Thursday, February 12, 2015

Clean bill of health for steel vessel after Eddy Current Tests

James Fisher NDT  was called in by a chemical manufacturer in the North West of England, when it became necessary to inspect a large stainless steel vessel. The contents of the vessel were typically saline and varied between 50 and 100 Deg C, so the site managers were concerned that stress corrosion cracking might be a possibility in the vessel material.

Conveniently, JF NDT’s Mohan Kang (level 3 NDT practitioner) had recently attended an Ashtead Technology training event which featured the Eddyfi Ectane Surface Inspection System, and Mohan believed that Eddy Current Testing with the Ectane would be ideal for this application, so an Ectane was taken to the customer’s site to provide a demonstration.

In order to test the Ectane’s ability to detect stress corrosion cracking in 10mm stainless steel, the client provided a test sample for inspection, and a flaw was correctly identified. As a result, JF NDT was awarded a contract to inspect the vessel and an Ectane was hired from Ashtead specifically for this purpose.

The Ectane is a multi-technology test instrument, and in addition to Eddy Current Testing, it is also able to perform Eddy current array (ECA), Remote-field testing (RFT), Near-field testing (NFT), Magnetic flux leakage (MFL) and Internal rotating inspection system (IRIS) ultrasonic tube testing.

Commenting on the vessel inspection project, JF NDT’s Ian Moore says: “The external inspection of the vessel took around 2 hours and covered a surface area of around 16m2. Happily, the vessel was found to be free from any detectable stress corrosion cracking and the client was of course delighted.

“We have been very pleased with the Ectane; eddy current testing worked very well and at just 7Kg and battery powered, the instrument has been well designed for field applications. Our engineers wore rubber boots, gloves and goggles, but the Ectane was still simple to operate, partly because it can be run independently of a computer. Once the work was complete, the instrument was connected to an office PC and ‘Magnifi’ software, that is supplied with the instrument, provided a quick and easy method for analysing the data and helping to produce reports.

“In the past, following a project such as this, we would have purchased the instrument. However, it is much easier to rent the equipment from Ashtead Technology, and doing so provides substantial cost savings that we are able to pass on to the client, so instrument rental is now our preferred option.

“As a result of the successful vessel inspection, we are confident that we will receive more work from this client and from others in similar industries.”

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