Person who has the biggest influence on your life?
Dr Wilfred Kent, a missionary from the USA who devoted his life to missionary work in South Africa. I have spent a lot of time with him doing Bible study and learning Biblical counselling from him. He does a lot of good work in South Africa and on a personal level, I have learned a lot from him about being a father and a husband, as well as living as a Christian.
Person who has the biggest influence on your NDT career?
I have the utmost respect for those who have dedicated their careers to the advancement of NDT, as well as those who have flown the NDT banner high. I was fortunate enough to work for an NDT stalwart at British Airways at the end of his NDT career. His name is Harold Halls, and he was instrumental in the development of the Barkhausen noise NDT technique on undercarriage parts from Concorde through the Airbus and Boeing aircraft series. He was one of those who worked behind the scenes and never took credit for the hours of input and development of the method.
He was a mentor who gave me a passion for quality and drive in my choice of NDT as a career.
There are other people career - back home in South Africa - who have also had a big influence on my career:
- From the start of my career André Aspeling taught me that doing the job right, neatly and safely was paramount to conducting NDT.
- From development and research as well as dedication to our industry, I hold Manfred Johannes in extremely high esteem.
- Ben Beetge is someone I look up to and respect. He stands out for me as someone to aspire to as an NDT Level III.
How did you begin your career in NDT?
I started working NDT in late 1989, working as an “appie” at Unit Inspection in Wadeville. I started out working for Andre Fouché and then Dries de Bruin. I was fresh out of the army with the world at my feet. I met many interesting characters in those times. And I tell friends and family many interesting facts and stories of daily life at Wadeville in those days. It was quite an eye opener for me, as some of the conditions that we worked under, or were expected to work under, were quite difficult, but this certainly added to the wealth of experience that can be shared with the new generation of NDT technicians whose paths I cross. Safety regulations have tightened up somewhat since then and the whole outlook on NDT from a quality stand point has changed - which is great to see.
I was introduced to NDT through a friend’s mother, as an interim way to make some money as a young man without a clue of what career path I wanted to purse. This “job” was just to create a little nest egg until I could find what I wanted to do with my life and then move on. So here I am a quarter of a century later and still loving it! How many of us in NDT have uttered those words, and still we find out years later we are still in the world of NDT. I must say though, I really enjoy what I do and am like many others who introduce their sons into NDT as well.
What are your current qualifications?
- MT Level III PCN
- PT Level III PCN
- ET Level III PCN
- MT Level III Airbus
- PT Level III Airbus
- UT Level III Airbus
- MT Level III ASNT
- PT Level III ASNT
- UT Level III ASNT
- ET Level III ASNT
- RT Level III ASNT
- MT Level III EN4179/NAS410 (independent NANDTB accredited)
- PT Level III EN4179/NAS410 (independent NANDTB accredited)
- UT metallics Level III EN4179/NAS410 (independent NANDTB accredited)
- UT composites Level III EN4179/NAS410 (independent NANDTB accredited)
- ET Level III EN4179/NAS410 (independent NANDTB accredited)
- IR/ thermography Level III ISO 18436-7
- EMAT trainer (Level III does not yet exist)
- Phased Array Level II PCN
- TOFD Level II (PCN training)
Which Method do you enjoy most and why?
I have a passion for Electromagnetic Testing. The applications of this method are so diverse, there is so much unchartered territory as the applications for use increases. It is finding its way into most industrial sectors - where the initial progress and development was for the aerospace industry. Modern development has found confidence in this method because of applications on permeable materials. Previous inconsistencies on ferromagnetic materials precluded eddy current inspections - except where magnetic saturation techniques could be employed.
Advancements in techniques like SLOFEC (Saturated Low Frequency Eddy Current), Eddy Current Arrays, ACFM (Alternating Field Current Measurement) etc. are certainly creating some interesting advancements in the capabilities of the Electromagnetic Testing Technique in terms of material testing as well as the depth of detected defects.
What Industries or Sectors have you been involved in?
- Oil & Gas
- Paper mill
- Power generation
What are your biggest challenges in NDT?
For me there has always been an issue between production and NDT. Whether in a manufacturing or in-service inspection industries, the balance between productivity and quality has always posed challenges. Production will always pressurise the inspection process to ensure deadlines are met, when minimum time is often given to a quality inspection process
Most humorous NDT incident that you can remember?
During the early 1990s, Adrian Crozier (a colleague) and I were conducting a fluorescent magnetic particle inspection inside an LPG storage vessel in the town of Warmbaths. It was in the heat of the day and we were both inside the vessel in the dark. So picture the scene: it must have been 35°C outside, so it was baking inside this dark vessel, which we could not stand up in. We were spraying fluorescent Magnetic Particle ink inside this vessel, our rubber safety boots were slipping all over the place. Extension cables for yoke and the lamps were tripping us up. Added to this the UV lamp got so hot that every now and then your ear got burned by your inspection buddy moving the light closer for you to see your inspection area. Not to mention that at this point even the slightest bump to the UV lamp made the vapour arc go out and that would be the end of inspection work until the lamp cooled down. (The joys of NDT!).
So we were inspecting the dome weld on the dish end, obviously kneeling/squatting and slipping and we are virtually shoulder to shoulder with each other, Adrian with the yoke and the spray and me holding the lamp (with hands burning on the handle) and me burning Adrian’s cheeks and ears with the filter of the lamp. While all the time, breathing in the paraffin vapours in this small vessel without extraction sweating and slipping all over the place.
All of a sudden, Adrian bumped his forehead on the thermocouple (luckily it did not put his eye out), He got such a fright that he hit at the thermocouple with the tin of 8530. Now, bearing in mind we were in pitch dark he hit the thermocouple dead centre into the base of the spray can. And the spray can exploded. In the dark not knowing what had happened, we both scrambled away and out.
Within seconds, we had both made it through the manhole simultaneously and were standing outside in the heat of the day unscratched.
Our eyes were as big as saucers as we both stood there in silence for a few moments contemplating what had happened. And in shock that we were still alive. After a few moments and each knocking back a 1 litre Coke in seconds, we investigated - both from a humorous and safety perspective - what had happened! We had a good laugh at the whole situation.
I am part of the BBC (Born Before Computers) group of technology-challenged people, so in terms of advanced computers as well as computer and phone applications, it is and will be interesting to see how the technology advancement continues into NDT. I would love to see how many “apps” can be developed in the NDT field. Certainly as those youngsters with NDT experience as well as technology knowledge, can certainly bring these two together and we can expect some major leaps forward in inspections as we know them.
A must-visit NDT website that you recommend?
Ndt-ed.org is an interactive educational NDT website that the creators have encouraged trainers and students to use as a basis for beginner NDT learning as well as intermediate and interactive learning.