In response to demand from industry for independent evaluation of existing nondestructive techniques and procedures, The Welding Institute (TWI, www.twi.co.uk) launched the Non-Destructive Testing Validation Centre at its home office in Port Talbot, Wales. The initiative will be run by and will serve facilities throughout the United Kingdom and Europe.

According to TWI, the program will examine existing nondestructive techniques and procedures in an effort to improve commonly accepted practices in this area and eliminate defects in materials or components that are invisible to the human eye, but could have potentially devastating consequences if left undetected.

Robert John, Ph.D., chief executive of TWI, said in a prepared statement that flaws are present in all fabricated parts, and the Non-Destructive Testing Validation Centre aims to establish a method whereby these defects are below the level that could effect the performance of the component or structure.

According to Dr. John, even with the best training in the world operators could be mistaken in their use and interpretation of NDT techniques. In fact, he said a recent survey found that as many as two of every three NDT reports were erroneous.

“The answer lies in greater automation ensuring consistency of technique and in verification of the findings with actual observation,” said John. “This is the function of the validation centre which will have an impact in almost all spheres of manufacturing.”

Experts at the centre will provide an independent health check using highly sophisticated equipment designed and developed for specific tests that can detect a crack just 1/10,000 of an inch wide and defects that are 0.02 mm in diameter.