Q&A with Ashtead Technology
When choosing new equipment for your application, not only do you have to decide what you need, you also have the option to choose between renting or buying. Ryan Theil, national sales manager of NDT and RVI Products at Ashtead Technology, explains the options
NDT: When is equipment rental a good option? When might it be better to buy? 
RT: This is a good question and one that our customers ask themselves frequently. In many cases customers require additional equipment for short term projects, evaluating new revenue streams or to compensate for peak seasonal trends. This is where equipment rental becomes a viable option. The additional equipment required is available for rent in multiple quantities as well as being cost effective. Significant resources are required to purchase additional equipment which if purchased would sit around collecting dust in off peak times. Customers choose to buy equipment at levels of 90% to 100% utilization. 
NDT: Any trends in NDT that you’ve seen in your industry? 
RT: Adopting the latest technology. The industry is taking advantage of technological advances in other industries and applying them to NDT. Such advances include digital radiography as used in the medical field.  
NDT: What changes have you seen in the NDT field over time? 
RT: Advancements in equipment and technology. The basic principles of NDT methods such as ultrasonic testing (UT), radiography (RT) and electromagnetic testing (ET) will not change. However the equipment available today allows the data to be presented in a manner that is much different than equipment used 15 years ago. For example, compare conventional ultrasonic testing vs. phased array ultrasonic testing. The manner in which inspection data is presented performing conventional UT is somewhat limited to a single scan screen view, whereas the inspection data presented performing phased array UT enables multiple scan presentations to be viewed on a single screen. Though there are many other advantages of phased array UT over conventional UT, this is merely one example.       
NDT: What tips do you have for potential customers?
RT: Evaluate the cost of ownership and anticipated utilization compared to the cost of rental as well as life span of the equipment. 
NDT: What common questions have you seen?
RT: Remote visual inspection applications. RVI applications are broad and the equipment available to achieve these inspections are equally as broad. The majority of the questions we encounter are related to these applications’ equipment. 
NDT: What do you see for the future of the NDT industry?
RT: The necessity of the industry will always be there and it is growing; However, the workforce is shrinking. New generations of trained technicians are much needed as large bodies of the workforce retire.
Ryan Theil is national sales manager of NDT and RVI Products at Ashtead Technology. For more information, visit www.ashtead-technology.com