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I have a friend who works for Rolls-Royce X-raying machine parts. Many people will not be aware or even consider the fact that this is an activity that takes place. Why would they? We do, after all, take the things that we use every day for granted. But imagine a world where we did not not check for such things.

Why Check Welds?

You have all seen the horror stories about cracks appearing in aeroplanes or high-rise buildings and can imagine the chaos that would ensue if lives were lost because of inadequate materials or products being used. That is why it is important, and in some areas like nuclear plants or in the chemical industry, legally required, to quality-check the products through the use of rigorous testing methods by people who are qualified to perform the tests. We trust people to do this every day in the places where we work and with the items that we use.

Checking Methodologies

Dependent upon the items that are being tested, different methodologies are used by the companies that perform the tests. It is important, if your company is not in a position to perform its own testing, to bring in a professional, qualified, and experienced company to do it for you. They will be able to assure you of the right method for your product type. This will either by destructive or non-destructive and will depend on whether it is practical to destroy part of the product that is being tested. If it is something like a metal beam, it is often not an option to cut out part of the item to test it, and options like X-ray NDT (non-destructive X-rays) can be used by the testers to look for faults instead.

Checking Types

Within each methodology, there are a variety of test types which can be used by the testers. My friend, for instance, is a trained radiographer and spends her days X-raying engines for minute cracks or inconsistencies to ensure that they are fit for purpose and meet specifications. Within the non-destructive methodologies, you will have the option of visual testing, magnetic particle testing, ultrasonic testing, and radiographic testing. If you are going down the route of destructive testing, then you have the option of types such as tensile strength testing and impact testing.

Each testing type has its benefits, and it is important that the person performing the testing understands exactly what it is that they are doing. That is why it is vital that an understanding of the materials and faults that are being looked for is held by the tester. It is a role of trust and responsibility, after all.

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