Shobhendu Prabhakar’s picture

By: Shobhendu Prabhakar

Although remote inspection has been a topic of discussion in the oil and gas industry in the past, it has recently been getting more attention during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many oil and gas operators, as well as engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractors and suppliers have come forward to discuss this topic with an open mind and explore possibilities. Remote inspection is perhaps the need of the hour, but it can also be the future of inspection.

What is remote inspection?

Remote inspection is an alternative to an onsite physical inspection in which the person performs inspection activities remotely using sophisticated technological tools. It’s many benefits include:
• Elimination of personnel risk exposure to hazardous conditions and dangerous tasks in harsh environments
• Global collaboration and optimization of workforce use
• Inspection cost reduction
• Real-time feedback
• Flexibility
• Eco-friendly by helping to reduce overall global carbon footprint

Success factors for remote inspection

Vision
“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?
—Henry David Thoreau

Ron Cowen’s picture

By: Ron Cowen

NIST physicist Zachary Levine doesn’t cook that often, but when he does, it can easily turn into a science experiment.

Two years ago, after he and his wife had endured a week of under-baked cookies and chicken that took forever to roast, Levine wasn’t content to simply recalibrate his oven according to the manufacturer’s directions. In attempting his own calibration, using the boiling point of water as a standard reference, Levine ended up studying the thermal physical properties of water.

More recently, Levine was back in the kitchen, boiling the contents of a frozen package of peas and carrots for dinner, when he noticed something odd: The two vegetables spontaneously parted company, with the peas generally moving to the edges of the pot while the carrots stayed put in the center. Every time Levine stirred the vegetables together—once, twice, three times, four times—they quickly separated, reverting to the same pattern in some 15 seconds.

He had to know why.

Kristopher Lee’s picture

By: Kristopher Lee

ASM International is a nonprofit professional society focused on providing scientific, engineering, and technical knowledge to its members and the materials science community. In its education and experimentation labs, it regularly works with innovative inspection solutions that have the potential to improve quality assurance in manufacturing.

One new application it’s working on is laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF), an additive manufacturing process where a laser is used to weld powdered material to form a 3D object. Think of it like 3D printing, but for metal parts. One of the challenges ASM International is studying is how to assess the quality of the 3D-printed parts.

How does laser powder bed fusion work?

The process begins with a bed of metallic powder on a base. A very fine laser selectively heats the powdered material, causing it to weld together. By creating thousands (or more, depending on the size of the part) of tiny welds in multiple layers and discarding the unused powder material, users can effectively create a 3D metal object.

NASA’s picture

By: NASA

On June 24, 2020, engineers completed the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s structural testing campaign for the Artemis lunar missions by testing the liquid oxygen structural test article to find its point of failure.

“The Space Launch System and Marshall test team have done a tremendous job of accomplishing this test program, marking a major milestone not only for the SLS program but also for the Artemis program,” says John Honeycutt, the SLS program manager. “From building the test stands, support equipment, and test articles, to conducting the tests and analyzing the data, it is remarkable work that will help send astronauts to the moon.”

Matthew Martin’s picture

By: Matthew Martin

For more than 50 years, the benchmark for accuracy in measuring solid objects, whether machined, molded, die cast, welded, or forged, was the coordinate measuring machine (CMM). Typically using a solid, granite-base table along with a vertical, horizontal, gantry, or bridge-mounted arm and touch probe, measurements would be taken and compared in blocks to an engineering file, originally as 2D drawings and today as CAD files hosted in the cloud.

During the last two decades, however, a “new kid in town” has arrived on the scene, with power, size, point capability, and price value that are rapidly leaving the CMM technology in the dust. 

Willow Ascenzo’s picture

By: Willow Ascenzo

During the late 19th century, Wilhelm Röntgen discovered X-rays and soon after discovered their properties for medical and industrial imaging when he created a radiograph of his wife’s hand. From this discovery, the powerful tool of X-ray radiography and tomography fell into the hands of medical professionals and industrial materials professionals.

