As we have written on this blog before, the history of non destructive testing goes back quite some time. Civilizations such as the ancient Greeks and Chinese used relatively unsophisticated methods of testing the integrity of certain items without damaging them. But when did the relatively sophisticated equipment that we use today in the ultrasonic testing of aircraft first begin to develop? How far back can the NDT equipment that we use today trace its lineage? Let’s take a look at some early examples of the NDT equipment that has laid the foundation for the kinds of tools we use today.
X-Rays and the X-Ray Machine
X-rays is perhaps the earliest NDT tool to emerge in the industrial age. Indeed, X-ray equipment was first developed after World War II by Italian engineer Arturo Gilardoni and others. Around that same time, inventor Kurt Sauerwein developed portable isotope-containers. (Isotopes are radiating radioactive nuclides of chemical elements. They are used in many different fields, for example for radiotherapy in medical applications.)
Shortly after the X-ray machine was first developed the concept of penetrant testing began. This method was important as more and more the aircraft industry was using non-magnetic, light metals which could not be tested with magnetic particle crack detection.
Ultrasonic Testing Equipment
Although the principles behind ultrasonic testing are as old as the principles supporting the above equipment, ultrasonic testing equipment is relatively new. Eventually equipment such as eddy current testers, squirter systems, emersion tank systems, and bubbler systems would combine with advancements in computers and in software making ultrasonic testing far more precise than earlier systems and equipment.
Things to Consider When Selecting Non-Destructive Testing Equipment:
- The parameters – thickness, flaw detection, etc. – that are being tested
- The specialized training that particular equipment may require
- The accessories – such as transducers, calibration blocks, etc – that may be required for optimal efficiency.
- The professional standards that must be adhered to
Today, many companies actively use NDT to test aircraft components. And even though we are in strong competition with one another, we all work to the benefit of our customers as we endeavor to improve the quality of industrially produced parts. Our automated ultrasonic testing equipment makes the public safer and helps build consumer confidence in the aircraft industry as a whole.