NDT in India
|By Helmut Wolf|
The organisers have announced that an official report will be available around mid February 1997, when the Annual General Conference of ISNT, will be held in Chennai (Madras) in India. So far, I had no access to official figures, I may be able to provide more accurate details at that time. Till then, I can give some approximate details and informal remarks of a participant. The technical editor of the WCNDT proceedings has also promised that the contributions to the technical sessions, or at least the collection of titles, will be sent to me for release on the UT Online Journal.
About 1500 delegates had come to attend the 14thWCNDT. I estimate that about one third or a quarter of them had come from outside India. This is a rather good number, considering earlier participation in other countries of emerging economies. This figure could have even been higher - as in the case of some of my German NDT friends, the official travel agent, that operates an office in Germany, had put them off. They had expected a more informed and eager assistance for potential delegates travelling to India. Registering and transferring the fees to India was no mean task. Such handicaps and other infrastructural deficiencies did crop up all along the preparation time and even during the conference. The organisers cannot be blamed for every hiccup - the area code of the organising office was changed twice during the pre conference time and people found it difficult to contact the organisers.
Those who came to Delhi, lamented about high prices, being above world standards for participation and hotels. The organisers, in the attempt to make it a world class gathering may have overstreched the spending capacity of some interested NDT people and selected the best hotels of sufficient size in Delhi to hold the conference. Not everyone could spent US$ 350 a night to stay in the conference hotel and found more moderately priced alternatives.
Many participants used the rest of the Sunday to preview the technical exhibition, INTEX, which had not been officially been opened. Many exhibitors were still constructing their stalls while delegates already inquired about the wares to be displayed. Ultimately nobody minded, the informal talks among packages and boxes turned out to be rather fruitful. During the following days, the delegates were rather busy with the technical sessions and found less time for the exhibition
Almost any NDT topic was dealt with in the technical sessions or in the accompanying poster session. It was virtually impossible to follow all papers of interest. Of 732 papers that had been accepted, 530 papers were received as camera ready copy. Prof. Kroening of IzFP has summarised the contributions in his foreword to the proceedings: "Like in earlier World conferences, ultrasonic techniques formed a major part in the overall contribution, but all major methods of NDE were represented."
Rather than going into details of the technical sessions - these will be discussed elsewhere -, I want to look at the situation of NDT in India. NDT has been practised for quite a few years. An article in "Materials Evaluation", November 96 issue, gives the state of advanced NDT research done in India.. The foremost NDT groups come from space, aviation, nuclear power, offshore and chemical industry.
It is not surprising that the organisers of WCNDT are from the nuclear energy group, around Dr. Baldev Raj from Kalpakkam. It can be said that his group is among the most advanced and active NDT groups in India.
The Indian Society of Non Destructive Testing, ISNT, has about 5000 members. Most of them are certified in at least one NDT method to level I, II or III. Certification courses are the most important activity of ISNT, which is also acknowledged by the fact that in neighbouring countries from Singapore to the Gulf countries, these certificates are recognised.
India had also been chosen as a WCNDT host country, because of its emerging economy and current rapid industrial growth. The changes in the last few years were dramatic. Before 1990 almost every industrial activity in India was regulated and had to be licensed. Liberalisation started in 1991. Its impact is beginning to show now. International companies have entered the Indian market and operate independently or in joint ventures with Indian partners. NDE/NDT has become an essential discipline for a more competitive and quality conscious environment.
There have been Indian manufacturers who produce standard NDT equipment for ultrasonics, radiography, MPT, LPT etc.. In terms of technology what is offered is typically 10 years behind the international state of the art. The standard market can be considered to be well established and mature. Only NDT users in high technology areas still have to import equipment for their requirement.
Given this background of the Indian NDT scenario, it was not surprising, that during the WCNDT we received an overwhelming response to more advanced and automated NDT techniques. This was applicable to ultrasonics, eddy current, micromagnetics and thermography.
Even though not everyone in the NDT world has been able to attend, for the Indian NDT community, the WCNDT was a tremendous window to the world of NDT. Companies that are involved in India or have plans to establish their presence found the participation very rewarding. Participants who were looking at world-wide opportunities were less enthusiastic, but still satisfied. India has met the challenge to host this conference, probably a one in a life time chance. Within the constraints of operation in India, the WCNDT organisers did a remarkable job.
AuthorDr.-Ing. Helmut Wolf.
Helmut Wolf, (ASNT level III, UT) has a Master's and a Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Erlangen, Germany. He has extensively worked on high temperature materials, their strength, creep and fracture properties. He is working in India since 1987. Till 1992 he was a fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany at the Indian Instiute of Technology, Madras. Since 1993 he heads the company, European Testing Products and Services Pvt. Ltd. in Madras, which offers destructive testing services (fatigue, fracture mechanics) and software development in related testing fields. Q Net Quality Network Pvt. Ltd., India, is a company Dr. Wolf has founded as a joint venture with Quality Management GmbH of Germany. Q Net focuses on NDT products and services in India.
Q NET Quality Network Pvt. Ltd., Chennai (Madras), India.