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5 Reasons Magnetic Particle Inspection is Our Most Popular NDT Test

Magna Chek is primarily known for our ability to perform Magnetic Particle Inspection with a great deal of quality, a quick return time, and at scale. Our customers routinely come to us for repeat work. Here are 5 reasons why we enjoy performing Magnetic Particle Inspection so much:

Affordable

Magnetic Particle Inspection is one of the more affordable non-destructive tests. Simple materials are used and there is not a complicated set up cost like Eddy Current testing. As you scale up the number of parts you want to test, it becomes even more affordable.

Quick

Magna Chek has the equipment and talent to return your parts tested for cracks in a short turn around time. In that time, we are able to distinguish surface and near-surface cracks and defects nearly immediately. If you’re in a real hurry, we may be able to rush your test and get the results back to next day (or even same day!). If that’s the case, call us at (248) 597-0089 so that we can help you quickly.

Versatility

As long as the parts in question are ferromagnetic and don’t have a thick layer of paint, Magna Chek is capable of identifying surface and sub-surface cracks. Magnetic Particle Inspection can used to test a wide variety of raw or manufactured materials and components, including castings, forgings, weldments, safety critical automotive parts, and infrastructure – such as bridges or storage tanks.

Scale-able

By combining to the affordable and simple nature of Magnetic Particle Inspection with Magna Chek’s multiple high volume testing booths, we are able to test a very large amount of parts. Our 12 foot Wet Magna-Glo Unit is able to process over 1,000 parts every hour. This 6,000 amp unit has a secondary 2,000 amp coil that accommodates parts from 1” to 12’ long and up to 24 inches in diameter.

Our Conveyorized Two-Shot Magna-Glo Unit uses an automatic coil, de-magnetizer and conveyor. It handles up to 1,500 pieces per hour and is ideal for testing small parts, such as bolts and screws in high volume quantities.

Experience

Magna Chek was founded on performing the highest quality of Magnetic Particle Inspection over 40 years ago. We’ve expanded to perform a wide variety of non-destructive tests, such as dye penetrant testing, eddy current testing, and radiography. But to this day, Magnetic Particle Inspection is still the most requested test that we perform.

If you think Magnetic Particle Inspection is the right test to find defects in your parts, then request a quote today!

Magna Chek Celebrates 44 Years of Non-Destructive Testing

MagnaChek: 44th AnniversaryThis November, Magna Chek is proud to announce our 44th anniversary as a leading provider in the Non-Destructive Testing industry. Founded in 1971 by Ed Jones, Magna Chek offered a variety of non-destructive testing in the Greater Detroit area at our Warren location.

Today, Magna Chek has over 100 local employees and is led by Wally Lawrence – who joined Magna Chek in 1996 and took over as CEO in 2009. Since our inception, Magna Chek has grown into two facilities with the capability to perform mass production Magnetic Particle Inspection – an accomplishment that few NDT laboratories can stake claim to.

Today, Magna Chek provides a variety of non-destructive testing services, which include Magnetic Particle Inspection, Radiography Inspection, Ultrasonic Inspection, Dye Penetrant Inspection, Hardness Testing, Eddy Current Inspection, and more!

We would like express our gratitude to our clients for their continued business throughout the past 44 years by saying thank you!

Automating the Ultrasonic Inspection Process: Challenges and Solutions

Ultrasonic Inspection

Ultrasonic InspectionUltrasonic Inspection has been around nearly as long as sonar and has been used for nondestructive testing in automotive, oil & gas, defense and aerospace industries since the 1940’s. There’s simply no faster and better way to “see” inside of component and structural parts than by using ultrasonic waves to quite literally listen to what’s going on.

One imagines, perhaps, a technician wearing headphones, and carrying a sensor similar to a radar gun used by traffic cops along the highway. Perhaps she’s carrying a complicated monitor and checking measurements in the field, under a bridge or next to a pipeline. There are, in fact, many ultrasonic tests that need to be performed on deployed parts or components that are currently in use. Some components and parts are so important, though, that they need to be tested in the lab, or in a highly advanced mobile station where multiple readings can be taken in a highly controlled setting with an automated ultrasonic inspection probe.

These far more precise readings are especially important for welds used in pressurized piping or tubing, and for much of the equipment used inside of nuclear reactors or generators, and in structural airplane parts, especially tail and wing components. They’re simply too critical to leave to chance.

These are some of the most considerations that technicians are working to control whenever they’re performing an automated ultrasonic inspection.

