Ashtead Technology Invests in OmniScan Flaw Detection Instruments
As part of a strategy to create a ‘Centre of Excellence’ in Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) equipment, Ashtead Technology has invested in a fleet of the latest OmniScan flaw detection instruments from Olympus.
In combination with a high level of technical support, this unique initiative is bringing the advantages of advanced NDT to a wider group of professionals within markets such as aerospace, manufacturing, engineering, military, power generation including renewable energy, oil and gas, and the petrochemical sector.
One of the first companies to exploit the ability to rent the OmniScan instruments was Forth Inspection Service, an NDT consultancy with global clients and a strong relationship with the oil and gas sector in Aberdeen. Forth works closely with clients, including testing companies, to develop specialist NDT procedures for the inspection of both new and in-service components.
Managing Director Darren Kinsella says: “In addition to NDT application specific training and consultancy, the development of validated techniques is a vitally important part of our business, so the facility to hire this high specification equipment for short periods enables us to exploit the advantages of the latest technology without heavy capital expenditure.
“The technical support that Ashtead Technology provides is also extremely useful; helping us to choose the most appropriate instruments, probes and accessories for each job.”
As Ashtead Technology’s NDT Market Manager, Neil Harrap believes that a high level of technical support is a key component of the company’s NDT Centre of Excellence: “It is vitally important that we help clients to choose the most appropriate instruments for every application, so that their inspection work is as efficient and effective as possible.”
Conventional NDT methods such as radiography and ultrasonics occasionally fail to detect certain flaws with sufficient accuracy and reliability, therefore advanced NDT such as phased array is preferred. Validated techniques are essential under such circumstances, and an OmniScan® SX was recently hired from Ashtead Technology to help develop reference samples with a range of different defects. These samples are usually developed for a specific client, using the same material as that to be inspected and incorporating the same types of flaw that are likely to be detected.
Darren Kinsella says: “We develop specific procedures for our clients so that they can validate both their inspection equipment and the setup. This ensures reliability and repeatability in their test results.
“In order to achieve this, phased array ultrasonics enables us to ensure that the reference standards are highly accurate, so that our clients’ inspectors are able to estimate the size of flaws and the distance between the flaw and the transducer.”
The OmniScan® SX and OmniScan® MX2 are the latest in a line of ultrasonic flaw detectors that stretches back over 20 years. Both instruments offer high acquisition rates and new powerful software features for efficient manual and automated inspection performance, combined with a new streamlined software interface displayed on a large bright touchscreen (SX = 21.3cm; MX2 = 26.4cm).
The OmniScan® SX is designed for less demanding applications where cost and simplicity are a priority. Ideal for linear zero-degree inspection, such as corrosion mapping and composite inspection, the SX is also suitable for weld inspection using one phased array group or one TOFD channel. The many high-end features of the SX include two-axis encoding with data archiving capacity, and SX PA: 16:64 phased array configuration and one UT channel for P/E, P-C, or TOFD inspection.
Building on the global success of the MX, the next generation MX2 increases testing efficiency, ensuring superior manual and advanced AUT application performance with faster setups, test cycles, and reporting, in addition to universal compatibility with all phased array and ultrasound modules.
The MX2 unit is equipped with advanced features such as the ability to use PA and UT channels simultaneously. As a modular platform, the MX2 houses more than 10 different Olympus modules and Ashtead Technology’s engineers are able to advise on the best setup for every application.
The development of a comprehensive fleet of advanced NDT equipment was a significant investment for Ashtead Technology, but Neil Harrap says he is “delighted with the volume of new business that this has generated,” adding: “the NDT market is generally buoyant, but we are seeing growth in demand for phased array ultrasonics as clients take advantage of the improved inspection capability that this offers.
“These latest instruments are simpler and faster to operate, and with technical support to ensure that they are set up correctly, the number of our clients that are able to offer advanced NDT is growing rapidly.”
Press Release, October 30, 2013