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A Look At Where The NDT Industry Is Heading

Things are happening in the nondestructive testing (NDT) equipment industry and research indicates some interesting trends for the years ahead.

A study done by Frost & Sullivan estimated the global NDT equipment market at close on $1.5 billion in 2012, with compound annual growth at just over eight percent.  The market is mature with two companies, namely GE Measurement and Control Solutions and Olympus NDT Inc dominating one half of the market with the remaining 50% occupied by over 150 different organisations.  GE Measurement offers a far greater range across the various NDT technology segments than any other competitor, including product lines in radiographic testing, ultrasonic, magnetic and electromagnetic, visual and penetrant testing.

The study found that ultrasonic testing was the largest market segment, accounting for 31.1% of revenue, closely followed by radiography with 30.3%.  Visual inspection came in third, contributing 21.3% to market revenue.  Interestingly however, this is expected to change over the next five years with radiography tipped to take over the top spot despite the fact that the volumes of ultrasonic test equipment are anticipated to be significantly higher than radiography.   But because the average price of ultrasonic equipment is declining at a faster rate, the revenue generated by radiography will increase at a faster rate and is expected to reach a compounded annual growth rate of 8.7%.

The market is also characterised by a slow rate of technological change, but nevertheless, there have been some significant advancements in the fields of phased array ultrasound, digital radiography and remote visual inspection (RVI).  The study noted that there had been an overall increase in adoption of advanced NDT technologies, with conventional technologies also evolving steadily as ongoing equipment design enables improved performance and enhanced functionality.

As the costs and challenges of building new infrastructure escalate, the need to prolong the useful life of existing assets becomes ever more critical.  In fact, the most significant influence driving growth in the NDT equipment market is the need to operate ageing assets at high capacities for longer.    The increased maintenance levels required to do this are fuelling an enormous demand for NDT inspection which in turn, is driving growth in the NDT equipment market.

Whilst this heightened demand for inspection is a positive future trend, it will be impacted by a skills shortage in the NDT industry.  This is a global trend and is seen as a major obstacle to industry growth.  Many technicians don’t have the requisite skills to fulfil inspections to the appropriate quality standards and they often haven’t been trained on the latest equipment.   This shortcoming has however, been acknowledged by some of the NDT equipment manufacturers which have already established independent training centres for upskilling technicians.

There are clearly interesting times ahead for the global NDT industry and whilst there are some challenges, there are many exciting opportunities and the upward growth trends and rapidly evolving technologies will benefit both the equipment manufacturers and the end-users.

Nexxis is a leading supplier of specialist NDT equipment, offering customer support and training, flexible payment models and innovative solutions. Get in touch with our team to discuss how we can collaborate to deliver the best solutions for your projects.

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