Advanced NDT

Bilfinger Salamis UK's inspection department has established itself at the forefront of NDT through investment in specialised equipment and the provision of specific training programmes. We recognise the importance of continual innovation and focus on exceeding client and market expectations through investment in our people, and in research and development.

We offer a comprehensive range of advanced NDT systems that individually, or in partnership, provide effective and robust solutions to satisfy the demand for non-intrusive inspection.

  Digital Radiography

When inspecting corroded sections of pipework, it is vital to ascertain the maximum wall loss. With digital radiography, the image can be instantly viewed and interpreted and the exposure position adjusted in 5º increments until the maximum loss is determined. 

Due to the instant images achievable with digital radiography, screening for corrosion under insulation has now become a effective method of inspection. Bilfinger is UKAS – ISO/IEC 17020:2012 accredited for the application of PEC, and has over 8 years’ experience across a range of applications worldwide.

Bilfinger uses Eddyfi Pulsed Eddy technology - read more here.

  • Exposure times are typically 5% of conventional film exposure times
  • Instant image review – no processing necessary
  • Images can be shared and transferred electronically
  • No requirement for darkroom and chemicals
  • Increased clarity and definition greatly assists the interpretation and measurements in the area of interest 

  Non-Intrusive Inspection

As part of any inspection plan, pressure vessels are required to undergo periodic, statutory inspection to ensure continued safe and reliable operation. Traditionally this has been achieved by means of an internal visual inspection (IVI), however, recent developments in NDT technology has allowed for reliable non-intrusive inspection (NII) techniques to be performed that can then reduce the high costs associated with shutting down a vessel and performing an IVI inspection.

  • Removal of the associated  hazards of man entry of vessels
  • Reduction in the man power requirements for a vessel inspection
  • No requirement to clean the internal surfaces of the vessel
  • No production losses associated with vessel shut-down
  • No issues with reinstating a vessel after a shutdown 

Commonly Applied NII Techniques

  • Time of flight Diffraction (TOFD)
  • Phased Array Corrosion mapping
  • 0 Degree Auto UT
  • Chime®/M-skip®

  Time of Flight Diffraction (ToFD) - Weld Corrosion

The TOFD technique is now recognised across the industry as the most reliable technique for not only detecting weld corrosion (98% probability of detection) but also capable of providing the most accurate and repeatable sizing capabilities.  

  • Rapid; once configured, a single pass scan can be performed at up to 50mm/sec
  • Repeatable; a stable scanner set-up and water coupling offers a high degree of reliability and repeatability.
  • Sensitive; High probability of detection and sizing accuracy of remaining wall thickness due to high performance UT equipment in a unique configuration.
  • Proven; Recent industry trials through HOIS have proven TOFD to be the most effective technique for locating and sizing weld root erosion/corrosion
  • Industry best practice with a 98% probability of detection

   Phased Array Ultrasonics - Flange Face Corrosion

Utilising advanced phased array ultrasonics provides a fast and effective method for identify flange face corrosion. 

Recent joint industry partnerships trials through ESR HOIS has concluded that this technique applied correctly can give a 88% probability of detection on raised face flanges

  • In-service inspection - No need to shutdown systems
  • More efficient pre-shutdown planning for areas of known corrosion
  • Limit unexpected loss of containment
  • Vast cost savings over conventional visual inspection approach
  • Less man power required than conventional visual inspection

   Phased Array - Corrosion Mapping

The term ‘mapping’ is a reference to the positional encoders which are used to correlate the ultrasonic thickness measurement from a 0° probe with the actual position of the measurement point on the test item. Being able to record ultrasonic data in this way allows for far greater probability of detection, greater pattern recognition, greater sizing accuracy and far superior defect positional information when compared with manual ultrasonic techniques.

  • Limits the use of radiography resulting in reduced safety risks
  • Permanent record by means of digital data, proving coverage for future reference
  • Improved inspection sensitivity due to phased array ultrasound technology
  • Encoded data for improved inspection accuracy due to precision measurements with advanced off-line analysis, allowing for greater flaw characterisation
  • Presentation of the results in C-Scan image format for quick and simple interpretation of low thickness/corroded areas
  • Tailored inspections to provide fast, continuous ultrasonic corrosion mapping of a sector of the pipe circumference
  • Up to 120° coverage of the pipe in a single scan
  • Immersion quality ultrasonics provide excellent near surface resolution and excellent surface conformance for easy discrimination between wall loss/corrosion and/or poor surface condition

   Phased Array - Small Bore Weld Inspection and Weld Inspection

Current conventional techniques such as visual inspection and/or hammer-testing will not discover hidden problems such as cracking, uniform corrosion or crevice corrosion.

Utilising advanced phased array technology can determine the extent of corrosion or diameter loss and identify cracking without the removal of bolts, thus eliminating equipment downtime by performing inspections on site while in-service.

Phased array ultrasonics can replace the need for on-site radiography, reducing the safety risk of performing the inspection, and increasing the work scope efficiency.  

  • In-service inspection - No need to shutdown systems
  • More efficient pre-shutdown planning for areas of known corrosion
  • Limit unexpected loss of containment
  • Provide a more comprehensive inspection to comply with safety regulations

   Robotic Crawlers

Bilfinger are able to offer a wide range of robotic/automated inspection systems. All of our crawlers are designed specifically to work in hazardous environments including subsea, vessels and hot pipework. This allows operators to concentrate purely on the inspection data with no risk to personnel. 

  • Automated UT Remote motion scanner (RMS)
  • AC -100 – Underwater Inspection System (Mini-ROV)
  • The Versatrax MicroClimber™
  • The Versatrax 450™
  • G.E Inspection Robotics ‘BIKE Platform’
  • G.E Inspection Robotics ‘FAST Platform’

These systems include multiple cameras for visual inspections, but can be easily adapted to support multiple NDT technologies.

   UAV Drones


Advanced NDT Validations

We are continuously developing and evaluating new tools and technology. By focusing on the practical applications of new technology we are better able to qualify the real, tangible benefits of new developments and to deliver best-fit solutions.

Bilfinger Salamis UK are participating members of the Harwell Offshore Inspection Research and Development Service (HOIS), which is a joint industry initiative involved in developing and improving products, techniques, and procedures. The HOIS programme includes projects within a number of broad theme areas. These include non-intrusive inspection (NII), inspection of inaccessible components, performance evaluation and probability of detection (POD) assessment and modelling. 

This is achieved by:

  • Developing improved procedures and recommended practices
  • Performing independent evaluation trials to assess techniques and understand benefits and limitations
  • Collaborative development of inspection techniques and inspection technology
  • Provision of an internet-accessible source of information on inspection techniques, both advanced and conventional.

By working in close partnership with the leading NDT solutions manufacturers, advanced NDT providers and taking an active lead in collaborative research through trade organisations such as HOIS, we can ensure we never compromise on our commitment to provide best-fit solutions, thereby reducing uncertainty, improving confidence and ultimately extending asset life and reducing costs.

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