When I was 19 years old, my first paying job in the nondestructive testing (NDT) industry was inspecting a weld repair on a water intake pipe at the Seabrook Station nuclear power plant in New Hampshire.
The words were right there in the footnotes of the engineering drawing: “Must inspect with eddy current.” Yet, there were no indications of what areas of the component were to be inspected, and there were no notes specifying what the eddy current test was supposed to do. Find cracks? Verify heat treat? Check threads?
Aircraft are the backbone of several industries and, as such, are subjected to intense and near-continuous use, making preventive maintenance critical. Maintenance protocols are exhaustive, but time-consuming, especially when fuselage and wing longerons are involved.
Nondestructive testing (NDT) provides the ability to monitor various aspects of material and product quality without compromising part integrity. Many NDT technologies can be applied to ensure proper manufacturing and functionality.
As a quality manager, it’s your worst nightmare. One of your best customers comes for a visit and brings a box of cracked parts that came from your plant. He wants to know how it happened, and how you are going to ensure it won’t happen again.