Are you torn between the best ultrasonic brand to choose from, GE or Olympus? When it comes to inspection in your manufacturing processes, ultrasonic sensing is one of the most effective techniques. It can be very challenging to choose between these two brands with quality probes at an affordable price. Each type has its benefits, but there are also a few key differences between these two inspection methods. The main factor to consider when choosing between the two is whether or not your part requires an in-depth inspection.
This article is designed to help you decide on the best brand for ultrasonic probes. You can compare each brand’s qualities and benefits to determine which one is the best for you.
I. GE Ultrasonic Probe
1. About GE
The GE company, founded in 1892. is one of the top brands in the ultrasonic market. With the invention of the wireless transducer, the company pioneered in the development of ultrasonic technology. The company was successful, and with time, it entered the arena of inspection and ultrasonic testing. GE now focuses on the development and manufacture of industrial inspection and sensing tools such as the ultrasonic probes and phased array transducers. The GE family has developed a large market. Nowadays, there are 1,600 employees in the company’s development department, with more than 200 patents at hand. With a monthly production capacity of 40 ultrasonic probes and an annual output of 200,000 probes, the GE brand is a leader in the ultrasonic market.
2. Popular GE Ultrasonic Transducers
Ultrasonic Contact Transducers
GE’s ultrasonic contact transducers are some of the most accurate ultrasonic testing tools. The transducers have a frequency range of 40 kHz to 100 kHz. They are ideal probes for non-destructive testing, metal inspection, and flaw detection in sheet metal components. The transducers are also available for dry or liquid immersion operations.
- High accuracy of the sensor
- Durable design
- Easy to use and maintain
- Versatile transducer
- Wide range of frequency, high sensitivity and strong coupling effect
- Ultrasonic inspection of sheet metal thickness
- High-speed metal flaw detection
- Thickness testing of weld seams
- Measurement of wall thickness in castings, forgings and extrusions
- Sound velocity measurement for continuous process monitoring
The immersion probes from GE are ideal for irregular geometrical parts. The transducers should be used in liquids or when there is a large amount of dust and dirt. They are reliable because of consistent coupling, which enables them to produce reliable and replicable results. The probes are available for a wide range of frequencies: 16, 18, 20 and 25 kHz.
- Efficient coupling and a high accuracy
- High-power transducers for use in harsh environments
- Durable design for reliable performance
- Integrated sensors for centering and alignment
- No lock-up or calibration required
- Inspection of billets, plates and bars
- Detection of flaws in shafts, axles and disks
- Scanning and inspecting regular and irregularly shaped components
GE’s thickness transducers are perfect for inspection of components that are difficult to access. They are designed for various thickness measurements on components at angles and in difficult conditions, including precision parts and components subject to wear.
- High-quality transducers for inspecting and measuring thickness
- Simple to use; no lock-up or calibration required
- Suitable for applications where parts are difficult to access
- Suitable for deburring, de-silicon and deburring
- Inspection and monitoring of surface quality and thickness
- Measurement and inspection of hard-to-reach areas
- Defects scans in components and other parts
- Inspection for dirt, marks, scratches, fine cracks or surface defects
Special Application Probes
GE has developed special application probes for special applications where the common probes are unreliable. They range from high-temperature probes to roller wheel transducers. They also have custom made transducers which can be made specifically for you.
- High accuracy; reliable and precise
- Short dwell time for fast response time
- Flexible performance according to the application
- Custom made to suit your needs
- Inspection of castings, forgings and Extrusions
- Measuring thickness on non-conforming parts
- Density measurements of bulk samples
II. Olympus Ultrasonic Transducer
1. About Olympus
Founded in 2005, Olympus is a company focused on researching, developing, and manufacturing ultrasonic probes. The ultrasonic probes, NDT transducers, phased array and eddy current are just a few of the technologies developed by Olympus. Olympus produces high-quality inspection tools available in various frequencies and calibrations to fit different styles and cable styles.
Olympus ensures that they produce safe products using a specially developed production management system, including production control and quality control.
