Summer 2018

Aerospace approvals take JFNDT from X-ray film to digital

James Fisher NDT (JFNDT) receives Prime Approval from two aerospace manufacturers allowing use of computed radiography (CR) to process their aerospace components.

Back in spring 2016 we reported in Pelican that JFNDT was expanding its state-of-the-art diagnostics test facility in north Wales to include a sophisticated CR system to work alongside conventional x-ray facilities.

Now two additional major aerospace manufacturers have joined Airbus in giving Prime Approval to JFNDT, allowing use of CR to test its aerospace components.

The accreditation means NDT will start to use CR to test a wide range of aircraft components instead of traditional x-ray film.

The approval process took three months of preparation. It included demonstrating a selection of CR NDT techniques designed to be compliant with the two manufacturers’ specifications.  Representatives from both of the aerospace giant’s visited JFNDTS’s facilities to see the techniques in action and view the wider laboratory. This was followed-up with a full audit of the testing processes used.

Prime Approval from these latest manufacturers moves JFNDT forward with the transition from film to digital. 

Vikki Urwin, Digital Radiography Level 3 at JFNDT says:

‘The aerospace industry is very stringent so it is a testament to the quality of our systems, procedures and quality assurance that we’ve received this vote of confidence in the CR technology from three major manufacturers.’

‘These approvals are a positive sign that the market is ready to make the change to digital and it puts JFNDT, together with our team of experienced radiographers and with backing from our current suppliers, right at the forefront of this move as a major industry player.’

‘About 70% of our x-ray testing will be digital once the latest customer testing starts on CR, and the hope is that this will open the door for other companies who currently use film with us to move to the new technology.’

CR is an ‘indirect image capture’ method that uses storage phosphor imaging plates (IPs) instead of conventional x-ray film. The reusable IP is then processed through a scanner which reads and digitises the x-ray signal so it can be interpreted on screen using specialised viewing software.

The CR technique offers a more environmentally friendly alternative that promises faster results, reduced costs, more convenient storage and greater flexibility.

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