Non-Destructive Testing: A Rapidly Growing Industry
November 1, 2016
What is Non-Destructive Testing?
Non-destructive testing (NDT) is an increasingly integral part of construction and maintenance operations. NDT involves the inspection, testing, and evaluation of materials and structures – both above and below the water level – without causing damage to the structure or overall system. NDT is essential in the adherence of quality assurance standards and can help save companies money and time in their product evaluation, troubleshooting, and research. Just as a developing baby can be examined via ultrasound, non-destructive testing methods allow quality-assurance inspectors to check the structural health of pipelines, train tracks, bridges, foundations, and many other infrastructures.
A Shortage in the Field: Technicians and Specialists Needed
The field’s increasing demand has created an abundance of career opportunities, with industry professionals projecting that nearly 80,000 NDT technician positions are becoming available worldwide. There are three levels of certifications in the NDT world. Level I is comprised of technicians who are qualified to perform specific calibrations and tests under close supervision. Level II represents technicians and experienced technicians who have the qualifications to calibrate testing equipment and conduct inspections according to codes. Those certified at Level III (the level at which Marty Anderson, GTS Program Manager, and the majority of GTS staff are certified) are specialized and can establish NDT techniques and help to interpret codes and standards.
Non-destructive testing is in great need of skilled workers. As Anderson explains, “For every five Level II technicians who retire, only one places them. And for Level III technicians such as myself, it’s a 7:1 ratio.” The field offers the chance to work with the latest technologies, such as computerized radiography and ultrasound. NDT technicians can specialize in any of the 13 different methods or generalize in them all. The job also provides the chance to travel the globe and offers constant project variation. No day is the same as the last. Anderson commented, “One day you could be working on railroad tracks, the next you could be hanging off a high-rise doing ultrasonics.”
How Global Fills the Gap
Global’s technical service offering (Global Technical Services, or GTS) is on the forefront of non-destructive testing. Marty Anderson, GTS Program Manager, leads the company’s growing division. “We give clients the assurance that their project will work for the intended time and environment,” he noted.
GTS utilizes the latest technologies and techniques, but what sets Global apart is their skilled, experienced people. Anderson explains, “We not
only have experts in every area, but we’ve also been the client; so we really understand what the client needs and wants.” GTS is staffed by professionals from such companies as BP and Saudi Aramco. They bring deep knowledge and experience with the latest NDT methods, as well as OSHA and other regulations in the nations and districts in which they operate.
Deirdre Gross, Global’s Alaska Region General Manager and GTS Manager explains that GTS’ NDT offerings help to broaden the scope of work that Global can offer to their clients. “We have a history as a diving company,” Gross said, “but GTS broadens our capabilities. We do extensive work in the oil and gas industries and now we’re able to carry that further, in addition to work in the aviation and utility sectors with clients like Pacific Gas & Electric.”
GTS is expanding into more non- diving areas such as aviation and
inland operations, including coal plants. A regular client, Pacific Gas & Electric of California originally reached out to GTS for an NDT inspection, which then blossomed into multiple, ongoing assignments. These projects are also opening doors to more undersea diving construction and salvage jobs. NDT is a rapidly growing industry, and GTS is at the forefront of the progress.
Read the full case study here.