QMT Features: September 2015
Refining NDT with 3D scanning
A French specialist in NDT for the petroleum industry has found that 3D scanning is a more flexible alternative to conventional NDT

DEKRA Industrial is one of the leaders in the prevention of industrial and occupational hazards in France and Europe. Its expertise in identifying and assessing hazards is instrumental in risk prevention for a variety of companies.

Material inspection, which mostly takes place in the French region of Lyon, encompasses a wide range of conventional and non-conventional NDT services and tools. These include conventional and phased array ultrasonic testing, time-of-flight diffraction (TOFD), eddy current, robotics, electromagnetic acoustic transducer (EMAT), conventional and digital X-ray inspection, 3D laser measurements, alternating current field measurement (ACFM), thermography, Lixi Profiling, guided waves, AcousticEye and surface inspection.

Corrosion control on a column skirt
Since Autumn 2014, DEKRA Industrial has been using Creaform’s HandySCAN 3D scanner and VXelements data acquisition software in conjunction with the Pipecheck, software platform to assess corrosion and mechanical damage in pipelines, refinery columns, and storage tanks.
“We made the decision to invest in Creaform’s 3D scanner and software as the solutions would allow us to perform all applications and tasks usually required in typical NDT environments with the flexibility that we needed. It is the best tool to effectively control pipelines, skirts or columns—even when access is difficult and no power supply is within reach,” explained Nicolas Cricoveanu, Head of Advanced NDT at DEKRA Industrial.

One of DEKRA Industrial’s recent NDT applications was to control the external corrosion of a column skirt in a refinery. The skirt had a diameter of 3 m and the surface to inspect started at a height of 0.6 meters and ended at 2 m, with a nominal thickness of 10 mm. The skirt interior was covered with a concrete layer that prevented access to the opposite surface. The surface itself was complex and included many support plates, cavities, manholes, insulation supports (about 50 on the control area), guards and mounting bolts. The objective was to inspect 100% of the accessible surface.

As the state of deterioration of the external surface was too advanced to use a conventional ultrasonic control or a manual pit gauge, the HandySCAN 3D and Pipecheck software allowed operators to scan the surface in 3D to assess the extend of  damage around the skirt’s circumference. Later, the results were presented in an official inspection report generated in Pipecheck.

Before making the switch to Creaform’s inspection system, DEKRA Industrial used a manual pit gauge and ultrasonic controls to inspect surfaces when their opposite surfaces were accessible and in good condition. However, in this case, the state of the surface would not have allowed for manual inspection according to the tests carried out before DEKRA Industrial’s intervention. The method used with Creaform’s solution provided relevant results – and at the same time reduced inspection times. Had DEKRA Industrial used manual pit gauges, it would have required a minimum of 3 to 4 hours without providing guaranteed results.

Nicolas Cricoveanu says: “The external damage assessment provided reliable high-quality results. We can now perform controls more quickly and accurately than with manual tools. As such, both the service provider and the client benefit from productivity gains since it greatly reduces downtimes due to control operations.”
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