Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) plays a crucial role in ensuring the integrity and reliability of various materials and structures. When selecting an NDT method, it’s important to evaluate several key factors to ensure its effectiveness and practicality. In this blog post, we will discuss the five vital elements to consider when choosing an NDT method: accuracy and precision, speed, quantitativeness/objectivity, automation, and affordability.
Accuracy and Precision
The primary purpose of NDT is to provide accurate and precise inspection results. If an inspection method lacks accuracy (does it get the right answer?) and/or precision (does it get consistent answers?), it becomes unreliable and loses its value. Therefore, it’s crucial to select an NDT method that:
- Offers sufficient resolution and reliability to detect the defects of interest in your application.
- Demonstrates excellent Gauge Repeatability and Reproducibility (Gage R&R) to ensure consistent and dependable results.
- Has had its accuracy and reliability assessed and validated via methods like destructive cutups, referee NDT, or statistical evaluations like Probability of Detection (POD).
Speed and Efficiency
Speed and efficiency are key considerations when choosing an NDT method. If the inspection process is excessively slow, it can hinder productivity and delay critical operations. What is a good inspection speed? It depends on the required throughput for an inspection. For high-volume component production, inspection times measured in single-digit seconds per part may be required. For low-volume production of high-value components, a slower inspection with testing times measured in minutes may be acceptable, especially if that inspection yields higher accuracy and/or precision needed for critical applications. The time needed for part preparation for the inspection and part restoration post-inspection must also be considered when evaluating inspection speed. The removal of paint prior to inspection and restoration of paint after inspection is one example. Automated inspections that minimize operator touch time offer efficiency benefits.
To ensure timely and effective testing, opt for an NDT method that:
- Provides high-speed testing capabilities to meet your throughput requirements.
- Enables swift inspection without compromising accuracy or reliability.
- Minimizes the operations and time needed for part preparation and restoration
- Minimizes operator touch time
Objective and quantitative inspection methods are essential to minimize uncertainty in results. By eliminating operator interpretation of indications, you can enhance the reliability and repeatability of the inspection process. Look for an NDT method that:
- Offers an objective approach, reducing the reliance on subjective operator judgment.
- Provides quantitative inspections that yield precise data, reducing uncertainty in results.
- Supports automation, as it further enhances objectivity and eliminates human error in inspections.
Streamlining the inspection process through automation can significantly improve efficiency and reduce human error. When evaluating NDT methods, consider the benefits of automation and what level of automation optimizes the efficiency and value of your processes:
- Reduces operator touch time, making inspections faster and more efficient.
- Minimizes operator training requirements, making it easier to implement and maintain.
- Enhances objectivity by eliminating human error as a factor in inspection results.
The cost-effectiveness of an NDT method is an important aspect to consider, especially for long-term and widespread use. Consider carefully the value of the part relative to the cost of inspection. Cheap parts that are not safety critical may not merit expensive inspections, but expensive and/or safety critical parts often do. The cost of equipment is important, but there are many other factors to consider. To ensure an ideal NDT cost scenario, look for a method that:
- Utilizes affordable equipment, minimizing upfront and ongoing expenses.
- Requires minimal operator touch time, reducing labor costs.
- Has minimal operator training requirements, lowering training-related expenses.
- Minimizes the operations needed to prepare a part for inspection, such as cleaning or paint stripping, reducing non-value adding operations, equipment expenses, and hazardous materials handling.
When selecting an NDT method, it’s crucial to consider multiple factors to ensure its suitability and effectiveness. By prioritizing accuracy and precision, speed, quantitativeness/objectivity, automation, and affordability, you can make an informed decision that meets your specific inspection requirements. Remember, each of these factors contributes to the overall success and reliability of your NDT process.
Vibrant Corporation provides revolutionary PCRT technology that is changing how aerospace, automotive and power generation markets conduct nondestructive testing (NDT). PCRT is an economical standalone addition to, or replacement for, NDT that enhances safety and operating economics by detecting process variation and structural defects undetectable by other methods. Learn more about PCRT here or about our testing services here.