Metal Crack Testing: Best Methods for Detecting Surface-Breaking Cracks
To implement NDT methods successfully, your analysts must know the type of equipment that’s necessary for the job, including the strengths and weaknesses of the instruments. For instance, eddy current testing (ECT) detects surface and near-surface flaws, but analysts might need additional support to find prominent defects within a tested object. Ultimately, surface array ECT techniques work best for metal crack testing, heat damage testing, and thickness coating measurements, among many other nondestructive testing (NDT) strategies.
It’s important to invest in high-caliber surface-array technology that will fare well even in harsh testing environments. Eddy current testing provides highly accurate results, faster readings, and inspection cost reductions—and surface-array ECT, in particular, is one of the best testing options on the market due to its excellent data quality and speedier testing measures.
ECT Provides Reliable Data for Accurate Metal Crack Testing
When searching for the right ECT device, choose portable equipment that’s highly adaptable to large or small commodities. There are also ECT devices that connect to a variety of probes and scanners, sparing you from purchasing additional equipment in the future. Portable ECT is one of the most proficient testing mechanisms available and comes with the following benefits:
- Longer battery life
- Quicker readings
- Replaceable components
- Wider inspection radius
Surface array technology provides more accurate readings for metal crack testing than other, more conventional methods.
Example: A level 1 NDT analyst inspected a piece of welding material for pipes. But the level 2 analyst is not satisfied with the results due to the curvature of the object. An experienced inspector knows that an ECT probe tends to produce limited data on oddly-shaped items. Rather, the analyst retests using an eddy current testing instrument with attached surface array probes. The comfort of the handheld device allows the tester to cover more areas in a shorter time-frame. As expected, the data revealed several fractures that the previous scan never picked up.
Why did the second test produce different results? The flexibility of the array probe gave the level 2 operator enough flexibility to maneuver easily around the curvature, allowing the probe to find additional flaws.
But it wasn’t just the array technology that conducted most of the heavy lifting; a quality device can emit industry-leading signal qualities that improve flaw detection. Additionally, flexible probes can turn ECT devices into penetrating detection instruments that can probe below surfaces and beyond rust or paint barriers that usually hamper signals.
The Value of Portable Surface Array ECT Devices
Surface array ECT is as convenient as it is reliable. The simple interface and software of surface array equipment allow for easy and efficient setup. Surface-array sensors assist analysts in alignment issues while ensuring the instrument covers a particular area in a comprehensive manner. It also comes with the option of single or multiple driver pickups.
Surface-array ECT is also a viable alternative to magnetic particle testing (MT) and liquid penetrant testing (PT), as there is no need to apply liquids or strip paint away while testing. For PT, analysts must deal with several time-consuming steps before the testing can begin, including cleaning the surface before and after testing, administering and removing chemicals, and more.
Other alternative methods, such as MT, may be just as (or even more) time-consuming, as we see in the example below.
Example: An NDT level 2 inspector begins an MT test, but he needs a level 1 analyst to help him through the project. The test requires a nearby electrical supply, restricting the mobility of both parties. From there, they must remove thick paint or residue from the surface, meaning time will need to be spent cleaning the surface and surrounding area before and after testing. In addition, they will only be able to inspect one section at a time.
With surface array technology, however, the level 2 analyst would be able to complete the project on their own, without extra help—and without having to remove any paint.
Surface array technology allows analysts to bypass these extra steps because it does not require the use of penetrants or other chemicals. Surface array testing, meanwhile, can easily analyze rough or irregular surfaces to detect surface cracks and other flaws on everything from pipes to raised welds, friction stir welds, and pressure vessels.
An inspector of any level can use a surface array probe, regardless of the geometric shape or texture of the material being tested. More importantly, NDT surface array technology is a safe testing alternative that does not require the use of potentially hazardous chemicals.
Investing in Quality Metal Crack Testing Equipment
ECT has distinct advantages when it comes to metal crack testing. Surface array, in particular, retains a competitive advantage due to its ability to produce impeccable data and faster inspection times. Companies that invest in higher quality NDT instruments will achieve leaner maintenance budgets and asset durability, lowering operational expenses in the process.
ECT also pinpoints flaws during the early stages of decay, allowing operators to address the problem before it becomes a critical issue. Powerful, reliable NDT tools and techniques like ECT surface array testing can give you and your company the support you need to ensure the safety of consumers and staff members alike.
Zetec offers top-quality software and instruments that support flexible NDT probing techniques and provide meticulous data ideal for metal crack testing. To learn more about the latest ECT products and innovations, contact Zetec today.
Zetec’s designers are industry-leading experts in ultrasonic and eddy current technologies, and we can help you navigate any of our NDT testing solutions or devices.