How Robotics is Revolutionising Non-Destructive Testing of Coatings

In civil, manufacturing, nautical and aerospace industries, a variety of coatings are used to help protect equipment from the damaging effects of corrosion. As with most technology in these industries, coatings are required to undergo regular non-destructive testing to ensure they are fit for use and do not facilitate unnecessary risks to the safety of equipment or personnel. Advancements in robotics technology has made NDT in these areas far easier as non-human operators can carry out testing in hard-to-reach areas without exposing themselves to hazards. Robotics technology also creates new jobs as manufacturing, operating,maintenance and analysis teams are needed to safely perform non-destructive testing using this equipment. 

Why Is Robotics Equipment Popular in NDT? 

Safety and accuracy are the two primary priorities of engineers who are designated to perform non-destructive testing of coatings. As mentioned, robots such as crawlers and drones can far-more-easily access difficult areas during inspections, making them safer to use in these cases than human counterparts. They are also less-affected by toxic environments which would require specialist safety equipment to be navigated by human operators. Robots are also capable of carrying out NDT tasks to a far greater degree of accuracy than is achievable via human testing. A surplus of data can be easily collected by a robot which gives analysts more to work with during evaluation of coating materials. 

Examples of Robotics Technology Applications in NDT 

  1. Climbing robots can be used by safety inspection teams to scale the exterior of bridges and ensure cable coatings are thick and durable enough to withstand the weather. 
  2. Crawlers equipped with high-resolution cameras and light detection and ranging technology have been used to inspect dams more efficiently than humans. 
  3. Autonomous submarines can regulate underwater infrastructure for problems such as potential leaks in pipelines, corrosion, etc. 

The Growth of Robotics Industries 

Since 2015-2020, the number of robots employed compared to the number of humans employed has almost doubled; to approximately 126 robot workers per 10,000 human staff. Europe and Asia have been particularly fast at adopting robotics technologies. 

While stereotypes portray robots as having a negative effect on employment figures, in reality, robotics industries create a demand for manufacturers, operators, maintenance staff and analysts. The development of the robotics industry does necessitate some upskilling on the part of NDT equipment operators, however this has always been the nature of the NDT industry; an industry hallmarked by rapid advancements in technology. 

Contact NDT Australia Today To Buy Testing Equipment 

If you are looking for non-destructive testing equipment to evaluate equipment in your civil, manufacturing, nautical or aerospace project, check out NDT Australia’s online store. We supply a range of NDT technology, including ultrasonic thickness testing , magnetic particle testing, liquid penetrant testing and radiographic testing equipment across Australia. We are open for business Monday to Friday, 7:30am to 4:00pm. Contact our friendly sales team on (02) 9524 0558 to ask any questions or to place an order for any of the products listed on our online store.