This fascinating article, submitted by Pat Garland, is a trip down memory lane…
The British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing (BINDT) is strong and vibrant, and SAINT caught up with Deputy CEO David Gilbert at the recent African NDT mini-conference in Middleburg…
How did you get into NDT?
Most of us end up in NDT “by accident”. My background is electrical engineering, and of course I’m a little bit different because I’m not a practitioner of NDT. My background is technical publishing; I’m a qualified Electrical Engineer who moved into technical writing and then publishing, some of which was carried out in South Africa.
What are some the trends you see in UK NDT?
On the technical side, the technology has evolved significantly, primarily linked with the huge advances in computer power. NDT covers a very large spectrum of technologies and a huge range of applications. But there are some traditional techniques that are still very popular, like Magnetic Particle Inspection, Dye Penetrant Inspection, and Visual Testing itself, the oldest of all techniques.
What is your view of NDT?
It’s like being a doctor; the only difference is your patient can’t talk to you, so it makes it more difficult to know (a) if there is a problem and (b) what it might be!
What similarities have you picked up between the South African NDT industry and the UK?
There are many similarities and common challenges.
With all the advances in technologies, the people who operate NDT equipment need more and better training, continually. We call that Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and it’s very important. People need to get properly trained and certified, which means you need a good system for training, certification and qualification. And they need the tools to be able to maintain and further their knowledge. This is why many of us – and SAINT – regard our website as a tool for the future of the industry, and as a resource for people to use in their career development.
How many members does BINDT have?
We have about 2000 individual members, and about 200 corporate members. About 80% are in the UK and Europe, the rest are scattered around the world.
Tell us about public awareness of NDT in the UK
It’s a difficult subject to explain to people; we make it difficult for ourselves by saying what we don’t do. We don’t destroy things. We should be talking about the positive aspects of what we’re doing; we save lives (for example some say ‘we keep aeroplanes in the air’), we save money for industries by minimising down-time and preventing accidents. Often the only way to explain the benefits of carrying out Non-Destructive Testing is to refer to accidents that have happened. I’d like to turn this around and stress the positives.
What do your members expect from BINDT?
Similar to SAINT members, they’re looking for knowledge, information and networking opportunities. We also organise conferences and events on the subjects of NDT and Condition Monitoring.
One major development is the recent UK government approval for a series of new apprenticeship standards for NDT. As part of BINDT’s strategic plan, NDT Apprenticeships will help to address the ageing profile of NDT technicians, they will encourage employers to take on new staff at reduced training costs and enable school leavers to embark on a worthwhile career in NDT. The resulting Apprentices will be fully-rounded NDT Engineering Technicians who have the skills to carry out appropriate NDT tasks within their industrial sector and in whom the employer can have considerable confidence.
Does the UK system mean if you don’t have your CPD points and you’re not up to date, you can’t practise?
No, it’s not mandatory yet, not for BINDT anyway. There is however a possibility that it could be mandatory in the future. But there is a lot of encouragement; we have an organisation called The Engineering Council which monitors this. Another thing is engineering registration. Through BINDT, members can be registered and that means they can become an Engineering Technician, an Incorporated Engineer or a Chartered Engineer – we are nominated to control the application process for NDT.
Your hope for the future?
I would like to see the general profile and public awareness of NDT increased so that there is more recognition for what we do. I believe NDT societies all over the world can work together to address this common challenge. This would also help to attract more young people into the profession. As I said at the beginning, most of us fell into NDT by accident. Most students, when considering career options, are completely unaware that NDT is a very exciting and rewarding career field. We need to change that.
In June 2016 there will be a world NDT conference in Germany with about 2000 delegates from 60 countries. There will be some 500 papers presented in nine parallel sessions over a whole week, and the event will revolve around a huge trade exhibition which is already sold out. We’re looking forward to this. More information is available at http://www.wcndt2016.com/
A must-visit NDT website that you recommend?
Naturally this has to be www.bindt.org, but for a great introduction to NDT and the techniques involved I do like www.nde-ed.org.
If you weren’t able to attend the Official SAINT Yearbook Launch, don’t despair! You can still read what our honorable President had to say on the day.
Good day honoured guests,
After watching that short video, it is hoped that Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) was not responsible for the explosion and ensuing fire.
