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Analysis: Rise of IIoT drives adoption of predictive inspection models in non-destructive testing

Rebounding from a two-year slump, the non-destructive test (NDT) inspection services market is undergoing an overall transformation. The convergence of various technologies, such as big data, predictive analytics, digital twin, cloud computing and smart factories, is enhancing growth opportunities in the market, giving rise to new business models. Vendors are making concerted efforts to convert big data to smart data and shift the market from the traditional time-people business model to more proactive performance-based business models.

“Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and artificial intelligence (AI)-based NDT capabilities are altering market structures and driving the transformation of traditional business models,” Prem Shanmugam, Senior Consultant for Measurement & Instrumentation at Frost & Sullivan, said. “Automation companies are increasingly repositioning themselves as service providers, while sensorization and predictive analytics have enabled vendors to develop innovative business models.”

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Global Non-destructive Testing Inspection Services Market, Forecast to 2022, identifies key growth opportunities while detailing the challenges and threats. The forecast period is from 2018 to 2022, with 2017 being the base year. It covers the technology segments of ultrasonic, radiography, electromagnetic, visual inspection, and penetrant test.

“This evolving market ecosystem will encourage numerous mergers and acquisitions as NDT inspection service companies look to broaden their capabilities in areas such as online monitoring, robotics and predictive analytics,” Mr Shanmugam said. “The convergence of dimensional metrology with NDT applications will help create a competitive advantage for NDT vendors by allowing them to expand beyond their core capabilities. For instance, technology synergies will enable vendors to use 3D portable laser scanners to scan pipeline corrosion.”

Another significant benefit of applying technologies such as connectivity, cloud and advanced analytics is that it mitigates the challenge of a shrinking pool of experienced and qualified NDT technicians. There are additional revenue opportunities to be gained by leveraging cutting-edge technologies, such as:

  • AI-powered industrial robots in inspection and material handling.
  • Intelligent algorithms for processing huge amounts of data in real time.
  • Drones to inspect components and repair damaged components in the wind energy sector. The results will be automatically analyzed using fuzzy logic and neural networks.
  • Mechanical follow-up tools to ensure adherence to the structure of the actual part or new advanced technologies such as CT 3D X-rays.
  • The combined synergies of NDT inspection services with online monitoring solutions similar to condition monitoring and other ICT and advanced analytics.

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