- since 1996 -
|NDT.net Issue - 2012-11 - NEWS |
|Increased Productivity and Ease of Use Seen as Major Benefits|
Huerth, Germany 15 October 2012 The USM Vision portable ultrasonic (UT) weld inspection system from the Inspection Technologies business of GE Measurement & Control, has provided impressive gains in productivity for Studio VM, the Italian Technical Services company. It has also allowed Studio VM to deploy technicians who are not experts in Phased Array (PA) and Time of Flight Diffraction (TOFD) to meet the needs of an important customer who required accurate inspection using these advanced techniques.
Studio VM was founded in 1990 and now offers a comprehensive portfolio of NDT services using a wide range of non-destructive testing (NDT) technologies, including eddy current, remote visual inspection and acoustic emission. Its ultrasonic capabilities extend from hardness testing and simple flaw detection to TOFD and PA. Its customer base includes large oil and gas contractors as well as general engineering companies throughout Europe.
A recent project involved the inspection of welded pipework systems for a major pipeline fabrication contractor. To satisfy inspection codes, the circumferential welds of the fabricated pipes need to be inspected by both phased array and TOFD. Studio VM already had an automated circumferential weld inspection system but were experiencing problems with it. The fabrication contractor also had a similar girth weld inspection system but this also proved unsuitable for the task. As a result, Studio VM decided to invest in a USM vision system, which uses technicians who are not specialists in PA and TOFD to perform the inspection, with the interpretation of results being performed by just one ultrasonic expert.
This proved eminently successful, as Giampaolo Bruschi, owner of Studio VM explains, Following short technician training provided by GE, we first used the USM Vision on girth welds on 18 inch diameter, 20mm thick pipe and our operators were soon able to scan 34 welds in one 10 hour shift. We have since worked on welds in 12mm wall thickness pipe and in 24 working days, one of our teams scanned 585 joints, which required either double scanning by TOFD or double scanning by Phased Array when there was only one-sided access. More recently, we have been working on 8mm pipe, where we have been five times faster than X-ray inspection. Our end customer has naturally been very pleased with the speed and quality of the inspections and, as a service company, I am extremely confident that our investment in GE technology will continue to bear fruit.
The USM Vision is a hand-held ultrasonic flaw detection system which combines software and hardware to allow code-compliant inspection, easily, reliably and speedily. It will not replace radiography in every instance but it offers users an opportunity to eliminate radiography constraints when required, as well as making best use of the expertise of the limited numbers of available, qualified ultrasonics inspection personnel.