Welcome to this first nondestructive test (NDT) supplement to Quality magazine. It has been a long time in the planning. During my first tenure at Quality magazine, I attended numerous trade shows and conferences where NDT was the focus. It seemed at that time the technology, at least from the perspective of who would be the target user, was in transition. There was talk that many NDT equipment suppliers needed to shift attention toward mainstream industrial applications, away from high-cost, custom and one-of-a-kind systems. Of course, many NDT suppliers had already long been focused on volume industries such as automotive, medical, metalworking, plastics and similar applications.
The other discussion at the time was how to educate manufacturers of the practical benefits surrounding use of NDT technologies. Often, many suppliers told me, they were greeted with a glazed look from prospective customers when the very letters N-D-T were mentioned. Fortunately, that reaction has changed, as manufacturers have learned that NDT includes everything from ultrasonics and X-ray and eddy current to microscopes, leak testers and borescopes-technologies that were already familiar to many.
NDT has certainly changed since those conferences and shows I attended 5 years ago. The market, the applications and the demand for solutions have increased. We, at Quality magazine, have seen it, and chances are you have experienced it. You are now looking at NDT technologies to ensure quality in your manufacturing processes.
Quality magazine is tracking the various NDT technologies and continues to see an increased interest in their use. Projected spending during 2003 on NDT equipment is estimated to reach more than $43 million (Quality, December 2002). To further bolster those numbers, research that Quality magazine conducted earlier this year shows that those plants investing in NDT plan to spend an average of more than $65,000 on their purchases this year. For more of an idea of what to expect in the future, read contributing editor Mike Greissel's in-depth piece about the NDT market beginning on page 4.
More than 35% of Quality magazine subscribers have told us they use and purchase various pieces of NDT equipment. In the same research, we were able to get a better idea of the size of the NDT marketplace and learned that the professionals surveyed turn to Quality magazine on a regular basis. They don't look at other magazines or associations as often as they look to Quality magazine.
There is no clearer mandate than when a quality professional tells you he is looking to you for answers. Hence, this is the first of many NDT supplements to come.
Open these pages and spend some time with them. The articles go beyond the theoretical, and instead deliver practical, real-world use of NDT technologies-from X-ray inspection used to create a popular line of dental devices to implementing eddy current technology for analyzing machined pieces. A primer on leak testers is included.
Also, spend some time with the products advertised within these pages. The suppliers each have unique solutions for your NDT needs.
Finally, let me know what you think. Quality magazine is planning more NDT supplements during 2004, and I want to know your needs. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.