What are your current qualifications?
Currently I hold five Level III qualifications in MT, PT, UT, EC and VT, all of which were preceded by time at Level II. I also have done Phased Array, Civa and a lot of automated scanning work.
How do you keep up with technology in your specialisation of NDT?
Technology is always showing us new and exciting ways of performing NDT, so I always try to keep up with the latest trends. I find keeping in touch with my colleagues always handy in finding out about new technology. NDT conferences are equally helpful, but the internet plays a big part in learning about the latest technology.
In which areas do you specialise?
Personally I feel that specialising in one particular aspect of NDT is not optimum and actually limits yourself as an NDT practitioner. NDT is a very broad game and one has to be thoroughly familiar with all aspects in order to be great at any single aspect of it. Having said that, my focus at the moment is on NDT training.
How were you introduced to NDT? / How did you begin your career in NDT?
I am a second generation NDT technician and therefore I was introduced to NDT at a very early age by my father. I can recall being in Grade 1 and being shown magnetic flux lines by my dad who was doing his MT Level I at the time. I began my career in NDT helping my dad as an unpaid assistant when he would go out on jobs during the weekends. That early exposure is what peaked my curiosity and lead me into NDT.
Which method do you enjoy most and why?
For me it has got to be UT. UT and all its branches, such as Phased Array is something that is very challenging but always highly rewarding. Every step of evolution in terms of technology is always exciting and if you look at the amazing ability of the latest developments such as the Total Focusing Method (TFM), you will be blown away at how far UT has come in recent years.
What Industries or Sectors have you been involved in?
I have been involved in all sectors and industry from mining to nuclear. Most of my time as an NDT Technician has been spent either in manufacturing or in-service power generation.
What are your biggest challenges in NDT?
The biggest challenge in NDT is the standard of the technician. Increasing the knowledge base of the technician as well as their ability to be inspectors of high integrity is what industry needs, not simply more technicians that are only focused on money. Too many veteran technicians are taking their secrets and tricks of the trade to the grave and leaving the new guys to figure it out for themselves. The challenge here is to create a culture within NDT where such knowledge is freely shared.
Most humorous NDT incident that you can remember?
Anyone that worked as an NDT contractor will have many humorous incidents to recall, but those usually involve inappropriate after-hours behaviour! As for purely NDT humour, I remember once while working on a power generation steam turbine that required demagnetisation an urgent meeting was called to discuss how to proceed, as the demagnetisation unit was out of order. After much deliberation on how to proceed the supervisor (who was not an NDT technician) calmly insisted that we simply take the turbine to the de-mag machine. Turns out this de-mag machine he spoke about was actually an overhead DEMAG workshop crane...
My hope for the future is that NDT in South Africa is raised to such a level that the entire world would look upon us as the best there is.
Person who has the biggest influence on your NDT career?
That has got to be Hugh Neeson, a man who was not liked by many because he was always blunt and apparently tactless, yet his dedication to NDT was (and still is) absolute. Anyone that goes for a new Level III course after retirement as he did, is someone that shows you that you should always be willing to learn more and never stop trying to better yourself.
A must-visit NDT website that you recommend?
There are so many out there and all equally good. However, for NDT in South Africa I always suggest to everyone that they visit "NDT South Africa" on Facebook, which is not technically a website but is highly relevant to us in SA. I have to admit though that I am a bit biased to that page as I am an Administrator for the Facebook page!