Non-destructive testing (NDT) is the preeminent process used to inspect and assess the integrity of materials and structures without causing damage. Through the rapid advancement of manufacturing technologies, new NDT equipment is constantly being innovated to improve the accuracy, speed, and accessibility of pertinent inspections. In today’s blog post, we will dive into the latest and greatest NDT equipment that is currently available on the market today.
With all the new and exciting developments taking place in the field, there is one development in particular that stands out. One of the emerging creations in NDT equipment is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to increase inspection accuracy tenfold. By training key learning models and integrating the results with AI and ML, NDT equipment can transform into an automated detector that analyzes defects to reduce human error and increase efficiency. A marquee example of this is the application of AI-powered ultrasonic testing, which has demonstrated the statistical ability to detect and classify defects in metal structures such as pipelines and aircraft components.
Another trend in NDT equipment has been the recurring use of remote visual inspections (RVI) with drones and robots. These inspections are becoming increasingly popular as they are faster, safer, and more cost effective than traditional inspections. In addition, the drones used to survey materials are equipped with high-resolution cameras, thermal imaging, and other sensors that can be leveraged for providing access to hard-to-reach areas such as power plants, bridges, and oil rigs. Robots, on the other hand, can be used to inspect tight spaces, dangerous environments, and underwater structures. Therefore, it can also be known that the increasing use of RVI’s within the NDT industry has led to improved safety measures and less risk for employees on the job.
Aside from the use of AI, ML, drones, and robots, a third development that has become important in NDT equipment is the use of 3D imaging technology. With the guidance of 3D imaging capabilities, NDT equipment can create a detailed, virtual representation of an object, making it easier to identify and analyze defects. To support this with a real-world example, let’s apply 3D imaging benefits to radiologic imaging. It is understood that computed tomography (CT) scans can be used to create 3D images of parts and assemblies to identify internal defects. This means that NDT equipment has the potential to be used to save lives in the healthcare industry.
A final example of a trend that portable NDT equipment is providing throughout its succinct advancement, this technology is allowing technicians to quickly perform inspections on-site. The portable NDT devices are lightweight and easy to use, making them ideal for inspections in remote locations or on the go. Technicians that are the main proponents of NDT technology use things like portable X-ray machines, ultrasonic testing equipment, and small handheld testing devices to accomplish assessments quickly and return high-performing results.
In conclusion, emerging NDT equipment has been increasingly useful through the ability to use AI and ML, RVI, 3D imaging, and portable devices to improve the accuracy, speed, and accessibility of inspections. The use of these technologies creates positive benefits for corporations and communities in an efficient, cost-effective, and safe manner, making it easier to identify and analyze defects that are core components of infrastructure.