Non Destructive Testing And Its Many Different Uses

For the majority of technical equipment in a variety of industries, testing is essential for helping to evaluate its safety and effectiveness. Once a product has been tested, its condition is assessed and classification of the testing procedure can be carried out: it will either be classified as destructive testing, or non-destructive testing. Should the product or component have been damaged when the testing procedure was carried out, the method of testing used will be categorized as ‘destructive testing.’ If no damage was caused to the product or component, then the testing method is classified as ‘non-destructive.’ 

But what’s the purpose of such testing, and under what circumstances is it used within an industry?

Non-destructive testing explained

Any method of testing a piece of equipment, such as ultrasonic, vibration or penetrant (to name but a few), is described as a non-destructive test (NDT), and they typically employ a range of techniques to inspect and evaluate the components of an object. Within the field of science, components are tested using varying principles from physics, mathematics and chemistry.

You may also find such testing referred to as:

  • NDE – non-destructive evaluation or examination, or
  • NDI – a non-destructive inspection

Destructive testing in a nutshell, is when a component can no longer be used once tested. Even if no defect was found, if a component had to be cut open and hence can no longer be used safely again, this would be classed as destructive testing. 

However, there are a number of methods used nowadays that mean components can be tested without the need to cut them open and render them effectively useless, such as with radiography.

What industries is non-destructive testing used in?

Used for assessing the condition and quality of components or machinery before they’re actively used, NDT is employed by non-destructive testing specialists in the following industries, among others:

  • Aerospace
  • Manufacturing
  • Military and defence
  • Automotive
  • Medical devices
  • Power generation
  • Packaging
  • Petrochemical industry
  • Waste management

What are the main advantages of non-destructive testing?

The core benefit of employing NDT, is that the components being tested can be used again, and unlike destructive testing, can be used on components that are still being operated. With the equipment and tools used to carry out the majority of NDT designed to be both compact and easy to move around, the components of a machine that’s fully operational, can be tested with ease.

Below are some more advantages of non-destructive testing:

  • Working components can be made safe

Wear and tear is always a risk with the components of machinery, and it’s inevitable that this can lead to the equipment failing or malfunctioning. With NDT, however, potential signs of degradation can be spotted and corrected, and maintenance teams can use the information raised in the test, to further prevent such issues from occurring, and make the machinery more reliable overall. 

  • Production quality can be assured

With the help of NDT, quality control teams can make a quick analysis of a machines components to determine whether productivity output will be affected. 

  • A machines longevity can better be determined

While machinery is bound to succumb to wear and tear over time, and need to be replaced, NDT inspections can help to give a clearer picture of how much longer a machine can be used for, and when a replacement is necessary, and when it isn’t. 

Non-destructive testing must always be carried out by experienced individuals with appropriate training and expertise, and if you would like to know more about testing your machinery and its components, get in touch with a local service provider today. 

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