What’s the Nondestructive Testing Forecast for 2019?
You may not have purchased or read some of the recent nondestructive testing forecasts, such as Nondestructive Testing (NDT) Market – Growth, Trends, And Forecast (2019 – 2024). But it’s worth spending time to summarize key findings from these valuable forecasts.
Oil and gas, manufacturing, power generation, and aerospace are the top industries for NDT, with some interesting dynamics influencing growth in each segment. Ultrasound (UT), radiographic (RT), and eddy current (EC) instruments are continually being enhanced via digital technology and analytic software. Consequently, UT, RT, and EC comprise the vast majority of the NDT market and show the greatest potential growth, and analyzing their future could help you make vital decisions now that will set your company on the path to success in the coming year.
Oil and Gas: New Reserves Require Additional Infrastructure
Discovery of new hydrocarbon reserves and buildout of oil and gas infrastructure in North America drive NDT demand. To accommodate the increased output, producers are adding pipeline and storage capacity. Technicians require the most efficient inspection and testing techniques to complete the expansion projects within the allotted time frame, with weld inspections being the most critical NDT applications.
Oil and gas producers have continuing requirements for regular inspections of existing infrastructure within the refineries as well as in the field. The detail and accuracy provided by phased array ultrasound is the preferred method for long seam weld inspections, corrosion detection, wall thickness measurements, and damage caused by high-temperature hydrogen attack (HTHA).
Takeaway: Oil and gas producers benefit from NDT technologies that are easily deployed regardless of location, reduce inspection time, and provide detailed records in support of compliance reporting.
Power Generation: Meeting the Demands of Growing Economies
Urbanization and industrialization are increasing demands for power, particularly in developing nations like Brazil, China, and India. Both public and private investments are meeting the demand by constructing new generating facilities, both fossil fuel and renewables. Efficient inspection of critical components like piping, stainless tubing, boilers, and turbines during fabrication or at installation time helps reduce construction costs and accelerate completion.
Similar to the oil and gas industry, power generation has numerous aging assets that require stringent inspection procedures and reporting per compliance regulations to ensure safe and efficient generation. Portability of UT and EC inspection instruments and the ability to quickly create and retain standard reports enables faster inspections and reduced downtime.
Takeaway: Power generation is finding innovative uses for NDT in the construction of new power generation plants as well as renewable power sources—wind, solar, and thermal, and welcomes every means to shorten asset inspection time.
Manufacturing: Automation Facilitates Faster Inspections
Manufacturing efficiency is being enhanced via the Internet of Things (IoT). The sensors, wireless communications, and edge computing capabilities reduce downtime and lower production costs. However, greater manufacturing efficiency demands greater testing and inspection efficiency and the need to integrate NDT technologies into an automated production process.
Improvements in NDT technologies and methods provide the required efficiency and accuracy in performing tests and inspections. Custom engineering and robotic applications of NDT inspections fully integrated into manufacturing processes are eliminating inefficient and inconsistent manual inspections.
Takeaway: Manufacturers favor NDT instruments readily adaptable to automated inspection processes. New opportunities for automated NDT inspection will drive growth in the manufacturing segment.
Aerospace: More Aircraft Requires More Inspections
Boeing and Airbus (and their thousands of suppliers) have years of backorders for next-generation single-aisle aircraft that use composites and other lightweight materials that make them capable of flying longer distances at lower costs. They are responding to demand with expanded assembly facilities and greater process efficiency. There’s also a burgeoning private aircraft market incorporating many of the latest composite technologies in their manufacturing processes.
The overall result? A greater need for faster, reliable inspection processes at major manufacturers, and a growing demand for NDT testing equipment with private manufacturers. Surface inspections, bolt hole quality, and delamination testing can be automated—set up through detailed reporting of results to support assembly process efficiency.
Takeaway: Complex composite materials and assembly techniques and the growing number of aircraft in operation drive increased aerospace adoption of more efficient, advanced NDT instruments and inspection methods.
Digital Technology Improves NDT Functionality and Usability
Improvements in UT and EC technologies also drive market growth. Smaller form factor, portability, performance, and intuitive user interfaces give these instruments measurable advantages—in both functionality and usability—over manual NDT methods and previous generations of devices. Plus, technical developments in the instruments allow for a wider range of probes and wedges, including probes that are more advanced than ever and designed for specific NDT applications.
Component miniaturization facilitates smaller or hand-held devices that have long-lasting batteries for extended use in remote or difficult-to-access locations. Analytics and 3D visualization instantaneously provide detailed evaluations of defects and volumetric flaws. NDT instruments facilitate automated inspections needed for manufacturing, oil and gas, and aerospace applications.
Together, these improvements reduce setup and inspection time, provide a greater probability of detection, and provide greater accuracy in identifying the location and nature of defects and flaws. These advantages make adoption of the latest UT and EC tools all the more compelling for organizations that want to improve the accuracy and efficiency of inspection processes while reducing overall testing or inspection costs.
Nondestructive Testing Forecast for 2019 in One Word: Opportunity
Global economic expansion coupled with recent technical improvements in NDT capabilities and new applications—particularly in the areas of automation—bode well for anyone associated with the NDT market. Growing demand in key market segments offers increased opportunity for NDT instrument manufacturers. Increased efficiency and accuracy of inspection processes gives industrial users numerous opportunities to reduce inspection costs while gaining greater confidence in inspections results. In short, the nondestructive testing forecast for 2019 is looking bright—as is the future of companies choosing to take advantage of NDT’s numerous benefits.
Zetec is a global leader in nondestructive testing (NDT) solutions for the critical inspection needs of industries. We are a single source for high-performance solutions in both eddy current and ultrasonic technologies that help clients ensure asset integrity and product quality. Contact us today to learn how Zetec delivers solutions that optimize productivity, safety, and total cost of ownership.