NASHVILLE — From discovering the hidden brushstrokes behind a renaissance artist’s painting, to calculating the porosity of an alloy printed part, tools used for every nondestructive testing application were on display at the American Society of Nondestructive Testing Annual Conference in Nashville. Experts from around the country and world descended on the city for the event.

Attendees had the opportunity to walk the exhibit hall Monday evening through Wednesday afternoon. On the show floor there were more than a hundred exhibitors that serve the various markets where NDT is indispensable, including energy, aerospace and other manufacturing sectors. Attendees who registered for full access could also choose from a week of technical programming and other informational sessions.

To grow the next generation of engineers and technicians, ASNT hosted a large group of high school students at the conference, offering eight hands-on, educational stations covering ultrasonic testing, infrared, and radiographic testing (not hands on, of course), among others.

Wes Wren, director of global sales for North Star Imaging, stood near the company’s booth and took note of the STEM student being led through the convention isles. He sees a healthy NDT field, and opportunity for employment.

“There’s a big need for employees in this industry, there tends to be a shortage,” he said. “It’s good that we’re growing in automotive and aerospace with more quality testing, and we need more quality students.”

Industry Trends

Talk to any organization and real-time data transfers, cloud storage and streaming video we’re likely to come up in conversation.

NDT field technicians and their colleagues want equipment capable of sending the inspection report and data to the cloud for storage, and then to the office for error-free reporting and analysis. If the inspection data is sent automatically, it removes possible human error from the middle of the equation, eliminating the need to re-verify.

Innovation Forum

In addition to the keynote address delivered by CEO and Musician Robin Crow, lectures by Mehl Honor Awardee Richard Bossi and AATA Founder John Stewart, and several dozen technical program sessions, industry leaders showed the newest ideas and tools in the Innovation Forum. Topics included large-format, flat-panel computed tomography by Jesse Garant Metrology Center; the latest in hand-held ultrasonic thickness gaging by Dan Carnevale of Danatronics; and “How Digitization Optimizes the Process Management in Inspecion Services in Aerospace,” among others.

Upcoming Shows

The Annual Conference is the biggest of seven shows the membership organization produces each year, in addition to the Spring Research Symposium and several technology-specific events. In July 2018, the quadrennial Japan-U.S. NDT Symposium will take place in Oahu, HI.

The call for abstracts for the event is currently open. The submission deadline is Jan. 26. Notices of acceptance will be sent March, 12, and the manuscript deadline is April 6.

For more coverage of the ASNT Annual Conference, listen to Quality’s podcast interview with Carestream Vice President and Global General Manager Martin Graen and Paul Biver, Carestream director of marketing and business development.