No manufacturing process can be carried out without rigorously testing each and every component. NDT or non-destructive testing is one of the most preferred ways of testing any material. This is because, as the name suggests, the test does not destruct the material to be tested. Most other such tests work by pushing the material to its limits, often stopping when cracks appear. There are many methods under NDT, such as visual testing, liquid penetrant, magnetic-particle, ultrasonic, and radiographic.
Correspondingly, there are also different kinds of Non-destructive testing equipment, such as borescopes, camera, X-rays, ultrasonic machines, Eddy current probes, hardness testers and leak testers. It has wide applications in many industries and academic fields where we study the property of matters, like engineering and forensics. In manufacturing, it is used extensively as a means of detecting flaws and to ensure quality. But why is this method preferred over others?
Ensuring safety of testers: Rarely is any test as hamlets to the tester as NDT testing. Radioactive tests are an obvious exception. We are usually carrying out the test using external equipment. The means used here are visual, sound or radioactive patterns. There is no danger to the martial itself and hence no falling shards and debris can hit us. The safety factor is also extended to the material tested which should be handled carefully.
Finding flaws: Many NDT tests are focused on finding the point of flaw or dissonance. A number of tests will only check the overall stability or integrity if the product, not the actual details. Here we have an option to pinpoint with accuracy the actual point where the flaw occurs. Methods such as radiographic inspection or Liquid Penetrant Inspection will show a tester the exact point of the damage. This helps us to take corrective measures quickly and economically.
No damage: This is, of course, the biggest USP of the method. Here we have no damage to the actual product. This means that we can out tests at any point without any fear of the test making any impact on a perfectly good product. It can be used without any fear. For a manufacturer this has many advantages. It is equally important in forensics. As pointed out earlier, most other such tests will push the product to its limits. The tests often stop only when cracks appear, making it useless.
Ideal for QA: Quality analysis on a batch of products in usually carried out at the end of the production line. It means the product is ready to be rolled out. We need a testing technique that will not harm the product, since that would incur heavy losses and will ultimately be pointless. NDT testing equipment is often used at this point because it leaves our product line intact.
Studying property of rare materials: It is not manufacturing alone where it is used. These tests are also used extensively in academics, particularly when studying rare or scarcely available materials. Because there is no danger of any permanent damage, we can find out all about the sample without cutting it open or smashing it into smaller pieces. We can leave the sample intact and still glean a mountain of information. The preservation of the original sample is a huge positive here.
Reliability: There are a number of NDT methodologies and any material can be subjected to more than one NDT testing equipment. This means that we can get data from two unrelated tests, increasing the reliability of the result. A barrage of tests can be carried out to give us the most comprehensive picture possible.
Wide spectrum: NDT has a really wide spectrum that includes visual inspections to radiography. This means that we can find a suitable test no matter what the sample. For instance, ferrous particles will work best with Magnetic Particle Inspection. Metals will also do well with Liquid Penetrant Inspection.
Getting the whole picture: Certain methods like Radiographic Inspection and Ultrasonic Inspection can give us a surprisingly accurate picture of the internal geography of a product, much like a human X-ray. The benefits are also similar. We can see the flaws in detail and carry out pinpoint repairs. It also gives us a blueprint of the product for reference.
Affordability: NDT testing equipment are available at all kind of budgets, from cheap cameras to more sophisticated ultrasonic machines.