Blog: Ultrasonic Shear Wave Technology Addresses Circumferential Cracking

NDT Global's Southern and Eastern European sales manager, Jose Miguel Garcia Sanchez, shares some insights into a recent inline inspection of a 65-year-old hydrogen seamless pipeline.

Poor welding techniques can come back to haunt you, as was the case when an Italian refinery identified anomalies in their 65-year-old hydrogen seamless pipelines. One such anomaly had turned out to be a 60 mm (2.4 in.) open crack upon inspection, that didn’t bode well for the remaining sections in the group. The girth weld defects attributable to poor welding technique with lack of penetration and incomplete welds.

The operator tasked pipeline integrity experts, TECMA S.r.l. with managing the inspections of the remaining sections, which were of the same metallurgic origin and service parameters. The pipeline integrity company immediately knew who to call for pipeline inspections. NDT Global has an unparalleled reputation for handling complex, delicate inspections using the most precise nondestructive testing equipment available today. The twist? They wanted it done yesterday.

Expedited Does Not Mean Rushed

Not a problem for us, of course, as every project we undertake is completely customized. To meet the tight deadline and streamline the analysis process, our team agreed not to deliver preliminary reports, aiming instead to prepare a final report for each inspected section.

We set up a dedicated analyst team from our Data Analysis department to manage this inspection. The team performed a complete assessment to determine the best inspection solution in our arsenal. We also set out to keep our clients completely in the loop, holding numerous technical meetings to describe how our selected inspection tool, Evo 1.0 ultrasonic circumferential crack detection would work in this environment, and to explain that this tool was so accurate that only one run per pipeline section would be needed to obtain a complete data set.

Our ultrasonic circumferential crack detection tool uses ultrasonic shear wave technology to address circumferential cracking defects, diffracting shear wave signals traveling at a 45° angle at internal or external flaws. Of course, since one run per section was sufficient and could be accomplished in 15 days, we were able to further accelerate the timeline, meeting the client’s requirement for an expedited process.

Following the inspection, data analysis took only four weeks and identified crack-like anomalies; verified weld anomalies, including lack of fusion, lack of penetration, weld misalignments; localized metal loss at guided-wave-detected, heat-affected zone, and mid-wall anomalies. The client praised the preciseness with which we were able to highlight, pinpoint, and categorize the areas in need of attention in such a short amount of time, and we’re looking forward to an ongoing relationship in which we can continue to bring our expertise to bear.

If you'd like to learn more about Evo 1.0 ultrasonic circumferential crack detection, feel free to send me an email at

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