Olympus has more than 500 employees who have been working in their research and development center for many years. There are also over 180 engineers and technicians involved in the R&D process of Olympus. With a monthly production capacity of 20 probes and an annual output of over 10,000 probes, Olympus is ranked among the top three ultrasound manufacturers in the world.
2. Popular Olympus Ultrasonic Transducers
Angle Beam Transducers
The angle beam transducers from Olympus are made primarily to inspect the integrity of welds. The transducers use a high-frequency ultrasonic propagation and are positioned in a direction perpendicular to the weld seam. These single-element transducers use a wedge to introduce a longitudinal or shear wave on the test piece to reduce the effect of the angle of incidence on the measurement.
- Use Acquapath wedges with three material designs
- High-temperature wedges for inspecting hot materials and surfaces
- Optional 180° flip wedge to reduce the effects of reflection on the weld surface
- Wedges have contours available
- Sizing and flaw detection
- Crack detection and characterization
- NDT of pipelines and rectangular ducts
- Inspection of welds in castings, pipes, tubes and forgings
A contact transducer is a device that uses an ultrasonic signal to transmit the pressure profile across a surface. It is a single element transducer used by direct contact with the test piece using longitudinal waves.
- Designed for rugged industrial use
- Have a close acoustic impedance which matches most metals
- Can test a variety of materials
- Detecting the flaws on straight beams and gauging their thickness.
- Detecting delaminations and determining their size.
- Measuring sound velocity and material characterization.
- Used continuously on materials of up to 122°F / 50°C
- Inspecting welds on material surface
Replaceable Delay Line Transducers
A replaceable delay line transducer is designed to use specifically with a delayed flow line. These transducers are made to withstand high temperatures.
- Use a delayed line to ensure excellent surface resolution
- Have a higher frequency
- Improved ability to measure and detect a small flaws
- Have contours to fit curved regions
- Measurement of surface velocity and thickness
- Detection of a surface flaw, cracks and cracks in non-metallic materials
- Measuring large pipes and plates more difficult to access with a wedge type transducer
- Measuring large volumes of materials with depth up to 40 ft (12 m)
Dual Element Transducers
A dual-element transducer is a single transducer head that has two crystal elements in it which are separated by an acoustic barrier.
These transducers are designed to increase the frequency of a single element to detect deeper flaws in thicker or larger test pieces, thus resulting in better resolution.
- Improved near-surface resolution
- Eliminate delay line multiples for high-temperature applications
- Have good coupling on curved and rough surfaces.
- Reduced back-scattering noise.
- They have contours for adhering to curved surfaces.
- Monitoring erosion and corrosion.
- Inspecting cladding bond and weld overlay
- Measuring the stress and load for beams, boats and pipelines.
- Detecting internal cracking of pipes and cylinders.
- Recommended for heavy-duty applications of up to 800°F / 425°C.
High-frequency transducers are single element immersion transducers which produce 20 MHz frequencies and above. Their performance depends on the applications and the pulser/receiver. These transducers are usually custom made, depending on your preferences.
- Excellent resolution due to heavily dumped broadband
- Shorter wavelengths for superior flaw detections capabilities
- Can measure very small beam diameters with greater focusing
- Measuring the thickness of the creep plate in high-temperature environments.
- Measuring the quality of weld seams in large assemblies
- Inspecting pipes and welds in steel and stainless steel
- Checking the wall thickness of metallic elements on offshore platforms, bridges etc.
Immersion transducers are single crystal transducers which use an acoustic transmission to transmit the pressure profile across a surface and have their crystal elements immersed in the test medium. They are designed to transmit ultrasound where the test piece is completely immersed in water.
- Uniform coupling because of the immersion technique
- Increased sound energy output due to matching quarter-wavelength layer.
- Corrosion resistance.
- Proprietary RF shielding for improved signal-to-noise characteristics.
- Custom made transducers are available.
- Ultrasonic testing of wall thickness of piping systems
- Automated scanning
- Characterization of welds and joints
- Measuring the damaged wall thickness of tanks and vessels.
Spot Weld Transducers
The spot weld transducer from Olympus is designed specifically to test various spot welds and provide optimum optical results. Analyzing what is known as the “ringdown” of sound within the weld nugget is part of ultrasonic inspection of spot welds.
