I have a recent success story I’d like to share. There were two contractors involved in a job in Oklahoma. We were one of the two, and each company’s performance was audited. The audit revealed that 127 of company A’s weld inspection films were rejected, all requiring re-shots. When it was our turn we had a total of 3.
I bring this up to illustrate that paying a little bit more per hour to use a quality and reliable RT services company can result in substantial costs savings overall. Inadequate examination quality which fails to meet minimum sensitivity or density requirements, for example, has effects which trickle down to delay project completion and add expense, such as:
One of the predominant factors that distinguishes quality firms from others is the training of their RT crews. There is great demand for competent radiography technicians, and this too often results in shortcuts. Rather than home-grow talent and put them through proper training regimens, NDT firms under time constraints poach crews from the competition to fill jobs quickly or promote helpers and assistants to lead technicians well before they are ready.
Firms operating with integrity avoid such practices. Instead, trainees receive proper instructor-led training with a blend of both theory and practical, plus rigorous examination. This creates more competent technicians who are better prepared for real jobs in the field. The end result is less re-shots and the TOTAL job done faster.
The IIA Field Services Training Process
Our philosophy is to spend more time training so that we avoid costly errors and project delays down the road. Most jobs require a two-man crew – an apprentice helper and a highly trained and vetted technician. Each lead technician is certified Level II which has much more stringent qualifications, including a proven track record as a competent helper/assistant.
The guiding document for our training program is our “Written Practice,” as specified in ASNT Recommended Practice No. SNT-TC-1A. What many customers don’t realize is that the TC-1A provides only guidelines for technician certification, so each NDT company has leeway in developing their own training regimen. Our “Written Practice” considerably exceeds the basic guidelines as spelled out in the TC-1A.
For those who fail our examinations, we work to mentor them and correct any gaps in their knowledge so that they can pass upon re-examination. Our stringency results in very competent technicians who a perform at a much higher level than the industry average and are proud of the work they do.
And that is why we have the fewest re-shots per average than competing NDT firms. Even in highly technical fields such as Radiographic Testing, it all boils down to your people. More time and effort invested in them today reaps major benefit for us and our customers in the future.
Now, notwithstanding the above, RT crawlers might sometimes be a better fit for certain pipelines, as these can operate comfortably in areas which are hard for even well-trained conventional RT crews to access, and at greater speed. A good firm will help you decide which to employ by developing an inspection plan that lays out a roadmap for completing your project on time, and counselling you on whether the use of traditional crews or crawlers is better indicated for your specific pipes.
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