NDE inspections are becoming automated
Factory automation has long been commonplace. Manufacturers benefit from systems that can weld, grind, paint, measure and assemble products without the need for operator control. By eliminating these tedious tasks, automation has allowed personnel to engage in more meaningful and productive activities.
By contrast, automation has been slow to come to NDT. Although software has been created to automate data collection, most systems still require a host of manual activities.
More recently, advances in technology have made end-to-end inspection automation possible. Machines can automatically align the tested part, learn its contours and follow them precisely. Smart feedback means that systems can self-monitor, by verifying the reasonability and accuracy of the data being collected. The results are automatically recorded and analyzed.
Manual processes are prone to errors; subjective analyses are subject to inconsistencies. Automation eliminates these sources of inaccuracy. We believe it is the future of NDT.
What automation means to inspections:
|Improved working conditions.|
Inspection automation means that tedious manual work can be eliminated. Personnel are liberated from monotonous, repetitive tasks so that they can focus their time and energies on more meaningful activities.
| ||A safer workplace.|
Some NDT inspections require tasks that can be harmful to operator safety. For example, some inspection environments are not conducive to lengthy inspections including high or low temperatures and radiative environments. Automation means that machines can run dangerous operations, so workplace safety is improved.
Automation leads to higher throughput. It enables more data to be collected and analyzed with less effort, and greater output with fewer people. Inspections are executed faster and more reliably. The NDT bottleneck is removed.
Labour is usually the biggest cost of NDT. Automation means that operators can focus on improving the methods and products that will make their companies more competitive. NDT becomes a value delivering process instead of an expense.
|Greater inspection reliability.|
Manual tasks are prone to discrepancies. Operators differ in their abilities, leading to variable results. Even the most skilled personnel are liable to error, so flaws can be left undetected. By reliably repeating what operators do manually, automation leads to more consistent results.