FAA Orders 737 Inspections for Cracks YUMA, AZ—The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has arranged inspections of all early model 737 planes after a large hole recently appeared in a Southwest Airlines jet. Boeing said it also is readying a service bulletin for lap-joint inspections on certain 737-300/400/500 airplanes. The FAA’s order applies to approximately 175 aircraft worldwide, 80 of which are registered in the United States. Most of those planes belong to Southwest, the FAA noted. The “repetitive electromagnetic inspections for fatigue damage” will focus on “specific areas of the aircraft fuselage” on planes that have more than 30,000 f light cycles. Inspections will be repeated at regular intervals. Boeing and National Transportation Safety Administration inspectors are conducting nondestructive testing of both lap joints on the Southwest Boeing 737-300 that made an emergency landing in Yuma, AZ, after a 5-foot-long hole tore open in the passenger cabin roof area shortly after takeoff. Three more Southwest Airlines jetliners were later discovered to have small, subsurface cracks that are similar to the cracks suspected of playing a role in the fuselage tear of the Boeing 737-300. Frost & Sullivan: Higher Standards of Quality Provide Opportunities for X-Ray Inspection Systems SAN ANTONIO, TX—Analysis from Frost & Sullivan’s world X-ray inspection systems market finds that the market earned revenues of $344.2 million in 2009 and estimates this to reach $450.6 million in 2014, saying the rising standard of quality and safety of critical structural components are expected to bring in the revenues. Recent industrial disasters such as the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have placed the spotlight on the need for stringent quality control programs. Reacting to such incidents, governments across the globe have announced plans to strengthen laws to prevent industrial debacles. “The aerospace industry, in an effort to fulfill high standards of safety and quality, has traditionally been the first to adopt the latest advances in X-ray technology intended for the field of medicine,” says Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Vijay Mathew. “Examples of these advances are high- volume, safety-critical inspection applications, repair and maintenance applications and precision three-dimensional material analysis.” Apart from rising usage in key enduser industries such as aerospace, oil and gas and automotive, new application areas such as food safety inspection hike the demand for X-ray equipment. Despite the increasing applications and growing need for greater productivity, quality and accuracy of inspection, the global economic downturn has caused end users to scrutinize maintenance and inspection budgets. Although there are numerous advantages offered by digital X-ray, customers’ unwillingness to move away from tried-and-tested techniques—such as film-based inspection—restrains short-term market growth potential and leads to limited investment in new technologies. “Although the transition to a filmless future is a continuous and ongoing trend in the X-ray inspection market, film continues to play a crucial role in meeting the nondestructive testing needs of customers,” notes Mathew. “Particularly, in such trying economic conditions, companies with lower financial resources are unwilling to make large investments in digital radiographic technology.” Canadian Institute for NDE Appoints New President HAMILTON, ONTARIO, CANADA— The Canadian Institute for NDE (CINDE) has promoted Larry Cote, CET, CLS, CMRP to president and CEO, reporting to the chairman of the board. In his position, Cote will work closely with the executive committee and the board to pursue the goals set out in the CINDE strategic plan. As Canada’s national nonprofit membership based society for the people and companies engaged in the business of nondestructive testing (NDT), the Canadian Institute for NDE has for more than 30 years delivered training for NDT and operated a governmentapproved certification test center, while also providing a host of other member services to ensure NDT professionals and practitioners can network, stay abreast of new technology and industry news, and improve their knowledge. Cote joined the CINDE in 2007 as a project manager and was promoted to managing director in 2010. Prior to that he worked for 30 years at Dofasco Inc. and also worked as a training instructor for more than 20 years, delivering a variety of continuing education and full-time courses for Mohawk College and Northern College in Ontario and Northern Lakes College in Alberta. Exova Expands Testing Facility BRIDGWATER, SOMERSET, ENGLAND—Exova has expanded its fatigue testing capabilities for composite and metallic materials to growing customer demand, particularly from the aerospace sector. During the last quarter of 2010 three servo hydraulic test frames were acquired and commissioned at its Bridgwater, Somerset, site. Following a successful audit in March 2011, Exova was awarded UKAS accreditation for a range of composite and metallic international fatigue standards, meaning Exova can now officially begin to carry out fatigue testing for its customers. The Bridgwater laboratory, which works for aerospace primes including Rolls Royce, Airbus and GKN Aerospace, has plans to increase capacity further in the future. Exova Bridgwater specializes in the testing of composite materials, with core services including mechanical, physical, metallurgical and failure investigation. Peter Allen, general manager of Exova Bridgwater, says, “The expansion of our in-house testing capabilities offers customers a full suite of tests across all techniques and material types under one roof. “This is an important development for Exova, and forms part of the Aerospace division’s long-term strategy, which includes plans for further expansion of our global testing facilities and capabilities in the future,” he adds. Current capacity of the new frames is up to 250,000 N in tension and compression each with integrated strain and temperature monitoring. The frames have initially been set up with a bias toward flat samples which lend themselves to composite testing. Complementing existing capabilities the initial projects are making use of the established machining, tabbing and impacting facilities already at Bridgwater by testing ‘fatigue after impact’ test specimens at various R-Ratios on CFRP. A single and double lap shear program is also utilizing the large capacity grips, which enable gripping of considerably thicker samples. Carestream Raises Prices of X-Ray Films ROCHESTER, NY—Carestream Health is increasing the prices of its medical, dental, and nondestructive testing films worldwide. Prices will increase as much as 50% or more in some areas of the world. The increase is due to ongoing rises in the cost of commodities used in film manufacturing, including silver, polyester and other essential resources, according to the company. Silver, which comprises a major portion of manufacturing expenses, has more than doubled in cost in the last year and has increased more than five times in cost in the last six years, Carestream says. In addition, oil prices have risen 30% in the last year, which heightens the cost of utilities, transportation and the petroleum-based polyester used in the production of film. Specific details surrounding price increases will be communicated locally in each country. In the interim, customers that have questions are asked to contact their local Carestream Health sales representative or authorized dealer.
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