NDT news is positive.

With this second edition of this special NDT section, there is much news to report. And the news is positive.

We launched NDT in October at the ASNT Fall Conference in Pittsburgh. Attendees were so interested in the publication that we ran out of copies; in the magazine world that is great news. The show itself was successful. Traffic in the aisles was consistent and people were there to make purchase decisions.

The show location provided good attendance. Pittsburgh is centrally located to where much of the NDT equipment is being used. According to the Quality magazine 2004 Spending Survey, of the NDT equipment projected to be purchased during 2004, 85% will be sold in the Northeast, South and Midwest. Pittsburgh is a 2-hour plane ride from the farthest portions of those regions. With engineers and managers having less time to be away from work, the real estate maxim of "location, location, location," becomes increasingly important for a show's success.

Co-locating with the ASM Materials Solutions Expo also contributed to a good show. There is enough similarity between the objectives of, and tools used for, materials testing and NDT that a significant crossover of purchasers were present. It's too bad the shows will not be co-located in 2004.

More good news is NDT spending. The Quality 2004 Spending Survey projects more than $50.4 million to be spent on NDT equipment during 2004. This is a 17% increase from 2003 levels. Besides being a sign of a recovering economy, increased spending means that more companies are looking at NDT as a solution for their testing challenges. This improves on a trend that we reported on in our 2003 Spending Survey.

The increased interest in NDT has an effect on the companies who provide the equipment. The news section in this issue of NDT highlights two major acquisitions. R/D Tech (Quebec, Canada) has purchased Panametrics (Waltham, MA) and the company is now Panametrics-NDT, A Business of R/D Tech Instruments. And, GE Inspection Technologies (Evendale, OH) recently acquired Agfa NDT (Lewistown, PA). Both acquisitions come as a result of strong companies looking to further strengthen their position in the NDT world by bringing other strong NDT companies into their fold.

Finally, Senior Editor Larry Adams follows up his October 2003 story on NASA's use of NDT to ensure safety on the space shuttle. Their use of NDT is good news not only for the safety of future astronauts but as an example of the increased application of NDT in manufacturing. After all, if NDT is good enough for NASA, which is sending missions to Mars and beyond, it has to be good enough for products that stay on Earth.

If you watch the networks CNN or MSNBC, you might think there is no good news today. Perhaps those journalists should start watching the NDT world?

What's the NDT news in your company? Let me know at williamst@ bnpmedia.com.