Tube Inspection Technology
Currently, the most commonly used techniques for inspecting tubes found in heat exchangers are based on invasive testing. Eddy current, magnetic flux leakage, Iris tube inspection and ultrasound-based methods all require a probe to be traversed throughout the entire length of each tube being examined. Over the years, customers have simply become accustomed to the limitations of invasive technology, including:
Delays: Under ideal conditions, invasive technology report inspection times of about 1 minute per tube are often cited, though this rate is very difficult to maintain over an entire shift.
Breakdowns: Probes often get stuck in cases where the tubes have not been cleaned properly, which is difficult to ascertain a priori. Though some flexible probes are currently available, some bends (e.g., U-tubes) are too tight for such probes. In such cases, the tube has to be inspected from both ends.
Configuration issues: Existing NDT-based inspection methods (e.g., ultrasound, eddy current) have difficulty inspecting tubes they cannot traverse due to the configuration or type of material. This is also very costly due to the need for experts to interpret the data and the need to manufacture probes for each specific job.
This system, on the other hand, utilizes non-invasive APR technology to create a “virtual probe”, which can navigate bends, coils, elbows, fittings, etc. without difficulty. This technology lets you test any tube from a single point outside the tube in less than 9 seconds, saving considerable time and resources.