NDTnet - April 1996, Vol.1 No.04
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about country series

Ultrasonic Testing in Germany

2nd edition by R. Diederichs

  • History
  • Germany, as a leading industrialized nation, historically has maintained a strong position in the area of ultrasonic testing, and continues to do so today. Germany does not claim to be the inventor of ultrasonics, that honor goes to Jurine of Switzerland, who discovered the rules of sound reflection in 1798, and whose behavioral research introduced us to the bat property.
    [1] Magdeburger O.V. Guericke (1602-1686), of Germany, however, had already settled the question of the basis of sound transmission, and with this the platform for ultrasonic material testing techniques. The first industrial use of UT occurred outside Germany by the physicist Floyd A. Firestone and his US-Patent 2 280 226 "Flaw Detecting Device and Measuring Instrument" from 21st. April 1942. This can be seen as the birth of material testing.

    kk_usipThe scene then returns to Germany, where almost at the same time, company founders J. Krautkrämer[2] (Köln) in the year 1949 and Karl Deutsch (Wuppertal) in 1950 demonstrated their first instruments (Krautkrämer Icon). The legal use of Firestone's patent played a key role in further development of the UT market. Also at that same time, the first Echo instruments were developed by Lutsch bei Siemens, Lösel and Schuster in Thüringen, Briton and Steen in Berlin.

  • Industry
  • The ultrasonic testing of the fifties was clearly demanded by the raw iron resources and the steel production in the German province of Nordrhein Westfalen -NRW (special paragraph on this page), and the further production of steel pipes, bars, and sheets. Today, Germany is no longer a top steel-producing nation, but still, due to it's tradition, develops important applications, (e.g. , MFI the Mannesmann Research Institute). Due to weak raw material sources Germany has worked to gain a high position in the areas of automation, automotive, chemical and aerospace engineering, as well as off-shore applications in the North Sea. The railway industry is highly developed, and the infrastructure is in the process of development in order to establish more high speed connections; there is currently an increase in test activities. The only railway client is at the moment the Deutsche Bundesbahn AG, and a move toward privatization is underway. Due to political issues, nuclear energy stations in Germany are less established (appr. 10). In contrast, during the "glory days" of 1970-1980, many large projects were actually financed by governmental programs (BMFT). Other applications were also able to benefit from this research.

  • Institutes, Societies, Publications
  • The universities and private institutions are continuously developing ultrasonic testing on a high level; about 35 entities are involved in this. Some famous places are: BAM[5] Bundesanstalt für Materialprüfung Berlin, MPA[6] Materialprüfamt Stuttgart, FhG Fraunhofer Gesellschaft [7] . The German Society for Non Destructive Testing DGZfP[3] and the GZP-Gütegemeinschaft[4] Zerstörungsfreie Werkstoffprüfung are the most important societies for UT techniques. Furthermore, many other institutions besides those pertaining to NDT/UT are involved, such as VDI, TÜV, FMPA[18] .
    Further education and certification courses are numerous and available; the Online Database KURSDIREKT offers complete information on this topic. Access is available through T-Online (Internet is planned!).
    There are a few publications available, such as the Materialprüfung (Hanser Verlag), but it only deals partially with UT technique. Also the DGZfP presents a paper with 5 issues per year. Our new UT-Online Journal (Diederichs Internet Publishing) is the first international publication exclusively devoted to UT techniques.
    Available UT databases include FIZ Frankfurt and FIZ Karlsruhe[8].

  • Providers, Manufacturers
  • There are about 10 UT manufacturers, and 100 Service companies in Germany. Many distributors from other countries find their market here; find many of them in the list displayed here. Most German companies are worldwide distributors. The companies Krautkrämer [2] and Deutsch are also offering certification courses UT1/UT2.


  • Events
  • Events are frequent, such as the annual DGZfP Annual Conference in mid-May (1996 in Lindau[12]), the International Symposium NDT in Civil Engineering in Berlin, the MPA Materialprüfamt in Stuttgart, the MTQ[16]) Messe Dortmund in November, as well as the Interkama and Tube & Wire[15]) both at Messe Düsseldorf, the Control Messe Sinsheim, and the Quality Messe Sindelfingen. For testing in the plastics industry the international plastic fair (Report K' 95[14]) is most important, with many companies dealing in ultrasonic thickness systems and gauges presenting. The DGZfP offers a calendar of events about their meetings in the province departments, and about UT contributions.


  • UT in NRW


  • References and further Information:
  • Other interesting Germany sources
    For our international readers we concentrated our search on English-language material

    Help and foreword about the new series "Ultrasonics by Country"

    This series will provide additional information on demand. We do not plan just to copy the contents of the Virtual Library to here; this site will also integrate items outside the Internet as well as geographical UT-Highlights. Also the countries' NDT- societies will be integrated into this site, including those with no Internet presence.
    The UT in Country - Text is an example of the information you can access through each country's clickmap. "Clicking" on the country's flag at the capital city will take you to the UT in Country - Text. By "Clicking" on the other map icons you can access the related bookmarks within this document or go directly to another site.
    When the series is fully underway, we will use the advantages of electronic online publishing to keep information up to date. The series will become a permanent department of the journal, and hopefully, a useful information source, at present still under construction.
    Nevertheless we hope you will get fast data transfer on German's Data Highways, some are still a better side road with 128 Kbytes. During the CeBIT 96 the opening of a new infrastructure called "B-WiN" from the German DFN Network Society was announced. We hope that this will enable us to maintain rapid data transmission speed, even as the number of users increases.

    If you would like to contribute information, either general or country-specific, please send us a message: Email info@ndt.net.

    May 1996, Rolf Diederichs

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    Rolf Diederichs 01. Aug 1996, , updated 1. Dec 96info@ndt.net

    /DB:Article /AU:Diederichs_R /IN:NDTnet /CN:DE /CT:general /CT:UT /CT:Germany /ED:1996-04