Eddy Current Testing

Most people are not familiar with Eddy Current or Eddy Current Testing but ECT has become a star in the field of non-destructive testing. Eddy Current Testing is the use of electromagnetic testing to find leaks and identify surface and sub-surface flaws in conductive materials. It is also used to examine non-ferrous tubing in condenser and heat exchangers.

 

Eddy-Current Testing is great for checking pipe’s surface area, checking for faults inside pipes, remote testing of carbon steel pipes, eddy current weld inspections, and for clad thickness. Outside of our industry, the most common use of Eddy Current is in metal detectors. Eddy Current Flaw Detector is very good for inspecting metallic parts.

If you’re looking to get a quote for Eddy Current Testing, please click the button below.  If you want to learn everything there is to know about Eddy Current Testing Services, continue reading! We break down the advantages and disadvantages of Eddy Current Testing as compared to non-destructive testing, so you can be fully informed about what awaits you with this service and what you can expect. To get a quote for eddy current tester price call us on (877) 816-9081.

Get a Quote or Call: (877) 816-9081

Eddy Current Inspection

History, Applications, and Pros and Cons

eddy current testing equipmentTo best understand the use of Eddy-Current Testing and determine if this is the right service for you is to understand how Eddy-Curent Testing began and what its most common uses are today.

 

The Eddy Current system goes back to the mid-1800s and is fairly simple to understand in terms of its structure and process. A comprehensive breakdown is provided to compare and determine if an Eddy Current Inspection is the right application for you and your company, dependant on your needs.

 

American Efficiency Services is always available to provide recommendations and insights on any concerns or questions you may have so you always end up with the best solution for your specific project. Our Eddy current tube inspections find defects before they become disasters. Eddy current testing chiller is one of the best tubing inspection methods because the probes are uniquely shaped to test chiller tubes. 

Eddy Current Testing Services

The History; and Where it all Started

Eddy Current Testing by American Efficiency ServicesEddy Current Testing, also known as ECT and not to be confused with Electroconvulsive therapy, is testing that started or derived from electromagnetism. François Arago is credited with observing eddy currents in 1824 but it was in 1855 when French physicist Léon Foucault was actually credited with the discovery.

 

There was very little use for Eddy Current Systems or development in the field of Eddy Current until WWII. A German professor named Friedrich Förster started to look at Eddy-Currents for industrial use. Friedrich started developing coils, testing conductivity and measured out ferrous materials, all to more accurately detect flaws in conductive materials.

 

Friedrich would ultimately go on to found the Foerster Group and continue development of ECT and other non-destructive testing techniques. The Foerster Group developed practical instruments used to carry out ECT testing for the masses and today it is a widely used and accepted technique for Eddy Current NDT.

Eddy Current Testing Equipment

How the apply to Today’s Testing

American Efficiency Services employee checking eddy currentsThe most basic form of the Eddy Current Testing principal uses a single coil that is excited using alternating electrical currents. When the wire is excited, it produces an electromagnetic field around the coil. The electromagnetic field oscillates (spins) at the same frequency that ran through the coil. Introducing the coil to conductive material will create currents that are opposed to the ones in the coil and these currents are Eddy Current. This will often be referred to as the Eddy-Current Coil.

 

ECT uses Eddy Currents to produce an electromagnetic field using coils and detection instruments. When everything is normal and a conductive material is introduced to the magnetic field (normally rings) they stay circling around the coil like a stream, creating the Eddy Current System.

 

If the conductive material has faults, breaks, or cracks, these streams start to jump off the typical Eddy-current magnetic field and causes the voltage that you are measuring change. These variants can be measured for fault detection in conductive materials allowing us to detect faults even if the eye cannot see them.

 

To break everything down simpler, the Eddy Current coil produce a voltage that will be at a higher and different level than when introduced to Eddy-Currents. When Eddy-Currents are introduced the voltage steadies and will remain at the same level.

 

A fault or break stops the Eddy-Current’s oscillation and the voltage will spike back to the original levels before the Eddy-currents were introduced. The conductive material will not upset or change the spinning of Eddy-Currents but faults, cracks, and corrosion will so when the voltage jumps it typically means there is a fault in the material being tested.

