Original Date: 06/23/1997
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Nondestructive Testing Program
In July 1995, Letterkenny Army Depot (LEAD) invested $24,000 to have its Nondestructive Testing (NDT) Program Manager certified for Level III NDT for Radiographic, Magnetic Particle, and Penetrant through the American Society of Nondestructive Testing (ASNT). An analysis of the cost savings showed that a payback to LEAD for this expenditure occurred every two and one-half months by providing in-house NDT procedure approval and training. This has saved money and simplified the NDT process in lieu of outside Level III support.
The repair activities at LEAD rely on the NDT Laboratory for important daily piece-part verification. The Depot did not have a certified Level III on-site; the NDT Program relied on the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) at Watertown, Massachusetts for NDT training, procedure preparation, and approval. When the ARL was closed and moved to Aberdeen Test Center, Aberdeen, Maryland, only one Level III was available for training. This change and distance from Aberdeen Test Center caused LEAD to either develop and certify a Level III, or contract with an outside agency.
LEAD selected the NDT Program Manager as the person to be trained and take the ASNT Level III certification examinations in Radiographic, Magnetic Particle, and Penetrant Testing. Total estimated cost for training and certification examinations was $24,000 and required more than six months of dedicated study on the Program Manager’s part. Listed below are a few of the many benefits of this decision:
Converted the conventional Radiographic requirement to real time x-ray for the Paladin travel lock, reducing testing time from 14.2 to four hours per Paladin.
Coordinated the elimination of x-ray requirements on the Paladin gun mount projections where Magnetic Particle and Radiographic testing had been performed. LEAD’s Level III convinced Paladin Program Management that weld integrity could be ensured by Magnetic Particle alone. This change reduced eight hours of verification time per Paladin.
Changed the method of inspection from Penetrant to Magnetic Particle on the M198 Towed Howitzer cradle to reduce man-hours from twenty to two per M198 Howitzer. This practice also reduced hazardous materials normally involved in stripping paint and repainting.
In FY97, 51 new NDT procedures were developed and another 50 are under review. Process changes are underway which include increasing the sensitivity level of the Post Emulsified Penetrant Immersion system from two to three. A new penetrant is being used that is biodegradable, making it more environmentally friendly.
Several test methods involve high amperage flow to detect metal fatigue. LEAD’s testing has identified individual cases where the testing was designed by formula which was not as thorough as it could have been. The situations identified could not have been discovered without actually performing the test on a piece-by-piece basis. The resulting NDT has the ability to prevent catastrophic failures in the field.
LEAD has trained and certified base personnel on equipment they are familiar with eliminating the need to travel to distant training sites.
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