Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) is an ideal form of preventative maintenance, and is used extensively by electricity utility Eskom during shutdowns. The effectiveness of NDT is enhanced even further by rope access, which ensures the rapid deployment of skilled technicians to carry out such critical inspection work.
Rope access is the most cost-effective and efficient means of gaining access to difficult-to-reach areas such as boilers during shutdowns, Skyriders Marketing Manager Mike Zinn explains. These are categorised as either intermediate shutdowns (of nine to ten days’ duration for inspections) or general outages (which can take up to 16 days for the inspections).
In general, power-station shutdowns have a limited duration, during which time critical components are inspected, in addition to any trouble spots identified from previous inspections. Following this, the necessary repairs or maintenance is carried out.
“The first step is understanding the client’s specific requirements. In terms of power stations, Eskom already has a Wear Failure System in place for inspection purposes. This guides us in our particular scope of work, which can range from visual inspection only, to ultrasonic wall-thickness measurement (UT), dye-penetrant or magnetic particle testing, and NDT. All of these inspection methods are aimed at determining any defects with the various components,” Zinn points out.
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