Angle of the Probe

For a single reading, angle hardly matters. But multiply that reading even by two, and you need to be sure that the angle at which ultrasonic waves are hitting your test subject can be easily accounted for. When you consider that many ultrasonic tests will require a dozen or more readings, then the mere angle of the probe in relation to the test subject needs to be carefully and precisely controlled. Otherwise, the reading would be wildly inaccurate. In fact, technicians will rely on carefully calibrated mounts that carefully move probes in order to account for the angle and the distance of the probe from the subject.

Motion Control

In fact, automated ultrasonic testing is a kind of 3D imaging, and it’s often very similar to the kinds of images produced and used in hospital settings. In just the same as your x-ray technician will ask you to hold still during a chest x-ray, nondestructive technicians need to carefully control the movement of their probes and sensors. These are all carefully calibrated with regard to the x, y and z axes.

Multiple Probe Alignment

Sending one signal out and watching where it bounces is tough enough. Now imagine “through-transmissions” where ultrasonic signals are expected to pass from one probe to another. The alignment of one probe to another would be a cause of constant strife, and might even be impossible to achieve in the field. In a controlled setting though, technicians are able to do incredibly complex ultrasonic tests of equally complex parts and equipment. In some cases these can be components of fiberglass or composite materials that have been molded or shaped to contours that would simply baffle anything less than two very bright and synchronized reading devices.

In every case, it’s not just the laboratory control and precise equipment that makes the difference. It’s also a careful accounting of all of the known variables and deficits involved with any nondestructive testing technique. With a proper and thorough mastery of the disadvantages and challenges presented by a testing technique, one can ensure far more accurate and viable results.

Composite Materials Use and Testing in Aircraft Manufacturing

Commercial airplanes are thoroughly tested

Commercial airplanes are thoroughly tested.

Most folks think airplanes are made mostly of metal. That used to be true. There was nothing else stronger. But along with your cell phones and computer monitors and microwave ovens – airplanes have grown up. Today, few airplanes are still made “mostly” from metals – and those metals are increasingly concentrated in a few areas, like the engines and important moving parts. But lots of other parts of a plane – even very big planes – are made increasingly from composite materials.

Composite materials are hybrid materials that don’t mix even though they’re placed together. A composite material is made up of two or more constituent materials and these will bear differing chemical or physical properties. But when they’re placed together they’ll act differently than would the individual materials.

Concrete is the most familiar composite material in our day-to-day world, but it’s not very common in aircraft (except as a surface to land on). With aircraft themselves, engineers are working with materials that, when combined are often lighter and stronger than other non-composite materials. They also better adapt or maintain their shapes or characteristics under high-pressure, at high-temperatures or in other environmental extremes. Engineers are always trying to make airplanes more fuel efficient, lighter and safer.

In aircraft, the most commonly used composite material is fiberglass. In wide use since the 1950s, it’s become an increasingly important part of every airplane built since then. Today’s 787 Dreamliner is made of nearly 50% fiberglass. Other common composite materials include Kevlar, which replaced glass fibers with aramid synthetic fibers and, as well as the carbon fibers that have come to really dominate the field in recent years.

Composite Materials Testing

Most of the advanced composite materials used in aircraft manufacture are difficult either to test without breaking them, or to model on a computer. Stress tests and similar mechanical tests are performed, but they’re most often destructive, and because engineers need to be closely monitoring how the composite materials are layered, that is, in which way their fibers are oriented, getting accurate, repeatable results is not always easy.

In fact, for many areas on a given airplane, aluminum alloys will still be preferred. This is in part because they survive damage and accept repair much more readily and not because aluminums can be tested more reliably.

Even still, airline manufacturers will put all of the parts molded from composite materials through a literal battery of destructive and non-destructive tests. These will include tension and compression tests, Poisson’s ratio tests at a range of temperatures, damage resistance tests and tests for compression, shear and for peeling.

To make that just a little clearer, Poisson’s ratio is a measure of the way material bend away from a compression point. Push in here, and it pops up there. But how much? And of course, up in the sky it’s much colder. But then, parts nearer the engine may actually be much hotter. There are a lot of factors to be considered.

Similarly, shear tests, in dozens of varieties, look at where the fibers in composite materials will break. Shear testing is nearly the opposite of “non-destructive” testing, because it almost always results in the destruction of the test sample. But for all composite materials, shear tests represent some of the most important ways to understand how a given material will act, react and survive the environmental conditions we’re hoping to put them through. And, with most composite materials, you can even get good results from a relatively small test subject. So you don’t have to destroy an entire airplane to still learn a lot.

In every case, building, and then flying any plane, takes an exceptional understanding of what you’re working with. When you’re taxiing to the runway next time, rest assured, a lot of people worked really hard to get you there.

A Primer on Eddy Current Testing

Eddy Current TestingWhat is Eddy Current testing, you ask? To answer that, of course, it’s important to understand what Eddy Current is. Eddy Currents are circular electrical currents that swirl inside of a conductor. They move such that they align themselves (electrons) against a magnetic field.

