Latest Branch News

News from the Institute Branches – March 2018 

| West Midlands Branch
Overview of NDT apprenticeships

Bob Naylor reports

The Branch meeting on 12 February highlighted the NDT Apprenticeship Scheme and its benefits to employers of NDT personnel. Speaker Sam Cunningham from Skills Training UK gave an overview of the scheme and explained the funding arrangements currently on offer.

The NDT apprenticeships have been developed by an employer group led by Rolls-Royce plc and supported by the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing (BINDT). The apprenticeships are considered to offer major benefits to employers of NDT personnel and provide a significant career opportunity to aspiring NDT apprentices, whether they come from the existing NDT community, a related engineering community or straight from school. There are currently two NDT apprenticeships available through Skills Training UK: the NDT Operator and the NDT Engineering Technician. The certifications gained can be to either PCN (ISO 9712) or EN 4179. These programmes are either part-funded by the government for 90% of the training cost or funded through the apprenticeship levy tax payments, which are paid if the organisation has a payroll of over £3,000,000 per annum. Skills Training UK is currently working with Lavender International, IMechE and other training schools to offer this standard to NDT companies and manufacturers across the UK for new starters and to upskill existing staff.

The NDT Operator is an 18-month programme factoring in one NDT method of the trainee’s choice, the NVQ Level 2
in Business Improvement Techniques (project management, quality assurance, etc) and an NVQ Level 2
in Industrial Environmental Awareness. The cost for this programme is £1,200, to be paid in monthly blocks of £66.67 for companies that are not apprenticeship levy taxpayers or £505.27 per month for companies that pay the apprenticeship levy tax.

The NDT Engineering Technician is a 36-month programme factoring in three NDT methods of the trainee’s choice (at least two basic and one complex), the NVQ Level 3 in Business Improvement Techniques (again, project management, quality assurance, etc) and an NVQ Level 2 in Industrial Environmental Awareness. The cost for this programme is £1,800, paid in monthly blocks of £50 if the organisation is not an apprenticeship levy taxpayer or monthly blocks of £389.19 if the organisation pays the apprenticeship levy tax. This apprenticeship meets the requirements for Engineering Council registration at the Engineering Technician level. BINDT is licensed by the Engineering Council to approve apprenticeships and other integrated knowledge/competence programmes for Engineering Technician (EngTech) registration.

Additionally, Skills Training UK has also just agreed a training partnership with the University of Northampton to deliver the NDT Engineer apprenticeship, which covers the online BSc (Hons) degree in non-destructive testing and would also include leadership and management training as well as developing skills such as project management. The cost for this programme is £2,700 for companies that are not apprenticeship levy taxpayers and £27,000 for companies that are apprenticeship levy taxpayers. On completion of the apprenticeship, the NDT Engineer will be eligible to apply for professional registration as an Incorporated Engineer (IEng) and for membership of a professional body (BINDT).

Skills Training UK is one of the UK’s leading independent training providers with a proven track record of working in partnership with employers in STEM sectors to design and deliver apprenticeships in NDT, business improvement techniques (BITs), quality and improvement, supply chain and business skills. As well as NDT, it has particular expertise in the automotive, aerospace, advanced engineering, energy, utilities and rail sectors.
The company also has a PCN Level 3 trainer who will work with apprentices at least once a month to help develop them, not only in NDT but also in soft skills as mentioned above.

Next month’s meeting
The next meeting on 12 March is scheduled to be held at GB Inspection Systems, 22A Cobbett Road, Burntwood Business Park, Cannock, Staffordshire WS7 3GL. The main feature is a talk on ‘Condition monitoring – Key steps to implementing condition monitoring’ by Simon Mills of Spectrum CBM. As always, all are welcome to attend.

| South Wales Branch
Branch upholds proud tradition

Steve O’Brien reports

The South Wales Branch is proud of the tradition that it is the first Branch to host the President Elect of BINDT. Accordingly, on Thursday 18 January 2018, at The Village Hotel near Cardiff, the South Wales Branch was honoured with a visit from Mr John Hansen.

The evening began with dinner, which included plenty of lively and entertaining conversations, plus the occasional recounting of past ‘unusual experiences’ in NDT, which was enjoyed by all.

Following dinner, the group moved to one of the meeting rooms in the hotel, where John gave a presentation titled: ‘About BINDT: a summary and update’. The presentation began with John giving us a brief résumé of his career, from his early days at Unit Inspection (when he was also on the South Wales Branch committee), to his periods at Hocking and NDT Services and, finally, to co-founding ETher NDE with Mike Reilly in 2009.

John then told us about his election as President and his winning manifesto, which among other things emphasised his long background, varied experience and involvement in NDT and BINDT, his business management experience and a commitment not to sell any more raffle tickets at the conference dinner!

The presentation went on to explain the current structure of BINDT and how the NDT, CM and SHM elements are linked, as well as providing an overview of recent history. He then described the current capabilities and work of BINDT along with details of the new HQ building, staff, changing finance structure, business model and the fact that there are currently over 27,000 PCN certificate holders, 50% of whom are based overseas.

