Inspectioneering Journal

NDT Services - Are You Getting What You Really Need?

By Paul Marks at NDT Training and Placement Center. This article appears in the March/April 2000 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.
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Do You Know All You Need To Know About The People Who Perform Your NDT?

Could the following scenario be played out in your plant, on your equipment, on your watch?

The year is 1968. The time is 3 PM on Friday. Two fairly young men are traveling east-bound on I-10 from Houston, Texas to “Off-Shore”, Louisiana. The new recruit is traveling to his first job site with his boss. The trip will take about 8 hours, six by car and two by boat.

The new hire’s supervisor / trainer, hands him a thin booklet that provides a brief description of the nondestructive testing method known as ultrasonics. The last few pages of the book contain glossary terms relating to the test method. The supervisor tells the trainee that he should study the material, especially the glossary terms, while they make the trip to “Off-Shore”.

The trainee is especially excited about this because it was after all, the challenge of a more technically oriented job and career that prompted his change from a career in sales to this new job in a totally foreign (at least to him) field called NDT. Four hours into the trip, the booklet has been read, questions have been asked, and answers have been provided. A verbal quiz begins, and it seems that the supervisor - trainer is pleased that the material contained in the booklet has been duly comprehended and committed to memory.

Now it is 11 AM on Saturday. The scene has changed from car to an offshore vessel the size of a football field. This vessel type is known throughout the Gulf Coast offshore construction industry as a derrick barge. The supervisor and the trainee, along with their ultrasonic equipment have been taken to a construction site (25 miles offshore) by crew boat. By now, the ultrasonic unit has been calibrated, (supervisor performs calibration, trainee watches and listens intently) and the supervisor is placing additional strong emphasis, while the trainee is wondering why, on the glossary terms which were studied the day before.

These two men, who are employees of a reputable NDT service company, have been called to this construction site by the major oil company owner of what will ultimately become an offshore drilling and production platform. They have been brought to the site to perform Ultrasonic Shear Wave Inspection of the circumferential welds that are being made to connect sections of 48” diameter pipe. These pipe, called piling, form an integral element of the construction of offshore platforms.

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