Eddy Current NDT

The Benefits of Eddy Current Services Compared to Other Non-Destructive Testing

  1. In favorable conditions, Eddy Current Testing can test fault in pipes up to 0.5 millimeters. With the proper equipment, the right type of conductive material, and properly trained professional, this test is extremely accurate at pinpointing even the smallest of faults.
  2. It can detect through coated materials. While other types of testing can be hindered or simply not work through paint, protective coatings, rust, and other materials, Eddy Current Testing is still accurate on coated materials up to 5 millimeters thick.
  3. No need to the clean surface area. Along the same lines as coated material, soils, uneven coatings, and rust will not affect the testing and therefore do not need to be cleaned for an accurate test.
  4. Testing is mobile and lightweight. Unlike other NDTs, Eddy Current testing equipment is relatively small and portable. A proper Eddy-Current testing company will have no problem coming to job sites, businesses, or even homes with the equipment and can test smaller areas compared to other non-destructive testing options.
  5. Testing through layers is no problem. Most Eddy Current testing companies claim accurate testing through ten layers. We have found that we can still get accurate testing through 14 different layers without any interference due to the uniqueness of Eddy-Currents.
  6. For those looking for commercial testing, Eddy Current Testing can be automated using uniform parts. The testing is very quick and accurate. If you want to ensure quality production of conductive parts, this test can be streamlined with incredible accuracy.
  7. Lastly, this test provides accurate conductivity measurements. Eddy current Instrument that are dedicated to conductivity testing use Eddy-Current. If you are not sure the material of the piping or metal in your wall you can have an Eddy Current test ran. The test will give you a conductivity reading and accurately tell you the materials in your wall.

The Disadvantages of an Eddy Current Detector Compared to Other Non-Destructive Testing

  1. Eddy-Current testing can only be done on conductive materials. If there is no electrical current that flows through the material then Eddy-Currents are not present and without Eddy-Currents, testing is not possible.
  2. It will not detect flaws parallel with the surface. During testing, the flaws must interrupt the Eddy-current waves to register through testing tools. Eddy-Currents run parallel with the surface so any flaw that runs parallel on the surface will not interfere with the currents and therefore, will not register on the detection tools.
  3. Magnetic Permutations cause testing complications. Ferromagnetic material or any small changes in permeability can have effects on Eddy-currents. While testing is not impossible under such conditions, it makes it very difficult so the testing of welds and other ferromagnetic material are less accurate.
  4. Eddy-Current Testing is best suited for small areas with simple geometries. Large spaces are not the best area for this type of testing. While it is not impossible to do, it requires large expensive equipment and is less accurate than when done on a smaller scale.
  5. Also, different geometries make Eddy-Current Testing difficult. A trained professional with an Eddy Current testing company will be needed to differentiate flaws from deflecting signals caused by different geometries.
  6. There is no real permanent record of testing. During automation of Eddy-Current tests, a print out might be available but only during automation testing. Manual testing will not have any record or lasting reports from the testing, so eddy current testing equiment will always need to be considered.
  7. Lastly, Eddy Current testing requires training and certifications. It is not something an unskilled person will be able to immediately pick up. Professionals are needed to read the testing material, differentiate from deflecting signals and faults, and be able to interpret data correctly on the fly and on-site. An Eddy Current testing company is always needed who are specialized in this area.

ECA (Eddy-Current Array): the All-Star of Eddy Current Coil and Eddy Current NDT

Eddy-current array technologyeddy current array testing machine uses multiple coils that increase electrical energy compared to your normal eddy current testing. The added Eddy Current coils create a more powerful testing area and stronger eddy-currents.

 

What do more powerful eddy-currents mean to NDT? In short, Eddy-Current testing has its drawbacks: testing field size, issues with interference, and struggles with difficult geometric testing areas.

 

ECA technology is able to overcome those shortcomings in most cases thanks to its magnet field producing more kinetic energy.

 

Instead of performing tests with single element arrangments in a row, ECA covers a larger area in a single pass. No more pencil probing leading to inconclusive results. Eddy-current array probes use multiplexing for optimal results.