Eddy currents are used for Eddy Current Brakes, and in all kinds of electric motors and generators and audio speakers – but Eddy Currents are super important  to Non Destructive Testing. Eddy Current Testing is relied on across the aerospace industry but in plenty of nuts and bolts manufacturing and service industries too.

Our technicians apply Eddy Currents to thinner metals for safety and quality issues and to detect cracks or other flaws in metal sheets and tubing. At times we use Eddy Currents to spot problems with thickness, heat treatments or corrosion, especially in aircraft skins. Eddy Currents tests are especially important for measuring conductivity and coatings or skins of non-conductive outer surfaces. Technicians can show up in the field or test many types of materials in the lab.

One of the advantages to Eddy Current tests is that they can test big surfaces really quickly and with little or no clean up. Of course, the big drawback is that you can’t use Eddy Current tests on aluminum, graphite, or plastics. The material being tested needs to be conductive.

What a technician will do is use an eddy current probe that begins an alternating current. This moves from a wire coil out through the probe and creates a magnetic field. Moving the probe in the area of the material being tested allows the circular flow of the magnetic field to move through the test piece and generate another magnetic field. Technicians then watch for changes in the amplitude and pattern of the eddy current. A trained eye can see defects in the metal’s thickness and near-surface cracks simply by the way they affect the magnetic field.

Of course, technicians need to well understand all of the equipment they’re using, because the equipment can affect these test. But they also need to understand – very well – the materials being tested. The number of factors that can affect the outcome of the test can seem staggering, but everything from the size of the coil in the probe, to the number of times a surface has been painted will affect their ability to detect flaws. In fact, technicians will choose the size of the coil used to generate the Eddy Current dependent on the size, permeability and conductivity of the material being tested.

Eddy Current technicians will use surface probes for detecting surface and near surface flaws. But there are also special probes for the insides of bolt holes and for other similar fasteners and for heat exchangers and metal tubing. These often need to be inspected from inside where other tests are difficult to reach.

Eddy Current tests are performed for weld inspections that might also include ultrasonic testing. They can also be used to verify heat treatments of the same materials and for a huge variety of industries, beyond aerospace and manufacturing. Nearly every ferrous metal material that ever needs inspecting can and will be inspected with Eddy Currents.

What Is Dye Penetrant Testing?

Dye Penetrant

Dye Penetrant Testing makes cracks visible.

What is dye penetrant testing? For people working in metals, manufacturing and structural steel, it’s still one of the most important kinds of nondestructive testing techniques. Most technicians who employ dye penetrant tests are going to engineers or technicians who are ready to perform dye penetrant tests, often in combination with a few other tests.

As it’s a relatively low-cost test, it is one of the more commonly performed tests. In general, with ferrous metals, you’ll be able to see a little further beneath a given surface with a magnetic particle test, that is, if it’s a magnetic surface you’re looking at. For non-ferrous and non-magnetic surfaces, very often applying a dye and seeing where it goes is your next best bet.

In general technicians are looking for surface porosity, cracks or similar defects, either before or during use and they’re also looking at the lack of these defects in objects that have been cast, welded or forged.

The basic procedure a technician will follow is usually something like this; first the technician will thoroughly clean the part or component being tested. She then applies the dye to the surface being examined. Once any excess is removed, a developer is applied that makes cracks, pores or similar openings plainly visible, sometimes to the naked eye.

Now, the reason a technician is required is that the variations on the procedure can be many-fold from this point on. The type of penetrant or dye will depend on the surface itself, and on multiple other factors. Removing the excess can take particular skill and with a toxic or unstable penetrant it can even present a health or environmental hazard. The technician needs to understand how sensitive the penetrant might be to other environmental factors and the characteristics of the developer being applied.

Importantly, dye penetrant testing is only going to detect flaws that are already open to the surface. Surfaces that are by nature porous are not going to make good test subjects. The technician needs to be able to plan in advance for the three steps of the procedure and to control those steps in a scientific manner.

Still because it’s a low-cost and relatively simple procedure it remains popular and in many industries, such as boiler making and work with tubes and pressurized equipment it’s still one of the essentials of non-destructive testing.

Magna Chek CEO helps fund new local K-9 unit

Image Source: Daily Tribune

The Talmer Bank and Trust Advisory Board (including Magna Chek’s CEO Wally Lawrence) donated $16,000 to the Hazel Park Police Department for the purchase and training of Lando, the department’s new K-9.

The board members decided to donate money they receive as payment for their work on the board to various charitable causes. Funding K-9 units went to the top of their list.