Welcome to the first ever and definitely not the last, formal launch of the bi-annual SAINT Yearbook.
For those who do not know, SAINT is the South African Institute for Non-Destructive Testing and also the National NDT Society registered with the International Committee for NDT also referred to as the ICNDT. SAINT was established on 24 September 1968 as the SA Society of Non-Destructive Testing which, was later renamed to Institute.
Our vision is to be the Cornerstone of South African NDT which is also the title of the 2016 / 2017 yearbook.
At such an auspicious occasion with prominent guests in attendance it is easy to follow the usual tendency by referring to the historical highs and lows, the important figures and the importance of SAINT in industry and what it can do for you.
Since this has all been included in our yearbook, I no longer feel obliged to follow the normal trend and would rather be inspired by the here and the now. Our venue being here at the Knowledge Commons – in the Newtonian meeting room and the fact that NDT is an applied science, creates a well-defined structure within which my message can be conveyed.
Newton’s First Law of Motion states that every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it. SAINT’s objectives were clear since its inception in 1968, to become the go-to entity of NDT in South Africa, the back bone to industry, the cornerstone of Non-destructive testing. A forward motion was thus initiated which carried on for 4 decades, ebbing between successes and disappointments. Inherent to the Newton’s first law is the concept of inertia, i.e. a moving object shall remain on its path of motion unless an external force was introduced. SAINT realised that the path chosen would not be sustainable and the concept of inertia would ultimately result in an inert entity.
It was not until the 18th World Conference in NDT held in Durban that a significant force could be introduced to change the path and needless to say, the velocity of the motion. SAINT held one of the most successful world conferences of all time, maybe even the most successful event ever thanks to dedicated, non-tiring, hard work from the local organising committee. Please read the extracts from the ICNDT Journal describing the success of this conference, also contained in this yearbook.
Newton’s second law of motion states that the acceleration of an object is dependent upon two variables – the net force acting upon the object and the mass of the object. The profit that was made during the world conference gave SAINT a massive boost and the acceleration for change was impressive. The mass of the object, due to years of inert motion, proved to be much greater than anticipated but through perseverance and hard work, the momentum resulting from the Durban conference has helped to improve our NDT industry as a whole.
You might ask yourself, What has SAINT achieved since the world conference of 2012?
Formally stated, Newton’s third law is: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This statement means that in every interaction, there is a pair of forces acting on the two interacting objects. The size of the force on the first object equals the size of the force on the second object.
The perceived negative implication of this third law lies in the definition of the two objects interacting. After extensive social media interaction, regional roadshows, positive and more often, negative remarks, an individual can easily misinterpret the objects as being SAINT vs. the NDT industry. Based on the initial inert path undertaken for almost 4 decades, one cannot blame outsiders to make this assumption.
However, the two objects that are in fact interacting are SAINT and complacency. Change is difficult to accept, due to the ‘inertia’ mind-set that the first law of motion has so eloquently introduced and cemented for more than 40 decades.
We are operating in an ever changing environment with various external forces emanating from the international harmonisation of NDT under the ISO 9712 system, national legislation relating to qualification frameworks, the national development plan, localisation of scarce skills, the national skills development plan and numerous other as yet unknown challenges awaiting us on our path. We either adapt, or we die, hence SAINT’s pro-active approach of leading industry from the front and guiding it’s future development, regardless how hard it might seem and what obstacles lay in our path.
A final law……
Newton’s law of universal gravitation states that any two bodies in the universe will attract each other with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.
Within NDT, this means that SAINT wants to be instrumental in producing quality NDT personnel for both the national as well as the global market. We also want for all future NDT men and woman that originate from the South African designation system to become known as the preferred suppliers of NDT services worldwide.
It might be perceived as an ambitious goal, but then again every journey starts with the first step and every building’s foundation starts off with a cornerstone.
With SAINT being – the Cornerstone of South African NDT! Thank you.
“Our ultrasonic testing products have always been state-of-the-art,” says Philippe Rubbers, of Specialised Condition Monitoring (SCM), an equipment supplier and specialist non-destructive testing (NDT) company. “We save our clients time and money by helping identify component quality flaws before they become operational problems.”
