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News from the Institute Branches – November 2019 

| South Wales Branch
Site visit to Newport Transporter Bridge

Jason Richards reports

To kick off the 2019-2020 schedule, there is no better way than a birthday party. The South Wales Branch took the opportunity to revisit the Newport Transporter Bridge, which, on 12 September, was celebrating the 113th birthday of its official opening back in 1906.

Due to the birthday celebrations, we were in the company of many of the bridge’s local supporters, local press and an a cappella choir for the evening, which also meant that we did not have the usual exclusivity of a guided tour. We were, instead, free to spend a bit more of our time familiarising ourselves with the character of the bridge on an unguided walk over the top and return via 
the gondola beneath. The bridge is run and managed by Newport County Council and the charity ‘Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge’, who were present and available to share information about the bridge. Part of their role is to raise funds to help maintain and restore the bridge.

Before our ascent, a member of the team informed us of how the bridge was originally manned and, of course, advised us of the risks involved when walking such structures. For the Victorian workers who would spend an entire 12-hour shift up top, we were reminded of the ‘four-second drop’ from the staff toilet at the halfway point when crossing.

Those who visited last time will recall that we received a personal tour and presentation by the ‘Friends of the Transporter Bridge’, where we were given a good overview of its history. As this was not available this time, some of us instead had an opportunity to share our previously gained knowledge with new members/visitors.

Unfortunately, the weather closed in on arrival, robbing us of some the potential views from on top of the bridge, but the misty rain ensured that we all took a good look at every inch of the slippery metal surface we walked on.

During our walk, observations were made of some of the more exposed areas, where corrosion and material loss were evident. This was certainly an eyebrow raiser for NDT inspectors such as ourselves. I was later reassured that the corroded sections were part of the original structure that once supported wooden walking boards. These have long since been replaced with a more solid galvanised steel grating, although it can be just as unnerving when looking though them down to the River Usk below. While up on the top of the bridge platform, we were able to take a visual measure of the bridge deflection as we experienced the gondola passing beneath us. Although it was only carrying foot passengers this time, the importance of a dynamic structure was evident.

After a slippery descent, we took the ride back across the Usk on the gondola before returning to the visitor centre and taking in the splendour of the 

Weather aside, it was good to revisit this iconic piece of the Newport skyline and appreciate the engineering prowess of our Victorian ancestors. Thank you to all the organisers at the Newport Transporter Bridge and the few ‘wet, brave souls’ that ventured over the top.

| Yorkshire Branch
An update on BINDT’s strategy

John Moody reports

This was our first meeting for the 2019-2020 session and the room was full. Our President, John Hansen, and CEO, David Gilbert, along with Past President Steve Lavender were among the attendees. We had a minute’s reflection to remember our recently departed friend Roger Lyon, who will be greatly missed.

I had been asked to share a quick word with the assembled about the Practitioner’s Committee, as it had just held a meeting and members are hopeful that more practitioners can attend as it is a group set up to discuss what they would like the Institute to focus on from their perspective. This is an open invitation to all practitioners and, if you can spare some time, please drop me an email at and I will pass on your details to the Chair, Joe Heigold.

David Gilbert then began his presentation, titled: ‘BINDT’s strategy for serving the NDT, CM and SHM community: update’.

David reminded us of the Institute’s mission statement and followed this by describing its propositions and capabilities, leading on to the priorities. We were then informed of the scale and scope of the Institute’s activities and of its professionalism and technical competence, including the Strategic NDT Leadership Forum. Another topic was the apprenticeships, with acknowledgement to Roger Lyon for his unwavering input to the development and running of them. It was then time to cover engineering registration and continuing professional development (CPD) with certification, followed by how the Institute plans to move forward and a conclusion. It was a most informative presentation and there was lively debate during this presentation on how certification needs to move forward, what has been achieved and what is being currently worked on and possible ways to help industry while still keeping a balanced approach that the trainers can cope with.

It was a very good evening and our Chair, John Crossley, offered a brief tour of the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) at the end of the evening just to round it off. Many thanks to David for presenting, John for facilitating and Maddie for organising the evening.

| West Midlands Branch
An introduction to Nadcap

Cameron Sinclair reports

The West Midlands Branch held its first meeting of the 2019-2020 session on the evening of 8 October 2019, at which Godfrey Hands gave a presentation, titled: ‘Inside Story: Introduction to Nadcap’.

Nadcap is the term used for a global accreditation programme, one of several provided through the Performance Review Institute (PRI), a USA-based non-profit organisation. Nadcap, specifically, is aimed at the aerospace industry and is one programme among several that are provided by PRI for a range of different sectors.

Nadcap is essentially a very robust audit programme that covers ‘special processes’ used in aerospace manufacturing, including NDT. About 1200 audits per annum of NDT processes are conducted globally by approximately 60 auditors based all over the world.

Godfrey explained how the audits are conducted, reviewed and signed off, once all non-conformances have been adequately cleared. He started with a high-level overview of the whole programme and gradually focused in on the detail: checklists, non-conformance reports, corrective actions, etc. At one stage, Godfrey apologised for the detail on the screen, which was necessary to make a pertinent point. It was indeed quite hard to read. But, as one member of the audience pointed out, nobody was going to admit that they could not read it in case they got a non-conformance!

After Godfrey’s very informative and enjoyable presentation and in response to some good questions, a lively discussion ensued. Generally, although there are some reasons to criticise the Nadcap programme, it is considered effective and to have contributed significantly to an improvement in the quality of NDT in the aerospace industry since its inception in the 1990s.

The Branch was very grateful for Godfrey’s presentation and sincere thanks are also due to Aerotech Inspection and NDT Ltd, which hosted the meeting, provided a range of refreshments and donated prizes for the raffle.

The next meeting of the West Midlands Branch will be on Monday 18 November – see BINDT’s website for details.