- Broadband design allows excellent ratios of signal-to-noise
- Available in incremental multitude sizes of 0.5mm
- Versatile spot weld transducers
- Spot weld inspection of welds
- Weigh-in-motion flaw detection of spot welds
- Characterization of welds and joints
- Detecting welds by using the non-contact bolometer method
TOFD transducers are designed to produce longitudinal waves refracted in steel and plastic materials. TOFD transducers can produce sound waves that are refracted in a solid at frequencies of less than 200 kHz to study defects such as voids and surface cracks. They use crack sizing technology which uses the Time of Flight Diffraction technique.
- Can detect voids in steel samples with depths of 6 mm.
- Can refract sound in a solid.
- Suitable for inspection of large thick steel samples.
- Higher sensitivity than the TOFD transducers.
- Detect voids in small steel samples
- Inspection of steel plates with thicknesses of 4 mm and above.
- Suitable for inspections of in-service structures like bridges and ships.
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III. GE vs Olympus: Which is the Best for you?
- Type of Material
GE transducers are better for steel and plastics applications, while Olympus transducers are better for general materials, including non-metals and alloys such as concrete, stone, ceramics and rubber.
GE is better for stainless steel and plastic materials. In contrast, Olympus is a multi-purpose ultrasonic transducer that can perform flaw detection at thickness ranges of 0.5mm to 4mm.
The Olympus transducer has an ultra-wideband technology that allows the sound waves to refract in the solid material in steel plates with a 4 mm and above thickness. GE can only perform spot weld inspection on steel plates with a thickness of 1mm or below. Olympus transducers are better for thicker steel plates than GE spot weld transducers.
While GE transducers can measure surfaces of 90°, the Olympus transducer has a high-frequency surface geometry that allows penetration into the material and successful crack sizing. This is especially crucial in evaluating voids from irregularities in the material.
GE transducers use the G-Scan system specially designed to operate at less than 200 kHz and high sound intensities. This enables it to detect damage in thick samples.
GE is better for Spot welds and longitudinal wave analysis, while the Olympus transducer is better for non-metals and alloys.
The Olympus transducer is better at high and low temperatures. It is tested to operate at temperatures of -40°C to 50°C, which is 10°C higher than the temperature range of GE transducers which perform best at -20°C to 40°C.
Olympus transducer is sold on a cost per use basis, which is lower than the capacity of the GE transducer. This is because the Olympus transducer has a longer life span because it can perform flaw detection at any temperature and works better in harsh conditions.
IV. Comparison with Other Brands of Ultrasonic Probes: GE vs Olympus vs NDT-KITS
Although both the GE and Olympus brand of transducers are of high quality, NDT-KITS transducers are more superior. NDT-KITS offers you more advanced transducers capable of flaw detection at thicknesses of 0.5mm to 300mm at a competitive price.
NDT-KITS is a tech company that focuses on the research and development of ultrasonic systems such as ultrasonic probes. NDT-KITS which was founded in 1988 has a leading position in research and development having developed technologies such as 1-3 composite wafers, phased array ultrasonic probes and ultrasonic phased array equipment. This makes the ultrasonic proves developed and manufactured by NDT-KITS of the highest standard.
V. Your Budget Pick: NDT-KITS
When it comes to the prices of transducers, the NDT-KITS brand offers the best quality of transducers in terms of durability and lifetime warranty.
Although they are not as expensive as the GE and Olympus brands, they are better than cheaper brands in terms of performance.
Overall, NDT-KITS transducers are your best choice for your budget compared to the GE and Olympus transducers.
Overall, both GE and Olympus brands of transducers are of high quality. Each has its advantage, but the Olympus has been tested to work better in harsher conditions than GE.
Both GE and Olympus brands use piezoelectric technology. While GE uses the traditional piezoelectric system, Olympus and NDT-KITS use a newer HTS or High-Temperature Superconducting system. The new transducer type is also known as 2-element 3-phase piezoelectric system, which operates in temperatures up to 40°C without any problems.
Although Olympus and GE brands are of excellent quality, NDT-KITS transducers are better because they offer the best quality and features for your budget.