SCM is the South African agent for M2M of France and Karl Deutsch of Germany. Rubbers attended the AFNDT mini-conference in Middleburg in mid-November this year to showcase the M2M Gekko system to NDT industry stakeholders.
Gekko is a hand-portable ultrasound imaging system, which combines standard phased array ultrasonics (PA), Time-of-flight Diffraction (TOFD) and Total Focusing Method (TFM) phased array imaging. “It’s the first portable system capable of performing phased array inspections that can deliver high-quality, real-time TFM imaging through a simple user interface,” says Philippe.
Gekko also offers advanced functions such as hyperfocalisation and 3D visualisation for most UT inspection techniques, and incorporates the latest CIVA multi-technique native software platform. SCM launched a new M2M-developed software add-on for the Gekko in December 2015, and will continue to launch upgrades and add-ons as they become available.
TFM technology has been around for almost 10 years for production lines and large installations, but now with the launch of the portable Gekko, these benefits can be used just about anywhere, improving inspection capabilities and thus saving a lot of time, and reducing associated costs.
See a video of the Gekko HERE
For more information, visit www.scm-ndt.co.za or contact Philippe Rubbers at email@example.com
M2M products are issued from technological transfers from the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), one of the largest research institute in Europe. M2M systems are taking advantage of the CIVA simulation software developed by CEA which is integrated in the systems.
Delegates at the African NDT Mini-Conference had the opportunity to view SCM’s latest offerings.
Many of us have the hopes of becoming a Level III at some point in our career. However we seem to get conflicting information on what the actual requirements are. This article intends to address the requirements as well as the structure of the actual examinations.
The requirements will vary slightly from one certification scheme to the next. The first step is to find out exactly what the requirements are for the scheme that you choose. The ASNT (American Society for Nondestructive Testing) scheme for example requires you to have 4 years of experience, per method, comparable to a Level II. The PCN/ISO (Personnel Certification in Non-Destructive Testing) scheme requires a shorter duration of experience as a Level II, but also has a requirement for official Level III training. PCN is looking for 24 months of Level II experience for MT/PT/VT and 36 months of experience for RT/UT/ET. Most, if not all the schemes, allow for a reductions in experience based on your educational level. For example, if you have a degree that is recognised by the scheme, they could reduce the experience per method to around 1 year. Make sure you find out what the exact requirements are, as well as if you qualify for any reductions with the certification scheme.
The next part is the study material. Whether it is supplied to you or you have to purchase it, I would highly recommend that you start studying the material well in advance. Most of us work long hours and weekends, which leaves little to no study time. Make sure you make time to hit the books and research unfamiliar topics long before your exam. The volume of work is more than you may expect, however if you break it down into smaller sections and allow yourself enough time, you should not have any problems with it.
The third part I would like to explain is the structure of the exam. When you attempt a Level III exam, you are required to pass a basic examination. This needs to be done no matter what NDT method you choose. The examination consists of three parts: Questions on how the certification scheme works and associated documents; questions on materials and processes/product technology; and, questions on several NDT methods. As a Level III you will need to be familiar with all of these. You do not need to have a Level II in 4 methods to attempt a Level III exam. However you do need to have a fair knowledge of these and it always helps when you have some practical experience to tie the theory with the practical.
The basic examination is a requirement and needs to be passed, along with a main method in order to receive certification. The main method is what you will be certified in. What you will be tested on is at a Level III standard. Main method exams vary slightly from scheme to scheme: some combine a general and spec into one paper, while others offer them separately. Some schemes require you to write a procedure as part of your main method exam.
One of the best starting points, in my opinion, for an aspiring Level III is to go and find the document that governs the certification process and study it. If your company has a copy of EN ISO 9712/ASNT SNT-TC-1a/ PCN GEN/NAS 410, make a point of reading and understanding it. They all share similarities. Also have a read through your company’s written practice.
Remember to start well ahead of time. If you are setting a goal, make sure you know what the requirements are.
A free copy of the PCN gen document can be downloaded from http://www.bindt.org/Certification/pcn-exam-requirements-and-document-download/General-Requirements-Documents/
A.Mahomed NDT Level 3
African NDT Centre
The South African Institute for Non-Destructive Testing (SAINT) is making significant progress in cementing its position as the cornerstone body for Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) professionals and practitioners in Southern Africa. This was the core message from SAINT President Keith Cain at the launch of the Institute’s 2016/2017 Yearbook at the CSIR in Pretoria on 13 May 2016.
