Conventional Non-Destructive Testing at XCEL NDT covers a large portion of the inspection methods offered. These methods include radiography NDT (both digital & computed), dye penetrant testing, magnetic particle testing, visual inspection, and ultrasonic thickness testing. These methods are the foundation that NDT was built on and will continue to be for many years to come.

Conventional industrial radiography is a volumetric examination that utilizes a radioactive isotope’s energy to produce conventional film radiographs of test components, which are similar to the images produced by a medical doctor when examining a patient’s broken bone. This inspection method is one of the most popular when performing weld inspections on new pipeline projects.

Two of the biggest advantages of conventional radiography are:

  • this technique provides a permanent record of the examinations performed
  • It can detect both surface and subsurface defects

Digital radiography systems are becoming a hot trend in the NDT industry.  This newer radiography technology uses active matrix flat panels that are able to convert the digital data into real-time images providing inspection results within seconds of the radiation exposures.


Two of the biggest advantages are:

Digital imaging

Digital imaging

  • digital radiography produces higher quality images than computed radiography
  • conventional radiography essentially instantaneously and allows for two to three times more efficient radiation exposures over the already efficient computed radiography method

Conventional radiography is a great inspection technique, but computed radiography can essentially do everything conventional can but more efficiently and accurately.  Computed radiography cassettes use photo-stimulated luminescence screens to capture the X-ray image, instead of traditional X-ray film.  The CR cassettes are then ran through a reader to convert the data into a digital image file.  These cassettes require a lower exposure to produce the images, which in turn lowers the amount of radiation exposure time on the client's jobsites.

Two of the biggest advantages are:

  • less radiation exposure required the safer our client's jobsites are for all personnel onsite
  • the technicians can provide more in depth analysis of the digital images which can be shared easily with today's technology

Visual inspection is the oldest NDT method of them all.  It is literally the only inspection method that is utilized prior to any other inspection techniques being used.  The purpose of the inspection is for the technician to  detect any surface discontinuities using his visual senses alone.  Tools can be utilized to increase the probablity of detection such as lighting tools to provide the necessary light and cleaning tools to ensure the test surfaces are clean enough to detect the possible discontinuities.

The single biggest advantage of VT:

  • few tools required to perform the inspection thus the low cost involved

Ultrasonic Thickness testing utilizes high frequency sound energy to produce highly accurate thickness measurements.  This technology can be utilized in most industries and can have substantial cost savings over alternative thickness measuring techniques.

Two of the biggest advantages are:

  • only single sided access is required of the test piece
  • Ultrasound is extremely safe to be around

Dye penetrant testing may be one of the simplest inspection methods in the NDT word, but it is also one of the most widely used.  When it comes to inspecting components for the surface breaking discontinuities, on non-porous materials, penetrant testing is one to the best and most efficient methods available. By simply allowing a dyed liquid to penetrate any open voids present on the test surface, a qualified technician is then able to draw the dyed liquid back out of the voids utilizing developers which reveal the location of the said defects.

Two of the biggest advantages of dye penetrant testing are:

  • it can be performed on essentially any non-porous material
  • it is a very cheap and fast inspection method

Magnetic particle testing is an inspection method that is utilized to detect both surface and very shallow subsurface defects.  This method of inspection is the fastest to detect these types of flaws. By utilizing a magnetic field and small magnetic particles, indications are formed on the surface directly over the defect locations.  Since the magnetic field is required, all test materials must be ferromagnetic (easily magnetized).  The shape and form of these ferromagnetic materials is not important and has no limitation to the inspections.

Two of the biggest advantages of magnetic particle testing are:

  • the speed of which the inspections can be performed
  • the low cost associated with the testing