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UT Weld Inspection: A Welding NDT Solution for Industry

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Welds are utilized in almost every industry from manufacturing to power generation to oil and gas. When disparate components are welded together, there’s a chance that the connections can come apart due to the presence of tiny fractures or flaws.  

While nondestructive testing (NDT) is relied upon to detect potential weld flaws, the inspection process presents many challenges. Long welds, welds in harsh conditions, or welds on irregular-shaped and sized materials require specialized equipment to ensure testing is comprehensive, accurate, and time-efficient. And, having a consistent and reliable NDT solution for a particular weld inspection allows technicians to determine the structural integrity and safety of the weld component without compromising productivity and quality standards.   

Although eddy current and radiography testing have been used in the inspection of weld, ultrasonic weld testing (UT) has been one of the most effective and prominent choices within many industries. Here, we discuss the various applications for UT weld inspection, as well as the solutions provided by Zetec. 

The Shift to Ultrasonic (UT) Weld Inspection 

Though commonly used in the past for weld inspection, radiography is decreasing as an acceptable NDT method due mainly to its inherent hazards. Radiography exposes technicians to heavy doses of radiation, especially during longer testing intervals, and many technicians are required to have specialized skills in order to conduct radiographic testing. 

As regulations have become more strict in various industries, standards and codes have changed to make room for safer, less disruptive NDT weld inspection—such as ultrasonic testing, and more specifically, phased array ultrasonic testing (PAUT). 

Read more about the best approach to nondestructive testing of steel structures.  

Common UT Weld Inspection Applications

Austenitic stainless steel is used in industries for its superior mechanical properties. Exposure to extreme conditions can, however, lead to flaws. In lieu of radiographic testing (RT), UT weld inspection is a reliable solution for detecting cracks and other discontinuities in stainless steel.

Read more about stainless steel weld inspection.

Above ground storage tanks are manufactured with welded plates and while radiography has been used for the inspection of the butt welded joints, radiation exposure risks and operational shutdowns exist with this approach. With NDT for weld inspection of storage tanks, technicians face the challenge of complex geometry. If the proper NDT solution isn’t leveraged, there’s a risk of incomplete coverage. UT weld inspection with integrated TOFD provides a fast and flexible solution for complete inspection of the storage tank.

Read more about pre-service storage tank weld inspection.   

Weld inspection of boiler tube requires careful analysis of weld structure, outage time, and resources. Although RT is used, it does not provide complete flaw detection and feedback ability. PAUT weld inspection with TOFD provides a volumetric testing solution along varying diameters to ensure high-quality weld standards.

Read more about boiler tube weld inspection.

Corrosion-resistant alloys (CRA) are often utilized by industries for applications where corrosion can be a major problem. The incompatibility in welding and handling of the CRA material can give rise to flaws that can affect the serviceability of the metal. Ultrasonic NDT can provide a volumetric inspection to such material units to ensure the safety and integrity of the weld.

Read more about CRA weld overlay inspection.

Foreign particles present in the weld due to contamination or chemical reaction can cause the high-specification weld to have a severe lack of quality. Phased array ultrasonic inspection has been trusted as an ideal inspection method to identifying the underlying flaws in the weld with high specification requirements.

Read more about detecting non-metallic inclusions in high specification weld with UT inspection.

Solutions for UT Weld Inspection

Large-scale, multi-pass welding operations bring greater complexity to the welding process. The welds are generally exposed to extreme operating environments and have complex geometries. Zetec’s NDT WELD Crawler provides an ideal ultrasonic scanning inspection solution to identify discontinuities within a component to reduce failure during operations. Thus, saving time and ensuring the quality of the weld.

Read more about how a weld inspection NDT crawler improves inspection time and quality

In industries that require safety and quality as their primary standard, leveraging UT weld inspection solutions provides reliability, accuracy, and precision in weld integrity analysis.

Zetec has been a leading provider of ultrasonic weld inspection instruments, probes, and scanners for several decades. To learn more about our UT weld inspection solution, contact us today.