Storage tanks, vessels, pipe work and other safety critical components are designed to contain liquids, gases and solids such that a loss of product does not occur. Leaks or the mechanical structural failure of these items of equipment may result in a major accident on-site.
The presence of flaws, cracks and corrosion in critical components may result in the integrity of such systems being compromised and increase the likelihood of failure.
Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) provides solutions to obtain information about the current 'health' of a storage tank, vessel or pipe work, without causing damage. The techniques developed such as Magnetic Flux leakage and ultrasonic testing allow the integrity of tank, vessel and pipe walls to be assessed without damaging them ( such as in sectioning ), and provide a reliable and cost effective inspection programme.
If done well, NDT can provide critical information to assist in the management of plant safety. If NDT is not applied correctly, then the results are likely to give a false impression of the integrity and safety of the asset being inspected. By applying the latest developments in testing technology the risk of poorly applied techniques is reduced and the quality of inspections improved by application of data recording and enhanced visualisation of indications.
There are many national and international standards for conducting Non-Destructive Testing, and these should be reviewed before undertaking test programmes. By working within these standards and using the correct techniques safe and effective asset management can be achieved.