The So Called "Experts" Weigh In
For years, the Visual Eddy Test System has been slighted by so-called industry experts as "sub-standard and inferior" to "the little yellow box". The reason for the bashing by this hydrotest training expert is that the Visual Eddy does not have "cool" graphics in the software. It was stated many times, "all you have to do is change the software to make the instrument right". Nothing was ever commented on how the Visual Eddy functioned, its ease of use, or accuracy. These comments come from people who know very little about eddy current testing. Unfortunately, "cool" graphics cannot make up for an instrument which cannot find flaws accurately. Perhaps these so-called "experts" should stick to what they know best because it is certainly not eddy current testing.
The Truth Is In the Testing
There were hundreds of aluminum cylinders rejected by inspectors using the little yellow box sitting in a warehouse. In an effort to determine their disposition, side-by-side tests comparing the Visual Eddy to the little yellow box were conducted. The Visual Eddy found every crack, every time and did not reject a single cylinder because of folds. That's 100% accuracy, every time.
The little yellow box with all its cool graphics did not fare as well. The little yellow box rejected/condemed on folds, found cracks which did not exist, and missed critical cracks over 50% of the time! Case in point ... Not long ago, a fire department in the rural Midwest had almost all their cylinders condemed by a hydrotester using the little yellow box. Needless to say, the fire chief was not happy to find out that the cylinders had not defects. This is still under investigation.
Almost on a daily basis, perfectly good cylinders are being rejected using this faulty instrument. At a recent training seminar, it was stated that "you will get false positive 57% of the time". The fact is that, the industry knows that the Visual Plus III does not work all the time and still the instrument is being used. This is absolutely unacceptable. Shame on the industry. The instrument does not work and the end user's safety hangs in the balance. The Visual Plus III has a basic design flaw and all the software upgrades in the world will not fix this instrument.
Eddy Current Testing In the Aviation Indusrty
Through the media, we have been exposed to the incident involving the airplane losing a portion of the outside skin. An Airworthiness Directive was issued by the FAA requiring the owners and operators of that particular series of aircraft to perform a series of eddy current inspections. Those inspections were performed by highly qualified technicians using quality instrumentation known to give accurate results all the time. There is no room for instrumentation working 50% of the time on airplanes. If perfection is demanded in the aviation industry, why is 50% accuracy acceptable when inspecting high pressure aluminum cylinders?
What Makes Visual Eddy So Good
The Visual Eddy is manufactured by Centurion NDT, located in Streamwood, Illinois. Centurion NDT has been in business for over 20 years designing, manufacturing and servicing non-destructive test instrumentation. Its eddy current products are written into many aviation test specifications for organizations such as Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon, Grumman and the Unite States Air Force. Centurion NDT's mission is to provide the highest quality test instrumentation which is simple and easy to use, at an economical cost. Precision, quality, design and perforfance standards are stressed in every instrument carrying the Centurion NDT label, and the Visual Eddy is no exception. This instrument performs flawlessly because it was designed to and would not be sold if it did not meet those design criteria.
Look for the Visual Eddy Sticker
As a diver, a firefighter or any end user of a high pressure aluminum cylinder, one should insist the the tank being used was eddy current tested with the Visual Eddy test system. This is the only way to be certain that the best instrument was used to verify your tank. Look for th Visual Eddy sticker on the side of the tank. If it is not there, ask why not. Take responsibility for yor satety and demand that the tank be inspected with the right equipment.