Infrared Thermography Working Group – PCN certification based on ISO 18436-7


Industry is well aware of the NDT technologies available to monitor everything from a single bearing to a multi-story building, in order to detect irregularities that may indicate a defect or weakness that requires further investigation. There are a multitude of manufacturers out there providing state-of-the-art hardware and software packages that should allow us to monitor almost anything and prevent unexpected failures. But who uses these instruments and how do we know that they are proficient at interpreting the data?

Austin Dunne, IRT Training Ltd, Liverpool, reports…

Historically, NDT has been considered an effective way to safely reduce risk by evaluation without interference or damage to the object under investigation. Personnel conducting inspections effectively were expected to have a combination of education, training and experience in a technique that followed either employer-based certification or a personnel central certification scheme. But who checks this out?

In some industries, there are mandatory regulations regarding technicians’ qualifications but, sadly, some sectors have no enforced regulations, leading to unqualified personnel conducting surveys.

This has ultimately harmed the industry and misdiagnosed data comes with a cost. Personnel certification is perceived to be one of the best ways forward and typically utilises a central certification body, such as the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing (BINDT), which is accredited by UKAS and recognised throughout the world as an independent third-party accreditation body. BINDT audits training organisations and administers third-party examination processes in many technologies.

Infrared thermography is a very skilled occupation and is soon becoming a staple method of investigation in most sectors, so it is vital that technicians are proficient in the field. As well as application knowledge and experience, third-party certification allows employers and clients to benefit from quality personnel that fully understand the remit of the occupation.

A practitioner’s PCN certification status can be checked by entering their surname or PCN number into BINDT’s website:

In order for BINDT to proficiently manage a technology certification scheme, it relies upon industry experts to attend formalised group meetings or working groups to overview, review, amend and update certification schemes in line with industry requirements. This involves addressing issues such as compliance, standards updates, examination processes, examination questions and disputes/complaints or non-conformances.

BINDT has been involved in certification in the field of condition monitoring for many years now and has working groups for a number of sectors, including infrared thermography, vibration analysis, lubrication analysis and acoustic emission, providing PCN certification to individuals worldwide.

The working groups’ make-up is important to achieve a balanced overview and positive benefit to the scheme, and it is with this regard we would like to open the forum up to new members.

The Infrared Thermography Working Group has recently been joined by a few new members, but is very interested to hear from other experienced individuals. The group holds meetings three to four times a year at various locations throughout the UK. The group dynamics include members from companies and training organisations involved in the industry and, although at times light-hearted in nature, the emphasis is always to provide an independent, robust examination procedure to ensure that practitioners are suitably qualified to perform thermography inspections.

Ideally, members should be PCN Category 2 certified, but interest is welcomed from any experienced individual, especially from industry sectors not currently represented, including petrochemical, electrical supply/distribution, insurance, commercial building and automotive.

With a diverse group of individuals attending the regular meetings, it is perceived that we can achieve a world-renowned certification scheme that is fit for purpose.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the IRT Working Group (or any of the others), please contact Wendy Poole, email: