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Real-Time TFM Speeds Analysis and Reduces Costs

benefits of real-time fmc

In industries such as oil and gas, major components like pipelines are laid in rough environments where high-temperature hydrogen attack (HTHA) or stress corrosion cracking can easily develop. These factors can occur often due to the corrosive environment but metallurgical properties within the material can also play a role, creating a weak link in the metal surface or weld surfaces. Inspecting such structures can require an advanced approach such as the total focusing method (TFM) that can perform in-situ analysis and effectively visualize and identify both major and minor flaws in real-time.

By leveraging advanced data processing technology—such as real-time TFM for non-destructive testing (NDT)—industries can reap the benefit of faster, more complete analysis and enhanced productivity. 

The Total Focusing Method Explained

TFM is a commonly used advanced focusing algorithm that utilizes the data captured from full matrix capture (FMC) to create images of an inspected area. This is done by recording the returned signals (A-scan) from multiple directions for every transmitter-receiver combination in the array. The advanced algorithm of TFM processes the raw A-scan signals to generate a frame of pixels. Each individual pixel is then processed using a different set of parameters (such as focal depth or angle) for any dedicated focal law. This resulting TFM frame can then either be stored for further future interpretation or in more advanced instrumentation can be conducted in real-time. The analysis is instrumental in characterizing flaws in a material.

TFM has been successfully utilized in the inspection of different geometries and materials for flaws. But a challenge with the inspection approach has been its inflexibility to perform the inspection and analyze the data on-site. However, new technologies have been developed in recent years with faster data capture and advanced computing capabilities. With the improved processing capabilities, it is now possible to perform analysis in real-time helping industries gain more immediate access to NDT results. For critical applications, real-time analysis assists in enhancing safer operations. 

The Advantages of Real-Time TFM

Immediate access to the inspection data provides many advantages. With real-time capabilities, it is possible to leverage the benefits of TFM for speedy and efficient decision-making to ensure quality and productivity. 

  1. Speed: Real-time TFM can offer fast acquisition and processing of the data. The ability to analyze and identify flaws in rough environments on-site or in controlled environments can dramatically reduce the time required for inspection, possibly with no additional external equipment. Without the need to go back to stored data for detecting analysis, operators can make decisions in less time, and effective remedial measures can be implemented immediately, minimizing the risk for sudden failure.   
  2. Quality: With TFM, operators can ensure that every minor, difficult-to-detect micro-crack and corrosion is easily detected in real-time with detailed high-resolution imaging and a good signal-to-noise ratio. This makes the interpretation of the data for identifying characteristics of flaws in the inspection area much easier. The capability to identify the type and size of flaws with higher sensitivity in real-time enables immediate preventive action, ensuring quality in service.
  3. Productivity: The immediate analysis provided by real-time TFM ensures that there is no unplanned downtime. Thus, industries can ensure that their productivity is maintained or further improved. 

TFM can be immensely cost-effective for industries as it can result in less time spent during analysis, quick resource allocation, less equipment needed, avoidance of downtime, and improvement in productivity.

Leveraging the Capabilities of TFM to Boost Productivity

The advanced data acquisition and high-resolution image processing with TFM are fostered by its increased processing abilities. The same capabilities have made it possible to analyze the high volume of data in real-time. The on the spot analysis supported by real-time TFM helps industries to speed up the inspection process without having to compromise quality and precision, thus boosting productivity.

Zetec is a global leader in nondestructive testing solutions for the critical inspection needs of industries the world counts on every day. Our NDT solutions with advanced TFM algorithms ensure that every minor flaw that can hinder your process is identified in real-time. To learn more, contact Zetec today!