your equipment is safe.

Contact us for a quality testing service with a fast report turnaround. We can respond to any challenge.


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