SAINT, originally founded in 1968, hosted the hugely successful 18th NDT World Conference in Durban in 2012, where it gained invaluable local and international recognition in the global NDT industry, and so began its renewed momentum after decades of inertia.
Cain cites Newton’s Second Law of Motion; ‘the acceleration of an object is dependent upon two variables – the net force acting upon the object and the mass of the object.’ SAINT has now become a body of considerable force, acting on a massive industry, and it is accelerating…
Cain highlighted the Institute’s subsequent achievements:
“The SAINT 2016/2017 Yearbook represents the great strides being made by SAINT, now and in the future,” said Cain at the launch. “It is the most informative, detailed and concise NDT guide ever produced by SAINT. It is the ‘go to’ manual for Level I and II technicians and operators on the NDT methods and techniques which SAINT has perfected over the past 48 years.
“For more advanced Level III NDT technologists, the SAINT Yearbook provides all current information relating to the International Committee of NDT (ICNDT), along with guidelines for the International Standardisation of NDT Qualification and certification.”
The 2016 SAINT Yearbook, published by CVR Publications, is expected to play a large role in raising public and industry awareness of the South African NDT industry, and its importance to the development and growth of many other industry sectors in the country, and abroad.
“SAINT aims to promote the status NDT testing for its members and stakeholders in all industries, and this Yearbook serves as an informative guide to the world of NDT,” adds Cain. SAINT’s objectives were clear at its inception in 1968, to become the go-to entity of NDT in South Africa, the backbone to industry, the cornerstone of Non-Destructive Testing.”
Cain is extremely confident about SAINT’s digital footprint: “In addition to our newly revamped website, we are now active on the leading social media platforms, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. We’ve seen an impressive 200% increase in engagement with SAINT from new content constantly being added to our online presence. This adds even more benefits for our members and stakeholders as the website advertising as a significant lever in SAINT’s digital footprint and enables steady growth for SAINT and the industry.”
SAINT aims to actively produce quality NDT personnel for both the national and global NDT market.
“We want the men and women from the South African designation system to become the preferred suppliers of NDT services worldwide,” concludes Cain. “This might be an ambitious goal, but every journey starts with the first step. Every building starts with a foundation cornerstone, and SAINT is the Cornerstone of South African Non-Destructive Testing.”
Keith Cain, President of SAINT, together with Bev Lawrence (CVR Publications) and Jeannie Campbell (CVR Publications)
Keith Cain (President of SAINT) presenting Harold Jansen (Chairman of the Professional Body Board) with the SAQA Professional Body Registration Certificate)
Since the beginning of time, humans had the urge, the desire to have leaders to look up to and to…well, lead them. We wanted Kings, we needed Knights, we looked up to Dukes and desired to be like Barons. Complaining about things is also a human desire and again leaders come in handy in this department as well.
The lack of leaders worldwide over the past few centuries basically forced us humans to rather look up to and support sport stars, pop stars, rock stars, movie stars and maybe because of hard times, also porn stars. Fortunately for us humans we also have Heroes. Sometimes we are lucky enough to have Super Heroes. For a lucky few there are Intelligent Super Heroes but for the Non Destructive Testing (NDT) community there is now an “Extremely Intelligent Super Hero” visiting SAINT’s Facebook page. Our Extremely Intelligent Super Hero might not be everyone’s new leader but hopefully he will be someone many can relate to and hopefully, at times teach some, something new.
The NDT industry has a crucial role to play in all aspects of modern life. The pace of life is constantly increasing, which NDT has to adapt, change, improve and rise to the challenges. Research into NDT methods plays a vital role in every major industry on all continents. Inspector EISH aims to create a window for which the general public can use to be informed and educated about Inspector EISH – in a fun and informative way. The character will integrate humour and technical aspects of NDT, allowing the audience to be entertained by Inspector EISH.
Who is Inspector EISH?
• Inspector EISH is SAINT’s “typical NDT guy”- passionate about what he does, but by no means perfect! We all learn from his mistakes and his successes.
• His vast knowledge in NDT makes him the “Go Tto” guy and he wants to help everyone do NDT correctly.