Eddy Current Array Benefits

eddy current array testing machineWider Testing Area for Faster Results

With ECA technology you get a much wider area of testing since you are not running items through coils. The wider area shows up on Eddy-current testing equipment giving larger sample sizes at once. The larger the test fields the quicker you get results from the testing. The best part of ECA is that you get the same accuracy as any other eddy-current testing technology.

 

Using Array Technology Makes Testing Less Dependant On the Operator

ECA technology still needs an experienced tester from an eddy current testing company to perform the ECA testing. An ECA professional is needed to read the results but the results are far less dependent on the tester. That means there is far less human error and provides more consistent results.

 

ECA Provides More Accurate Testing Results

Since Eddy-current Array technology is more powerful so is the accuracy of the test. More powerful arrays also give professionals an improved ability to detect flaws and increases the flexibility of testing areas. The highly concentrated Eddy-currents make ECA a superior non-destruction technology. With ECA, professionals detect more flaws and are able to test areas you could not before with standard eddy-current testing equipment.

Eddy Current Measurement and Testing FAQ

What types of damages can be detected with an Eddy-Current testing machine?

ECT can detect ID pitting, OD pitting, ID corrosion, and OD corrosion with near perfect accuracy. It is okay to use eddy current testing for axial cracking and circumferential cracking but only in limited aspects.

 

What types of damages can be detected with ECA testing?

ECA is ideal for ID Pitting, OD pitting, ID corrosion, OD corrosion, axial cracking, and circumferential cracking. You can see a full chart comparison between ECA and ECT here, or check out our comparison chart below for a quick review.

 

When should ECT be performed and how often should it be performed?

Eddy Current Testing services should be performed during your annual inspections of equipment. Equipment that has had no damage detection you can test every two to three years. Equipment that has already had faults, corrosion, or cracks should be tested annually or more often.

 

Why perform ECT and are there benefits to regular testing?

Detecting small flaws on a conductive object and minor erosion and corrosion will allow you to avoid major faults and damage. Think of an Eddy-Current Inspection as preventative maintenance – detecting and monitoring flaws early will allow more accurate maintenance needed on machinery. If a piece of metal has regular ECT tests then major damage can be avoided.

 

Who is the right person to perform or hire for ECT or ECA testing?

A properly trained analyst from an Eddy Current testing company can provide you with all the information you need from ECT and ECA testing. Finding a trained and experienced analysts is important for accurate testing results. You should ask for credentials, certifications, and experience before hiring anyone to perform Eddy-current testing.

 

A trained analyst professional will be able to report all issues found during the test. Experienced analysts will adhere to industry standards and will be able to give the severity of any detection flaws. A trained professional will also be able to detect smaller faults and track the faults progress. Trained analysts will be better suited condemning piping that otherwise might have been overlooked.

 

All analysts should have certifications from the area they test in. Applied technical services or ATS provides certifications and testing. You can find ATS certified analyst here.

 

ATS is not the only certification standard in the ECT field. It is important to ask for certifications and research the quality of those certifications before hiring a professional from any Eddy-Current testing company for an eddy current testing service.

Eddy Current Testing vs Eddy Current Array Comparison: What’s the Best Solution for You

eddy current testing and eddy current array comparison chart

Conclusion of Eddy-Current Array and Eddy Current Testing Machines

Eddy current technology as a non-destructive testing tool has many applications. ECT technology has only improved. Today, ECT and ECA are a far more flexible and accurate form of testing.

 

An ECT professional from an eddy current testing company can help you perform eddy current testing during an annual inspection. Annual inspections help avoid major problems and monitor erosion and corrosion. If you are unsure if ECT or ECA is applicable to your business check the list below or above.

 

If you have any titanium, aluminum, stainless steel, conductive materials, copper alloys in your machinery or pipping then ECT can be used to detect and track flaws. If you have any questions about how ECT or ECA can help your business fill out our contact form. We will have one of our professionals contact you and answer any of your questions about eddy-current measurement and how it is applied to your business.

Get a Quote or Call: (877) 816-9081