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.

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