Why NDT Equipment Maintenance Matters
Corrosion. Cracks. Tiny air bubbles that break apart seams. Asset owners know that there is always the potential for breakdowns in operations, which is why nondestructive testing (NDT) is so crucial. But that means that the NDT equipment also has to avoid breakdowns.
Hard use, hard conditions, and time can come together to wear down NDT equipment. But investing in high-quality equipment can increase the likelihood that equipment will last a long time and maintain high levels of performance with the right care. NDT equipment maintenance can keep production and performance working smoothly, without disruption for larger cost savings in the long run.
The Benefits of NDT Equipment Maintenance
When a regular maintenance regime is observed, there are two primary benefits:
Consistent Equipment Uptime
Uptime is crucial in any industry. Organizations know that if assets stop working or liquids stop flowing, operations can stop running and money is lost. Reputations are lost. The safety of workers, passengers, customers and anyone relying on the critical asset is also on the line.
That’s why NDT testing is critical. And that’s why the NDT testing equipment needs consistent uptime. Any downtime could mean potential disaster.
Example: An oil pipeline runs across hundreds of miles of open land, subject to intense pressures, and can’t be disrupted. Corrosion inspection techniques need to be able to be up and running as scheduled the moment they are needed. Field managers can’t afford downtime when they are in a remote area. Properly maintained equipment ensures that when performance is needed, it is available.
Any NDT equipment needs to consistently operate at peak performance. These are finely calibrated devices, capturing flaws that can be microscopic in size…and enormous in potential impact. The equipment needs to be running smoothly to capture everything.
Example: Ultrasonic testing of forging equipment is an enormous job that uses multiple microscopic measurements. These can include multiple wave beam angles combined with linear scanning to create a full picture. All of these components need to be working at peak performance. If not, cracks, flaws, internal corrosion, and other potentially damaging problems could be missed.
The Key Components of NDT Equipment Maintenance
Many factors go into complete NDT equipment care plans, but there are a few foundational elements that build a solid maintenance routine:
- Calibration. The essential parameters of NDT equipment are the basis of performance. Keeping these calibrated ensures precise measurements and flawless imaging. Calibration is the heart of quality assurance. Many equipment manufacturers offer calibration services with factory trained technicians to ensure that every instrument calibration follows strict procedures. Once the calibration is completed, instruments are returned with a Certificate of Calibration for proof of traceability to international standards.
- Firmware Updates. Regular firmware and security updates can add valuable features, keeping equipment running efficiently and up to date. With the right equipment manufacturer, this is included in an advanced maintenance care plan.
- Preventative Maintenance. Most times, you can’t afford to have inspection delays or stoppages. Preventative maintenance offered in a care plan means not waiting until something goes wrong. It can ensure that your inspection products are continually achieving maximum uptime and peak performance levels.
Of course, these are not the limits to an NDT equipment maintenance regimen. There are manufacturers who value on-site inspection and repair to speed up the maintenance process.
The Importance of Warranties
If nothing ever went wrong, there would be no need for equipment maintenance. But that’s not the case, and through hard use, equipment can break. That’s why most organizations understand the importance of extended warranties and care plans for their equipment.
It’s also imperative to ensure continuity of service. Being able to access loaner equipment can be vital to continue manufacturing and operation without fear of missing any dangerous or costly flaws.
Stay Confident. Keep Testing.
The operation of critical assets requires consistent testing. Upgrading NDT equipment is more than a matter of grabbing something off a shelf. It’s an investment with a high short-and-long-term ROI. That already rewarding ROI can be improved with regular NDT equipment maintenance.
Flaws happen. But the best NDT equipment can catch those, allowing an operation to be consistently confident in all inspections. NDT equipment maintenance helps to maintain excellence and safety.