Non-destructive testing seeks safety and speed
If we are to be confident that the industrial systems that we rely on are safe, systems like buried pipelines, railway lines, storage tanks, bridges and oil platforms, we have to be able to inspect them regularly.
In the past, inspection has required components to be dismantled and taken to a laboratory for testing. Railways have had to be closed, pipes dug up and bridges taken out of service, just to be sure they are still safe.
But a team at Brunel led by Professor Wamadeva Balachandran has been working on techniques for long-range, non-destructive testing using ultrasonic guided waves. The aim has been to develop a testing device capable of checking components in-situ, without disrupting the service they provide.
Working with Plant Integrity Ltd, the commercial arm of structural integrity specialists The Welding Institute, Professor Balachandran has refined his experimental work and incorporated it into the Teletest Focus System Mark IV. This is the latest in Plant Integrity’s Teletest series.
It uses improved ultrasonic transducer design, new signal processing techniques, new monitoring methods and major improvements to the electronic hardware to create a testing and inspection tool that is faster, smaller, lighter and more accurate than its predecessor.
On sale at £80,000 per unit, sales are running at around 20 units per year, mainly to the oil and gas industry. Teletest Mark IV has a 10% share of the UK market, and a 90% share of the export market for this kind of equipment.