The USM Vision portable ultrasonic welding inspection system in GE Measurement-Control's Inspection Technologies division presented impressive productivity benefits for Studio VM, the Italian technical services company. It also enabled Studio VM to deploy technicians who are not experts in Phased Array (PA - multi-elements) and Time of Flight Diffraction (TOFD) to meet the needs of a large customer who required a precise inspection using these advanced techniques.
Studio VM was founded in 1990 and currently offers a full portfolio of services using non-destructive testing technologies (NDTs), including Foucault currents, remote visual inspection and acoustic emission. Its ultrasound capabilities range from hardness measurement and simple defect detection to TOFD and PA. Its clientele includes large oil and gas companies as well as general engineering companies throughout Europe.
A recent project involved the inspection of welded pipes for a major pipe manufacturer. In order to meet the inspection codes, it was necessary to inspect the circumferential welds of the pipes manufactured by PA and TOFD. Studio VM already had an automatic inspection system for circumferential welds, but its use was problematic. The manufacturer also had an identical circular weld inspection system, but it was unsuitable for the task. As a result, Studio VM has decided to invest in a USM Vision system, which uses non-PA and FTD technicians to conduct the inspection, with the interpretation of the results by a single ultrasound expert.
This proved to be a success, as Giampaolo Bruschi, owner of Studio VM, explains: "After a short training for technicians provided by GE, we first used the USM Vision on the circular welds of the pipes 46 cm in diameter and 20 mm thick and our operators were quickly able to analyze 34 welds in a team work of 10 hours. Since then, we have been working on welds in 12 mm-thick pipes, and in 24 working days, one of our teams analyzed 585 joints, which required double TOFD analysis or double PA analysis when there was only one side access. More recently, we have been working on 8mm pipes being five times as fast as X-ray inspection. Our end customer was, of course, very pleased with the speed and quality of the inspections and, as a service company, I am very confident that our investment in GE's technology will continue to bear fruit. »
The USM Vision is a portable ultrasonic defect detection system that combines software and hardware to enable code-compliant, easy, reliable and fast inspection. It obviously does not replace X-rays in each case, but it does offer users the ability to eliminate X-ray stresses if necessary, and also allows them to better use the expertise of the limited number of qualified ultrasound inspectors available.
Find out more: www.ge.com