Digital Transformation for NDT Businesses at NDTMA Conference

Imagine if you could design your own software solution that could digitally transform the operational management of your inspection business.

A solution that takes all of your paper forms, your customer documents, your technician details, your equipment and consumable information including costs and rates and bundles them into an easy to use, task driven system. A solution that would allow you to connect with your customers to share project status and information. A solution that let’s you quote and create jobs, automatically dispatch the jobs with all required forms and reports directly to your technician’s laptop or mobile device. A solution where your technicians no longer need to capture their work on paper and waste time transferring the information to an Excel or Word form.

Would having a simple, easy to use and cost effect tool like this help take your business to the next level?

You don’t have to imagine such a solution any longer. It is available from Floodlight SoftwareCome by Booth 4 next week at the Nondestructive Testing Management Association Conference expo and see how our software was designed by NDT Operations Managers and Level III technicians to help you automate your inspection business.

We are looking forward to this great event put on by the NDTMA.

Floodlight Software Presenting at American Welding Society (AWS) Inspection Conference

The Floodlight Software team will be on hand both presenting and exhibiting at the American Welding Society (AWS) Inspection Conference Jan. 21-23 in Houston, TX. Held at the Hyatt Regency, this conference is a joint effort from the AWS, the American Society of Nondestructive Testing (ASNT), the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE), and the American Institute of Nondestructive Testing (AINDT).

These organizations are joining forces to explore the latest trends in corrosion engineering, NDT, steel construction and welding inspections.

In addition to topics on inspection methods, techniques and equipment, the idea of “Digital Transformation of NDT businesses” will certainly be top of mind for inspection companies looking to stay a step ahead of the competition.

If you are attending the AWS Inspection Conference and are interested in learning more about how technology can improve your business, please join us for a presentation titled “The Operational Value of Digitizing the NDT Inspection Process.” This interactive presentation will be given by Floodlight Software’s own Bruce Breeden at 11:30 am on Wednesday, Jan. 22, in Arboretum 1-4.

In this session, Bruce will outline how to approach digital transformation by mapping the end-to-end processes and critical steps necessary to streamline an NDT business and deliver better service to your customers.

Visit our product tour page to learn more about our cloud-based inspection management platform, which can digitally transform your inspection business from quote to cash.

What is NDE 4.0 and Why is it Important?

There is a new and rapidly developing landscape in non-destructive evaluation (NDE) and nondestructive testing (NDT) called NDE 4.0. This movement toward digital transformation has the potential to drastically shift how NDE is performed in the field and how NDE / NDT businesses operate on a macro level.

To understand what NDE 4.0 is and why it’s important to both practitioners and business owners, it is first necessary to understand from where this phrase and operating practice originated.

NDE 4.0 is modeled after Industry 4.0, which has its roots in German manufacturing. Industry 4.0 is known as a subset of the fourth industrial revolution. At its essence, Industry 4.0 is the practice of automating manufacturing processes with technologies like machine learning, cyber physical systems (CPS), digital twins, the internet of things (iOT), cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI).

For example, Industry 4.0 smart factories rely on automated machines and sensors that are connected to computer systems, allowing them to collect data, learn from the data, and then finally make production decisions.

As a forward-looking twin sister of Industry 4.0, NDE 4.0 gets a great introduction and in-depth explanation from researchers at Iowa State University in a white paper titled “NDE 4.0—NDE for the 21st Century—The Internet of Things and Cyber Physical Systems will Revolutionize NDE.

The paper states that aspects of NDE 4.0 include: 3D volume data creation and management of large files, component live data files, management of big data, real time monitoring of structure integrity, reliable inspection of individual components, NDE planning and interpretation based on modelling, and remote NDE to include expertise not available on site.

According to the paper’s authors: “NDE has to follow these trends by not only adapting NDE techniques to the new technologies, but also introducing the capability of digital systems into the inspection and maintenance processes.”

Now, based on their levels of NDE 4.0 adoption, NDT companies can harness the power of digital transformation to become more valuable to customers, more efficient in their operations, and more competitive with others in the field.

Future NDE 4.0 platforms will integrate these advanced testing instruments into a single source of record, automate inspection operations practices, improve workforce recruitment and training, and provide better customer experiences.

To learn more about NDE 4.0, listen to the NDE 4.0 Podcast: 5 Questions for an NDE / NDT Expert.

To take a deeper dive into digital transformation for NDT / NDE, download our white paper: The Business Value of Digitizing Industrial Inspection Processes.

At Floodlight Software, we look forward to the maturation of NDE 4.0, as we help to create a practical roadmap to reality for NDE and NDT businesses, allowing them to become more profitable while better serving customers. Visit our product tour page to learn more about our cloud-based inspection management platform.

