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Radiographic Inspection – Seeing the Unseen in Pumps

Charli's Blog
HPX-1 Digital

Radiographic Inspection – Seeing the Unseen in Pumps

Radiographic testing is being used more and more frequently in the pump industry to verify the quality of critical components. As users continue to stretch MTBF it means typically pumps run longer and their materials of construction get pushed to their performance limits. While most materials are capable of performing well even under these extreme conditions, there are applications such as highly volatile, toxic or flammable services where component failure can lead to catastrophic events.  Industrial radiography allows you to look inside the pressure containing components of a pump, sealing or cooling system or at welded piping connections for possible porosity, cracks and other defects difficult to see with lesser methods of non-destructive testing to ensure that your plant doesn’t become a bad story on the evening news.

I recently visited the Carestream NDT facility in upstate New York to learn about some new non-destructive radiographic imaging technology which has proved itself a valuable tool in maximizing plant safety, performance and pump life.  And, I’d like to share what I learned with you.

Carestream is a worldwide provider of imaging systems and IT solutions for medical and  non-destructive testing. The company is a world leader in radiographic imaging with over 100 years of experience — with a global team of experts passionately committed to doing whatever it takes to help its customers be successful.

Upon arrival at the Carestream facility in Rochester, I was met by Paul Biver their Director of Marketing who served as my host and gave me a tour of the facility. It was impressive to see the depth Carestream had with thousands of square feet of floor space dedicated to engineering and manufacturing.  Paul explained to me that, “Everything here is under one roof, from the group that originally engineered and designed the HPX-1 imaging system and its accessories to the team that builds them every day. When a customer has a special circumstance we get everyone together to find a solution tailored to their needs. Customers tell us all the time how impressed they when we call them back with a room full of imaging experts, but its just who we are. Helping our customers see more on images saves lives in the field.  You can’t ask for more satisfaction than that.”   This philosophy also helped Carestream win Frost & Sullivan’s 2012 Best Practices Award for Product Differentiation Excellence

During the tour, we spent time with Steve Mango, Worldwide Technical Manager for Non-Destructive Testing, who explained the different features of the Industrex HPX-1 Digital Computed Radiography System. This is very cool technology being used in the pump industry and will have huge implications on safety, maintenance and operating budgets.  Just like you can X-ray bones to look for potential fractures,  you can X-ray equipment, parts and even pipelines for imperfections.  Imagine the implications to have the ability to identify potential equipment stresses and failures before they reach a critical stage.

While at the facility, Paul and Steve shared some of the digital images obtained while evaluating equipment across several industries, including oil and gas, pipelines, pressure vessels and pump components to mention just a few.  Carestream’s HPX-1 technology can enhance radiographic images using specially designed filters helping a user see things well beyond what was possible years ago or with other lesser technologies.

Industrial imaging was traditionally done using conventional film and with chemicals to develop it. As with most things surrounding film, users are now looking for options that can reduce their monthly costs while being environmentally friendly. Going to digital imaging does just that. They can reuse the digital imaging media thousands of times and eliminate costs of film, chemicals and the disposal of these. Plus who doesn’t want a digital image on your screen that you can enhance and share compared to something on a piece of film you need a light box to see!

Digital imaging is also faster and safer.  The details on the images I saw were incredible.  I was able to identify a problem without any proper training.  Having said that, Carestream does offer training that will help you make the transition from traditional film to digital imaging.

After having an opportunity to work with the digital imaging system, I met with Martin Graen, World Wide GM and we discussed the importance of reliability and safety for the Carestream customer.  I am convinced that Carestream is fully committed to providing customers with the best imaging products and services in the industry.

It was really nice to see a company that leveraged existing technology for industrial work to extend their product portfolio.  As a result, the pump industry now benefits from these amazing  imaging advances that originated in the medical world.  Coming from a family of nurses, I was happy to share that!

If you would like to see more photos from my tour, please visit my Facebook page!

For more information, please visit Carestream NDT online at


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