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GE’s Pipe Weld Inspection Solution Now Offers Greater Productivity and Scope

8 May 2012

Can Now Be Used for Wider Range of Codes

The latest version of the USM Vision innovative, ultrasonic (UT) weld inspection system, from the Inspection Technologies business of GE Measurement & Control, now features parallel scanning, linear scanning and the ability to incorporate phased array prpbes with up to 128 elements. As a result it now offers increased productivity and greater functionality and can be used on thicker pipes, while satisfying a wider range of inspection codes. This allows the benefits of the USM Vision technology to be realized beyond the fabrication yard in the oil and gas sector in the inspection of welded plate, as well as in boiler tube inspection in power generation.

Laurent Enenkel, product manager for USM Vision, explains, “We have listened very closely to our customers in developing this next stage of USM Vision. The system is already enjoying success in the field but users have asked if we could extend even further the system’s scope and functionality. This we have done in three distinct areas. First we have enabled parallel scanning which means that an operator can now scan both sides of the weld in one pass, effectively doubling productivity. We have also incorporated a 128 element phased array probe instead of a 64 element version which means we can now inspect pipe of greater wall thickness. Finally, the change of probe means that we can now carry out linear scans as well as phased array sectorial scans, as recommended in some codes, which do not specify Time of Flight Diffraction (TOFD) scanning.”

USM Vision 1.2 continues the philosophy of the original instrument and allows non-UT trained specialists to gather reliable and accurate pipe weld inspection data, for subsequent remote assessment by a suitably qualified ultrasonics expert. This permits ultrasonic inspection to be used in situations conventionally requiring radiography, removing constraints such as extended film processing times, radiation screening and waste chemicals disposal. As a result, it facilitates the migration of skills from radiography to UT, reducing the possibility of bottlenecks, providing significant increases in productivity and improving operational health and safety. It is a portable ultrasonic flaw detection system which combines software and hardware to allow code-compliant inspection, easily, reliably and speedily, by non-ultrasonics personnel such as radiography inspectors. It is not intended to replace radiography in every instance but it will offer users an opportunity to eliminate radiography constraints when required, as well as making best use of the expertise of the limited numbers of qualified ultrasonics inspection personnel. Its intuitive, 100% guided operation will also help to extend the skills base of lesser qualified ultrasonics personnel and radiography inspectors.”

The new inspection solution can operate in phased array and TOFD mode and is supplied with its operating software and GE’s Rhythm analysis software, as well as the probes and wedges to suit the selected codes and pipe ranges. Set-up is menu-directed allowing the operating software to calculate the ultrasonic parameters for each weld and pipe combination and create an easy-to-follow inspection plan. The operator can then scan the weld, with an encoded scanner, using TOFD or Phased Array in parallel or linear scanning mode. Inspection data is transmitted to a review station in the industry-accepted protocol, allowing advanced analysis tools, such as real time volume-corrected imaging, to allow easier and more reliable image interpretation. By using GE’s Rhythm software platform, inspection data can be reviewed and shared, reports generated and inspection results archived for tracking or further analysis.

More information about USM Vision ultrasonic weld inspection system -

More information about GE Measurement & Control weld inspection solutions -

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