How NDT Management Software (SaaS) Is Making Pipeline Inspections Safer

There are roughly 3 million miles of pipelines distributing oil, natural gas, and other hazardous liquids across the United States. This dispersed network weaves across North America and grows in complexity depending on the geographical abundance or dearth of natural resources. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), this tangled web of steel and plastic is under-regulated and generally not safe. 

In the last decade, the gas and oil pipeline industry has fallen prey to an alarming loss of lives, injuries, and financial damages. Consider the following data compiled from 2009 through the end of 2018 by FracTracker, an industry reporting group. As a direct result of pipeline fires and explosions during this period, there were:

  • More than 5,500 incidents
  • Almost 600 injuries
  • 126 fatalities
  • $4 billion in damages
  • More than 30,000 people that needed to be evacuated

According to FracTracker, 1.7 pipeline incidents are reported each day in the U.S., requiring 9 people to be evacuated, and causing almost $1.3 million in property damage.

And to make matters worse, this data is not even close to being comprehensive. As reported by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), just 5 percent of gas gathering pipelines are subject to safety regulations. With the number of pipelines in the hundreds of thousands in oil fields across the country, gathering pipelines are largely unregulated. 

Clearly this situation is a major safety concern for the environment and the general public, but also for those on the frontlines servicing, inspecting and performing non-destructive tests on these potentially volatile assets. These modern-day heroes are out performing the work that can prevent accidents and save lives. 

Despite the critical nature of the work and high customer expectations, many NDT businesses still rely on manual processes for service delivery, both in the back-office and in the field. Paper forms are prevalent and create problems in getting accurate and timely information to customers.

With the recent innovations in data capture, including drones, sensors and barcode or RFID scanners, NDT businesses can now take advantage of a long list of technologies to help them serve customers better and keep pipelines safe. 

In light of the new technology that is popping up, software, long one of the easiest ways for businesses to streamline processes, has become almost an afterthought. Perhaps that is due to the siloed nature of business software, requiring integrations in order to interface with other software used in the business or by the NDT teams themselves. 

There are many types of highly specialized NDT software on the market today, each with unique value adds. Most are highly specialized and focus on the tests themselves, allowing an efficient way to both perform NDT and record the results.

Cloud based software subscriptions, or software as a service (SaaS), is also beginning to penetrate the NDT market, and for good reason. The ability to capture data from the field in real-time and push it into one system of record is invaluable.

In our work with NDT inspection companies, we have witnessed several ways in which NDT software can help you better serve your end customers. This will in turn prevent even more pipeline accidents, saving lives and irreparable environmental damage. 

Some of these improvements include:

  • Making field inspectors / testers safer
  • Making field inspectors / testers more productive
  • Enhanced collaboration
  • More accurate data capture
  • Better business decisions
  • Better communications with customers
  • Better customer service
  • More timely reporting
  • Always available data
  • Increased data security
  • Easy data access and recovery
  • Low administration and overhead
  • Low price point
  • Fast time to value
  • Reduced costs
  • Improved DSO
  • Improved time to cash

If you want to make your NDT inspections business better, safer, and more profitable, moving from manual, paper-based processes to one process of automation via software is crucial. To learn more about cloud-based NDT software for your business, visit our solutions page

Digital Transformation at the ASNT Annual Conference

We are only a few short weeks away from the ASNT Annual Conference in Las Vegas. It’s a great forum for exchanging knowledge and learning about the latest advances in the NDT industry.

In addition to topics on test methodologies, techniques, and equipment, the idea of “digital transformation” will certainly be top of mind for companies looking to stay a step ahead of the competition.

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Automating Industrial Inspections and NDT with Cloud-Based Software

As the NDT inspection market becomes an increasingly critical element of the global economy, the way industrial inspections companies deploy software needs to evolve. With a wide range of software available to the inspections and NDT markets, it is common for an organization to use disparate systems that don’t integrate, compromising productivity, customer service and competitive advantage. All too often, an industrial inspections service provider is unable to grow their business because they do not have the appropriate systems in place to manage their customers across the entire lifecycle.

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Three Critical KPIs for NDT Inspections Companies

For NDT inspections companies, performing safe, accurate industrial inspections is a complex endeavor. Business operations can be difficult to keep in synch when you factor in quoting, scheduling, change order management, customer reporting and billing.

Depending on a company’s size and the inspections it performs, many NDT inspections firms have several enterprise applications deployed. These are generally applications that process, store and visualize data, and they are often specialized and lack integration capabilities. This often results in a lack of visibility into what’s occurring at the job site — how long a job took to complete, what equipment was used, who performed the work, and more.

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Four Ways Software as a Service (Saas) Can Grow Your NDT Business

Non-destructive testing companies operate in extremely specialized business landscapes, often making it difficult to differentiate their service offerings from those of their competitors.

Their end customers — be they in industries like aerospace, manufacturing, oil and gas, or renewable energy — all need similar tests and inspections performed for compliance and to keep their assets and equipment environmentally safe and operating at optimal capacity.

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