The USM Vision innovative, ultrasonic (UT) weld inspection system, from the Inspection Technologies business of GE Measurement & Control Solutions, allows non-UT trained specialists to gather reliable and accurate pipe weld inspection data, for subsequent remote assessment by a suitably qualified ultrasonics expert. This permits ultrasonic inspection to be used in situations conventionally requiring radiography, removing constraints such as extended film processing times, radiation screening and waste chemicals disposal. As a result, it facilitates the migration of skills from radiography to UT, reducing the possibility of bottlenecks, providing significant increases in productivity and improving operational health and safety. USM Vision will find particular application in the oil and gas and power generation sectors, bringing benefit to asset owners, welding and fabrication contractors and inspection service companies.
Patrik Rooman, business marketing manager, ultrasonics, at GE, explains, "USM Vision represents a paradigm shift in the weld inspection of new pipework. It is a hand-held ultrasonic flaw detection system which combines software and hardware to allow code-compliant inspection, easily, reliably and speedily, by non-ultrasonics personnel such as radiography inspectors. It will obviously not replace radiography in every instance but it will offer users an opportunity to eliminate radiography constraints when required, as well as making best use of the expertise of the limited numbers of qualified ultrasonics inspection personnel. Its intuitive, 100% guided operation will also help to extend the skills base of radiography inspectors."
The new inspection solution can operate in phased array and TOFD mode and is supplied with its operating software and GE's Rhythm analysis software, as well as the probes and wedges to suit the selected codes and pipe ranges. Set-up is menu-directed allowing the operating software to calculate the ultrasonic parameters for each weld and pipe combination and create an easy-to-follow inspection plan. The operator can then scan the weld, with an encoded scanner, using TOFD or Phased Array. Inspection data is transmitted to a review station in the industry-accepted protocol, allowing advanced analysis tools, such as real time, volume corrected imaging, to allow easier and more reliable image interpretation. By using GE's Rhythm software platform, inspection data can be reviewed and shared, reports generated and inspection results archived for tracking or further analysis.