Several decades later, during the 1930s, James Chadwick discovered the neutron, an electrically-neutral particle that resides in an atom’s nucleus. Soon afterward, the neutron was also recognized as a potential powerful tool for industrial radiography, just like X-rays.

As the technology behind X-ray imaging advanced and X-ray sources became more plentiful, X-radiography became more widely used in the field of nondestructive testing, and exhaustive quality standards were set in place to ensure that the use of this tool led to standardized and consistent results. The development of, and adherence to, these standards have helped push X-ray imaging along, leading to the development of both digital radiography, as opposed to film, and computed tomography as a powerful expansion of planar radiography into the third dimension.

Matthew Staymates’s picture

By: Matthew Staymates

As a fluid dynamicist and mechanical engineer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), I’ve devoted much of my career to helping others see things that are often difficult to detect. I’ve shown the complex flow of air that occurs when a dog sniffs. I’ve helped develop ways to detect drugs and explosives by heating them into a vapor. I’ve explored how drug residue can contaminate crime labs. I’ve even shown how to screen shoes for explosives.

Most of these examples fit into a common theme: detecting drugs and explosives through the flow of fluids that are usually invisible. When I’m in the laboratory, I use a number of advanced fluid flow-visualization tools to help better understand and improve our ability to detect illicit drugs and explosives on surfaces, on people, and in the environment.

NIST’s picture

By: NIST

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have used state-of-the-art atomic clocks, advanced light detectors, and a measurement tool called a frequency comb to boost the stability of microwave signals a hundredfold. This marks a giant step toward better electronics to enable more accurate time dissemination, improved navigation, more reliable communications, and higher-resolution imaging for radar and astronomy. Improving the microwave signal’s consistency over a specific time period helps ensure reliable operation of a device or system.

The work transfers the already superb stability of the cutting-edge laboratory atomic clocks operating at optical frequencies to microwave frequencies, which are currently used to calibrate electronics. Electronic systems are unable to directly count optical signals, so the NIST technology and techniques indirectly transfer the signal stability of optical clocks to the microwave domain. The demonstration is described in the May 22, 2020, issue of Science.

Multiple Authors
By: John Smits, Gary Confalone, Tom Kinnare

Confusion between the two terms “RADAR” and “LIDAR” is understandable. Their names are nearly synonymous, and the terms are often used interchangeably. The acronyms are RADAR, which stands for RAdio Detection And Ranging; and LIDAR, which stands for LIght Detection And Ranging. The major difference between the two is the wavelength of the signal and the divergence of the signal beam.

LIDAR is typically a collimated light beam with minimal divergence over long distances from the transmitter; RADAR is a cone-shaped signal fanning out from the source. Both calculate distance by comparing the time it takes for the outgoing wave or pulse to return to the source. LIDAR uses light wave frequencies that have a shorter wavelength, which enhances the capability of collecting data with high precision. RADAR uses longer microwave frequencies, which have lower resolution but the ability to collect signals with reduced impact from environmental obstructions. RADAR and LIDAR signals both travel at the speed of light.

Quality Digest’s picture

By: Quality Digest

It’s easy to assume that something as simple as a mask wouldn’t pose much of a risk. Essentially, it’s just a covering that goes over your nose and mouth.

But masks are more than just stitched-together cloth. Medical-grade masks use multiple layers of nonwoven material, usually polypropylene, designed to meet specific standards for how big and how many particles they can block. And they are tested and certified to determine how well they do that job.

Healthcare and other frontline workers usually use either a surgical mask or an N95 mask. Both protect the patient from the wearer’s respiratory emissions. But where surgical masks provide the wearer protection against large droplets, splashes, or sprays of bodily or other hazardous fluids, an N95 mask is designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of submicron airborne particles.

The “N95” (or “KN95”) designation means that the respirator blocks at least 95 percent of very small (0.3 micron) test particles. If properly fitted, the filtration capabilities of N95 respirators exceed those of face masks.

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