Quality Magazine

Governmental Safety Regulations Globally Increase Demand for Nondestructive Test Equipment

November 26, 2012

 

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA–– A wave of highly publicized infrastructure failures such as pipeline explosions and refinery blasts have spurred governments to tighten safety regulations, escalating the need for nondestructive test (NDT) inspection. Moreover, with end-user industries eager to lengthen the lifecycle of existing infrastructure to save time and costs, the global demand for NDT equipment is on the rise, positively impacting this mature market.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan of the global nondestructive test equipment market finds that the market earned revenue of more than $1.39 billion in 2011 and estimates this to reach $2.03 billion in 2016.The study covers technologies ranging from ultrasonic testing, magnetic and electromagnetic testing, visual inspection, radiography testing and penetrant testing for various end-user industries, including oil and gas, aerospace, military and defense, automotive and transportation, foundry and power generation.

“The high costs and challenges involved in building new infrastructure have led to end-user industries extending the useful life of their existing infrastructure,” saysFrost & Sullivan Research Analyst Nikhil Jain. “This, therefore, spurs demand for NDT equipment.”

While aging infrastructure is a global trend, it is extremely pronounced in the United States, where the average age of a refinery or power plant is more than 40 years. These aging assets are required to run at high capacities, and thus need to be inspected periodically to prevent catastrophic failure.

The NDT industry is characterized by a reluctance to adopt new technology caused by a number of factors, including the conservative nature of end-user industries, sluggish approval times for standards, and lack of proper training for technicians. However, the most significant factor hindering adoption of new technology is the structure of the industry as a whole.

“The NDT industry is structured such that the equipment manufacturers sell a majority of their equipment to the NDT inspection service providers,” explains Nikhil. “It is therefore difficult to aid market adoption of new technology unless the inspection services providers are prepared to make an investment in purchasing  equipment operating on new technology, or through governmental regulations stipulating the use of the latest technology.”

With the challenging nature of the NDT industry, the equipment manufacturers are utilizing conferences and seminars to educate end-users about benefits of new technology. Additionally, the market participants are investing in automating the NDT equipment to limit the role of NDT inspection service providers in the NDT industry value chain.