• Inspector EISH promotes NDT to the general public.
• He touches everyday aspects of life – in addition to all issues NDT.
• Inspector EISH has a playful and fun character.
• Inspector EISH is the guy who wants to help.
• EISH stands for “Extremely Intelligent Super Hero”.
• Why “Inspector EISH”? Eish is what we all say when things go wrong.
• EISH is the “Hello Kitty of NDT”.
I finished last month’s column by referring to what many people think will revolutionise everyday life in the next few decades: Artificial Intelligence (AI). In fact, it is claimed that AI will match human intelligence by 2045. AI has been around for a number of years. In 1997, Garry Kasparov was beaten in a game of chess by a computer and since then the increases in computing power have enabled large quantities of data to be analysed, patterns to be extracted and solutions to be derived.
Recently, AI has captured people’s interest. Two film releases, Ex Machina and Her, have the human/machine interface central to their plots. Driverless cars have been in the headlines. At the beginning of March, AlphaGo, a computer programme, beat the world’s number one ‘Go’ player at the board game. This was seen as a big leap forward for AI. Back in 1997, the chess-winning algorithms would examine every permutation, looking many moves ahead, and then chose the one with the highest probability of winning. Go has many more possible moves than chess and, even with today’s processing power, it is not appropriate to use this approach. Instead, neural networks are used to allow the computer to learn by analysing the matches of the best human Go players and then to refine this learning further by playing against itself. AlphaGo was designed by a British company, DeepMind, which was bought by Google as part of its investment in AI.
The success of AlphaGo was heralded as a new beginning in AI: if a computer can teach itself to be superior to humans at Go, then what is there to stop it from being superior at everything else? It didn’t take long for a reality check to gatecrash the party. Later in March, Microsoft launched a tweeting ‘chatbot’ called Tay, built to speak like a teenage girl. Over the course of interactions with the public, Tay was designed to learn how to speak like a human. Unfortunately, it learnt from the wrong people and had to be taken offline because it was becoming too racist and sexist.
This highlights a potential Achilles heel of the neural network approach. As is the case with humans, it is only as good as the quality of the information it uses for learning and this can be beaten by the unexpected. In the case ofTay, the developers had made a presumption about how the public would respond and hence on the content that would allow Tay to learn. With hindsight, many observers pointed out that the actual response was not unexpected, with the Daily Telegraph quoting a professor from Bristol University as saying: “Have you seen what many teenagers teach to parrots?” Google’s DeepMind AlphaGo learnt from the best humans and from playing itself and was said by observers to generate creative moves in particular situations. When human Lee Sodol won the fourth game, he did so by playing what was referred to in Go terms as a ‘divine move’ – a truly inspired, non-obvious original move. AlphaGo was also defeated by the unexpected. Opinion on AI is split into two camps: the optimists who see all the potential applications, with AI removing the need for humans, and the pessimists, who warn that AI could take over and be the downfall of the human race. For the time being at least, AI still needs a helping hand from a human. At the end of April this year, Tim Peake, the UK’s astronaut on the International Space Station, remotely manoeuvred a robot rover over a simulated Mars terrain and cave located in Stevenage. The rover has the ability to plan its own route over a surface and to steer itself. However, it finds it difficult to cope with shadows created by craters and caves and so it is more efficient to have human input.
It does not take a great leap of imagination to envisage AI encountering similar difficulties in the analysis of NOT data, with the sudden appearance of the unexpected. Equally, it is possible to see the benefits that AI could bring in assisting the operator to sift through large amounts of data and providing the operator with sufficient information on which to make a final decision. Back when Kasparov was beaten, it was possible to examine the process through which the computer arrived at its decisions. Today’s AI systems undertake their own learning and it is much more difficult to follow the process that generates the solution they spit out. For critical safety judgements, it may not be the best idea to rely on a decision when the basis for that decision is not known. In his book Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World, General Stanley McChrystal said that: “As complexity envelops more and more of our world, even the most mundane endeavours are now subject to unpredictability …” AI is coming to NDT, but the human operator will be sticking around for a long time to come.
First published in NDT News, a newspaper published by the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing (BINDT) and also included on its website (www.bindt.org). Re-published here with the kind permission of BINDT and the author. Subject to copyright, © 2016. All rights reserved.