The presentation then highlighted the priorities for the next five years, which are increasing engagement, diversity, service standards and ensuring sustainability.

The final part of the presentation dealt with the fraud issue in India concerning NDT International PTE Ltd and the effect it had on the industry, BINDT and the certificate holders.

John concluded the presentation with BINDT’s mission statement/charitable objective: ‘To promote the advancement of the science and practice of non-destructive testing, condition monitoring, diagnostic engineering and all other associated materials and quality testing disciplines’.

From the comments and discussions following the presentation, it was clear that these topics, particularly certification and the fraud issues, were of concern to the members present.
The Branch would like to express its gratitude to John for a very informative and thought-provoking presentation. 

| Yorkshire Branch
Inspection of small bore pipes

John Moody reports

Our first meeting of 2018 saw a good turnout to
hear John Skidmore give a presentation on GB Inspection Systems’ new LIMBOTOFD® system. John acknowledged the use of Tim Armitt’s presentation and work on the development of the system.

There is a requirement for the testing of small bore pipes welded to fittings and one of the more complex configurations is the pipe to weld neck flange, especially when it is bolted in place. Some samples were manufactured and trialled using various methods. One of the samples had four known defects and three different inspection techniques were chosen to compare the results. Radiography found only two of the defects, ultrasonic phased array found three and the LIMBOTOFD found all four. Another advantage of the use of these very small contoured probes is that they use compression waves and can therefore be used on a range of materials rather than just carbon steel.

Another advantage is that several off-the-shelf scanning systems have been easily adapted to hold the probes, which are currently available with 5 MHz, 10 MHz and 15 MHz crystals in 45°, 60° and 70° formats with crystal diameters of 3 mm or 6 mm.

The full potential has yet to be explored but 13 mm small bore pipes can be tested, with more typical applications being 3" to 6" pipes 3.5 mm and above in thickness. There were many questions from the audience relating to potential uses, including questions relating to the aerospace sector. It certainly looked like a product with a lot of potential. Many thanks to John for spending time with the Branch.

| Yorkshire Branch
Diving into PCN’s underwater inspection scheme

John Moody reports

The February meeting was only a week later than the January meeting, but this did not affect the good attendance.
Patrick Boulton, who is the Certification Engineer at BINDT, surfaced to give the Branch a talk on the underwater certification scheme that has been floating around. The underwater industry approached BINDT to request that PCN develop a scheme that covers underwater inspection activities and, after many reviews and revisions, a suite of documents is at the final stage. Industry requested that the following methods and techniques be included: detailed visual inspection (DVI), close visual inspection (CVI), general video inspection (GVI), digital thickness measurement (DTM), cathodic protection measurement (CP), alternating current field measurement (ACFM) and remedial grinding (non-NDT).

The suite of documents includes PCN/GEN Underwater, plus a series of appendices covering equipment, specimens, the training syllabus, sample questions and a marking guide.

To be involved in underwater inspection training in the UK a student is required to hold a current MA1 (medical examination and assessment of commercial divers) and be a commercial diver. The next phase will be to look at remotely operated vehicle (ROV) training.

For both the training and examinations, the specimen requirements are very demanding, including some large structures. The diagram below shows a typical example of a large underwater nodal structure for use within underwater examinations.

There is also a requirement for a suitable place for the training and examinations, where the divers will be working in mid-water. This could be either in open water or in a very large tank. This is not something that most current trainers have access to so there will probably not be an immediate saturation in the market.

Many thanks to Patrick for his informative presentation to land-locked Sheffield.

| Scottish Branch
Testing of subsea pipelines and components

Tony Gachagan reports

Our first Branch technical meeting of 2018 was a joint event, hosted by The Welding Institute (Scottish Branch), at Doosan Babcock’s T&E building in Renfrew. The presentation and tour was organised by the Component Testing Department at Doosan Babcock. Iain Young and Philip Lay delivered an interesting overview of the facilities and expertise within Doosan Babcock to perform full-scale testing of subsea pipelines and components. A series of tests on real-size pipes, which complies with ISO 12736 and covers the various stages of pipe laying from reeling to in service on the seabed, was described.

The first test involves a test machine that simulates the forces and stresses that the pipe undergoes as it is reeled from the on-land spoolbase onto the lay barge/ship.

The next stage involves a coefficient of friction test-rig, which covers the forces imposed by the weight of the pipe as it is lowered from the ship into the sea.

A four-point bend test-rig assesses the pipe’s ability to elastically deform as it bends between the ship and the seabed before straightening out on the seabed.

The final stage of testing covers the temperature gradients and seabed pressures that the pipe has to tolerate once it is in service and transmitting hydrocarbon product.

This joint meeting attracted an audience of over 30, who also enjoyed an informative tour of the equipment and instrumentation used to deliver this service.