Latest Branch News

News from the Institute Branches – January 2017 

| Yorkshire Branch
Advancements in phased array ultrasonic testing

John Moody reports

The November meeting was held at the NAMRC site, thanks to our chairman John Crossley, and featured a presentation by Darren Miles from Olympus on advancements in phased array ultrasonic testing (PAUT).

It was quite a lively audience with much participation from users of the equipment with results from its operation in the field. Darren covers the area between Birmingham and the Scottish Borders and has customers who need to safely inspect pipelines, refineries, storage tanks, wind turbine towers and blades and small bore pipes, with data storage and retrieval. This leads to the use of phased array ultrasonic testing, which is much safer than radiography, involves minimal disruption to other workers and only requires the storage of data. There is no film archiving, but the method does require the purchasing of Olympus software to read and process the data; limited viewing can be performed using the free-to-download Tomo-View software.

Olympus has introduced a new range of transducers, including a compound S-scan range, which give greater weld coverage, reduce the number of groups and have faster scan speeds with easier calibration and data interpretation in comparison to a standard S-scan.

There is a small-bore ‘Cobra Scanner’ that can scan at 60 mm/s, providing both UTPA and TOFD from one- or two-sided inspection.

For austenitic steel, transmittal, receiver and longitudinal TRL probes have been developed and for composites, such as wind turbine blades, roller form scanners are available.

With such a wide range of equipment, it is more important than ever to have the correct choice for the task in hand and for standards, procedures and work instructions to be available. In the world of ultrasonic testing, more of the different waveforms are being used for inspecting a wider range of items and components in more challenging environments.

Our thanks to Darren and we should add the standard comment that there are other equipment providers available.

| Yorkshire Branch

Pressure Equipment Directive 2014/68/EU – Explaining the changes following its implementation on 19 July 2016

John Moody reports

Christmas has come and gone and some of us will have experienced the catastrophic failure of a pressure vessel in the form of a burst balloon, which is even more shocking if it bursts as you are inflating it.

At the Yorkshire Branch’s December meeting, Peter Roberts of Lloyd’s Register explained the changes following implementation of the Pressure Equipment Directive (PED) 2014/68/EU on 19 July 2016.

Peter opened the presentation with the short, fast action of a small cylinder being ruptured by gunfire. The cylinder exited stage left faster than the eye could see, but the important fact was that it remained in one piece rather than fragmenting. We were then shown a selection of other cylinders that had been tested to destruction and again all were still in one piece. Even a man like Peter has his limits, such as when he was witnessing a test that involved three different sized cylinders being destroyed by armour-piercing ammunition rounds. The first small canister leapt into the air but within the safety zone and everything was OK. The safety zone was set at 300 m and a barrier of large round straw bales was used. The second mid-sized canister was then fired on and this whistled overhead, landing someway outside the safety zone. It was at this point that Peter advised he would not be in attendance for the final test on the largest cylinder.

The European Union has four freedoms in place, covering goods, services, people and finance, which enables items to be manufactured and traded freely in the European Economic Area (EEA). To ensure the safety of pressure vessels, piping and associated equipment, the Pressure Equipment Directive was produced. Prior to this, many European companies had comprehensive requirements, except the UK, which was lacking. The latest revision is longer and uses more legal language rather than engineering terms. It is a challenge, as there are so many different types of pressure vessel and even something as simple as steam cleaning can change the category that the vessel sits in. There are web-based helplines along with phone lines and with so many variables this help must be invaluable. The French do not recognise the difference between hazard (potential) and risk (likelihood) but the document is written around the difference.

If you are involved in pressure vessels or thinking of becoming involved, I would advise using an expert as there is a potential for death and destruction plus a spell in jail and an unlimited fine. For the lesser categories, second-party NDT certification can be used but as the severity increases the requirement changes to third-party, such as PCN. Make sure you have a full QMS system in place and that it is used correctly if you are involved with the PED. There are a significant number of cylinder failures in cellars in pubs but typically nobody is hurt. The fabrication shop workplace also has issues with mobile cylinders but far fewer than it has historically.

| Yorkshire Branch
Bloodhound visit – 20 October 2016

Phil Edwards reports

Following a cancelled event back in February 2016 to visit the Bloodhound SSC project premises in Avonmouth, it was decided that a visit would be scheduled into the South Wales/West of England 2016/17 Branch calendar. To make the event viable, and as Bloodhound had fallen on mean times and funding had became short, they requested having party numbers of around 50 and unfortunately needed to charge for the privilege.

So, it was with assistance from BINDT and with a small fee of £5 per head that 44 Institute and Branch members and their families gathered in Avonmouth on 20 October 2016 at 6.30 pm in anticipation of getting a look around what was designed to be the world’s fastest land-speed car. Many will remember the excellent presentation that Bloodhound’s Tony Parraman gave at the 2015 Materials Testing event in Telford and so it was great to have Tony repeat this informative and entertaining presentation for the gathered group.

The opening sequence of a Magnum 357 revolver firing a bullet in slow motion with the Bloodhound rushing past this bullet truly highlights the sheer incredible speed that this team is hoping to achieve. A further guide to this amazing speed was given to one of the youngsters when Tony said that if he stood on the centre spot of Wembley Stadium and blinked the Bloodhound would have entered in one end and exited the other in that blink of an eye!

With renewed sponsorship, Bloodhound is again back on course and looking to attempt a new land-speed record in 2017.

Having reviewed possible locations around the globe they settled on the Hakskeen Pan in the North West corner of South Africa. This is a dried lakebed surface and the flattest 12-mile stretch of the earth’s surface available. Annual flooding will keep the area as flat as possible. It is interesting that this Pan is close to Verneukpan, where Malcolm Campbell attempted his land-speed record back in 1929. Malcolm had labourers clear a 120 ft-long path of all stones, which took them three months. Bloodhound required a 18 km by 1500 m wide track to be cleared and so employed locals to clear all the stones by hand – all 16,000 tonnes of them. Apparently, the heaps of stones can be seen on Google maps! An interesting aside was that the heaps of stones attract insects and now foxes have moved into what was an area relatively free of wildlife. Fox collisions at 1000 mph
cannot be contemplated!

The driver of this ‘super-vehicle’ will be Andy Green, who is the current holder of the world land-speed record of 763 mph and whose email address is worldsfastestman@ etc – why not!

As alluded to in Bloodhound’s mission statement, the team has spent an awe-inspiring amount of time with schools and youngsters to encourage them to connect with science and technology, from making and racing basic balloon cars to national annual rocket car speed record attempts – with the current record standing at over 500 mph!

Following the presentation, Tony took the group onto the shopfloor where, at this time, the car was stripped down as vital checks were ongoing following the shutdown period. Tony mentioned some corrosion that had to be addressed, meaning that the rest had to be stripped for investigations.

The main power for the vehicle is provided by a Typhoon engine – the EJ200, which produces just over 20,000 lbf. Supplementing this will be a hybrid rocket, which produces 27,500 lbf. Astounding figures!

Tony displayed the engine and all the other sections of the car and discussed all aspects of it in a most enthusiastic way.

Full facts and information can be obtained from and I would thoroughly recommend any readers to take a look.

2017 will be 20 years since Thrust SSC reached the dizzy speed of 763 mph across the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, with Andy Green at the wheel, and so we wish Bloodhound total success with a grand speed of 1000 mph.

The Yorkshire Branch sincerely thanks the Bloodhound Team for making this visit happen and specifically Tony Parraman for a most entertaining evening.