Hazel Park Police recently welcomed their new K-9 colleague to the force as the dog joined his human coworker, Officer Michael Kasdorf, for their first official day on job.

“Myself, Phil Seaver, Greg Nowak, and Wally Lawrence, we wanted to do something for our local communities where we could really see the need. We chose to … donate K-9 dogs to different communities as the need comes up. We did one for Madison Heights, and now it’s Hazel Park,” fellow advisory board member Larry Campbell said.

Read more: http://www.dailytribune.com/general-news/20150811/hazel-park-police-welcome-a-dogged-new-member-to-the-force

Magna Chek Hosts Schoolcraft Welding Students

Magna Chek had the privilege of hosting some of Schoolcraft College’s welding students this July. They were given a tour and in-depth explanation of the various testing Magna Chek performs to ensure the quality of welds, metal fabrication, and more.

Later that week, welding class instructor Coley McLean let Magna Chek know how well-received the tour was:

“All my students are talking about is how awesome the field trip went.”

“I cannot thank you enough, it was amazing! Please let Bill and Scott know that it was perfect… You all are amazing and I am so looking forward to work with you soon!”

We’re glad to hear that we were able to making a difference and educate the students. We look forward to continuing this great relationship with Schoolcraft College.


Schoolcraft College

Schoolcraft College, founded in 1961, is a comprehensive community-based college located in Livonia, Michigan, United States with a satellite campus in Garden City, Michigan.

Schoolcraft’s welding program provides students with both hands-on welding skills and knowledge of metallurgy and other materials.

Magna Chek goes mobile!

We’re proud to announce the launch of our mobile application on iOS and Android.

Magna Chek, Inc., your exclusive source in Non-Destructive Testing, announces the latest in its continued efforts in customer service:

The Magna Chek app

Designed for easy interaction, the app will assist in both helping our customers learn more about the services Magna Chek offers, but more importantly it aids in accessing time critical information; such as:

Contact us easily from the app
– Fill out a Request For Quote
– Request a Parts Update

Download links:

Download Magna Chek's iOS mobile app!

Click here to download on the App Store!

Download Magna Chek's Android Mobile app!

Click here to download on Google Play!

Thanks,

The Magna Chek Team

What is Ultrasonic Testing and What is it Good for?

Ultrasonic NDT is not the most common nondestructive test, but where it works, it’s among the most apt. As the name implies, it’s a pretty simple method of bombarding a test subject with a barrage of high frequency sound waves and then listening to see what bounces back. Because the frequencies are much higher than we can hear, a technician uses a variety of specialized equipment to “listen” and then to read the results. Pitches used for ultrasonic testing are in the range from 500 KHz to 20 MHz. But with such frequencies, it’s possible to measure thicknesses of test subjects, down to a very precise measurement – and to detect any flaws or cracks that appear in the same materials.

Ultrasonic testing is mostly used for testing plastics, metals, composites, and ceramic materials. The only industrial materials that are really not suitable are papers and woods.

The most important industries buying Ultrasonic Testing Services are the oil and petroleum industries, where welded pipes, tubes and tanks are often tested. The Aerospace and Defense industries also frequently test welds in joined structural steel parts and similar materials. This is true of all of the offshore and marine industries too, where welds and welded materials need to be fast and flawless. Heavy equipment and machinery manufacturers also rely on Ultrasonic Testing for meeting quality standards.

Importantly, test pieces don’t need to be cut or sectioned. A testing technician only needs access to one side of the test material. Nothing needs to go beyond that surface. Similarly, ultrasonic sound waves won’t affect the test subject, unlike with radiography or dye testing. There’s no clean up and the results can be repeated indefinitely.

Ultrasonic Testing Technicians do need extensive training. The equipment they’re using is also a lot more expensive than what you’d need for some other types of non-destructive testing. Testing complicated welds or test pieces can also require a lot more in terms of set-up, or multiple set-ups.

But it’s still one of the best methods for testing corrosion of wall thicknesses in tanks and pipes, molded plastics and turbine blades. The numbers of applications across all industries is simply too many to list here, but they can include cast and precision machined parts, fiberglass and equipment for medical or laboratory purposes.

Some of the most important of these tests are designed to detect flaws or imperfections in the materials. A trained technician can usually spot them easily. Any void, disbond, inclusion or flaw can affect the use or reliability of a given material. But manufacturers simply can’t tear apart every single thing an assembly line is producing. With ultrasonic testing, you can still test everything that comes off your line.

Many industries need to test and retest the products they’re producing and the jobs they’re turning out every day. Steel beams, pipelines and all the parts that go into heavy machinery or car frames are tested, along with rails and engines, boat hulls, and plastic parts associated with assembly lines and medical equipment. The applications are practically endless, andthe range of values and uses is practically endless too.

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