I had a chance to speak with Tony Richardson, Founder, InspecTech, at the AMM 11th Steel Tube and Pipe Conference held March 14 and 15, 2018, at the Double Tree Downtown, Houston, Texas. InspecTech does non-destructive testing on metal tubular products. I asked Tony some questions about InspecTech and its products and services.
What are the typical applications of your tested pipe; for instance, drilling pipe, plant process pipe, transmission pipe, gas processing pipe?
All of the above. Drill string failures are very costly indeed. Pipeline failures have life-threatening consequences. Many of our customers provide tubular goods to the structural and automotive industries where integrity is also vital. In general, any product whose failure might damage life or limb or even the pocket book merits some measure of non-destructive testing.
What exactly is being tested, for instance, weld strength, tube thickness, etc?
In the case of welded tube the objective is to locate flaws, either in the original material or induced by the welding process. Cracks, porosity, lack of fusion and other defects can make a welded tube incapable of withstanding the pressure or other stresses that it is expected to encounter in service.
How does your product help keep your customers within the standards of API and ISO?
Standards bodies specify the size and nature of certain artificial “defects” machined into a sample of the tube. Our test systems are required to demonstrate that they can detect and respond to these test defects at production speeds. Because the artificial defects are known and repeatable, there is some assurance of uniformity in test procedure regardless of where the testing is done and by whom.
How is sonic testing better than the traditional x-ray testing?
Not better just different. x-ray testing requires a human operator to interpret results and is too slow for most production environments. X-ray has never been the traditional method for small tubulars but it is used on some “big-inch” pipe where production rates are much slower.
What is the difference between destructive and non-destructive testing?
If you built a bridge, you could load weights on it until it collapsed into the river; at which point you could say whether or not you had a good bridge (before you destroyed it). Non-destructive testing, on the other hand, attempts to determine whether an entity is fit for service without damaging it in the process.