Market volatility boosts NDT instrument rental fleet investments


Despite challenging times in the oil & gas sector, rental equipment specialist Ashtead Technology has continued to invest in its fleet of inspection instruments, adding over £150k worth of equipment.

“Energy is a major market for Ashtead Technology,” said NDT Market Manager Steve Drake. “Lower oil and gas prices have forced companies in this sector to reduce capital budgets, but a high volume of non-destructive testing (NDT) and remote visual inspection (RVI) work is necessary to maintain high-value assets. A depressed energy market therefore creates an opportunity for instrument hire because renting helps to avoid capital costs whilst minimising operational costs.

“We have responded to this demand by ramping up the investments that we are making in test and inspection equipment, much of which has been purchased in response to specific requests from customers,” Steve added.

Recent examples of Ashtead Technology’s investments include the Olympus HydroFORM and RexoFORM scanner kits, which use phased array (PA) for the detection of wall-thickness reductions due to corrosion, abrasion and erosion. With its unique design, the RexoFORM can be used on pipes of different diameters with no need for multiple curved wedges. The Phoenix Swift scanner was purchased to meet a customer’s specific needs. A compact, single-axis magnetic wheeled scanner, it can be used with both time-of-flight diffraction (TOFD) and PA probes, making it ideal for weld inspection. A range of other Phoenix scanners is also available for hire, including the Tracer, which, with two wire encoders, calculates and outputs accurate X-Y positional data for C-scan inspections without the constraints of a scanning frame. For difficult-to-access areas, the pocket-sized TOFD Caliper is ideal for inspecting welds of any orientation on 3" pipes up to flat plate. For those customers requiring fast, continuous ultrasonic corrosion mapping, the Sp-Arc scanner measures wall thickness continuously along small bore ferritic pipes for unlimited lengths.

Conventional UT flaw detectors and probe kits are also available to support a wide variety of weld inspection and corrosion mapping work.

RVI investments include the Olympus IPLEX RT videoprobe, which has a 7.5 m-long, 6 mm-diameter scope, making it ideal for the internal inspection of engines, aircraft components, turbines and process plant. For applications requiring a waterproof camera and/or an extended cable length, the Wohler VIS350 is ideal for waste-water pipe inspection and other difficult-to-access locations such as gas flues, ventilation systems and hollow areas.

In other developments, Ashtead Technology’s facility in Hertfordshire is now an approved service centre for the iPEK range of high-quality pipeline inspection systems, providing repair and maintenance for a number of iPEK Systems, including the Rovver®, Rovion® and Agilios™ crawler and push-rod cameras.

Summarising, Steve Drake concluded: “These investments demonstrate our commitment to the Ashtead Technology NDT Centre of Excellence, offering customers a wide choice of the latest technology supported by a high level of technical support. On the rare occasions when the ideal equipment is not available from our rental fleet, we will always consider making further purchases, so that every customer is able to use the best possible technology for their specific application.”