Do you know what is the ultimate measure of the accuracy or inaccuracy of your ultrasonic testing? And why is the choice of an ultrasonic probe so important?
The measure of how accurate your ultrasonic testing is all lies on the kind of probe that you choose for your UT applications. Different probes are designed for different applications and levels of accuracy.
In this article, we will compare ultrasonic probes from different manufacturers (Phoenix ISL, Zetec and NDT-KITS), and their applications. We will also discuss how probes from these manufacturers function in specific conditions. Keep reading to learn more.
I. Zetec Ultrasonic Probe
1. About Zetec
Zetec prides itself in being a world leader in the manufacture and supply of NDT instruments and accessories. For more than 50 years, Zetec has provided different industries with both eddy current and ultrasonic testing solutions that are not only cost efficient but also perform highly in terms of instrument quality and accuracy.
The company has a wide range of ultrasonic probes available for different instruments, to help you increase the efficiency of your quality inspections. With six different probe sizes and a large range of minimum and maximum frequency values, Zetec probes will help you cover a broad range of applications no matter what your business is about.
2. Popular Zetec Ultrasonic Probes
Standard 1D-Linear Probes
Standard 1D linear probes by Zetec are divided into 2 categories, the Azimuthal design probes and linear design probes. They differ in sizes from small, medium, large and extra large for the Azimuthal probes, while the linear probes are available in medium and large sizes. This difference in probe size helps to increase the number of applications that 1D-Linear probes can be used for.
- Available in a wide range of frequencies (2.25 – 10MHz)
- Number of elements range from 16 to 64 crystals
- They can be connected to external accessories to increase the number of applications the probes can perform.
- Weld inspection
- Inspection of the integrity of components
1D-Linear Low-profile Probes
Small defects can sometimes go unnoticed if the right probe is not used. 1D-Linear low profile probes have been specially designed for detection of tiny flaws in thin wall pipes. Moreover, 1D linear low profile probes require only a small area of the test material to be accessible for efficient defect detection. They can work efficiently on only 11mm clearance.
- They only require a small test area to work efficiently
- They are optimized for small sized defect detection
- They have a high frequency of 7.5MHz, making them highly sensitive to material defects.
- Flaw detection in thin wall pipes
- Detection of small defects such as cracks in test materials
- Used for efficient scanning on tight areas due to the small profile.
Standard 2D-Matrix Probes
These are highly sensitive probes with a beam skewing capability for better detection of unique and non linear flaws in materials. They use compression waves instead of shear waves for their functionality which helps increase the signal to noise ratio and therefore increases the sensitivity to unique defects.
- Used in complicated inspection due to their beam skewing ability
- Improved detection of non-linear flaws
- Can be used for inspection of different types of materials
- Weld inspection for dissimilar metals
- Inspection of coarse-grained material
- Austenitic materials inspection
- Inspection of corrosion-resistant alloys
Dedicated 1D-Linear Low-Profile Probes
These are extra-thin probes by Zetec that are available in either single or dual head configuration. The probes have high operating frequencies of 5MHz, 7.5MHz and 10MHz making them ideal for different kinds of applications.
- The low profile and extra thin size makes them suitable for use in test components with limited exposed areas.
- They are available with different numbers of elements (16 and 32) for both single and dual head probes.
- Detection of tiny flaws in thin components
- Material quality inspection on curved shape components
Zetec TOFD probes are available in 3 different crystal diameters of 3, 6 and 12mm in frequency ranges of 2-15MHz. These probes offer high accuracy flaw detection as compared to other types of probes; they also give an option of flaw sizing when paired with the right accessories.
- Accurate defect detection in welded components.
- Can detect and size cracks in metal components.
- Better accuracy and more versatility because of the variable crystal diameters and wide frequency range.
- Accurate flaw detection in welds.
- Accurate sizing of flaws such as material cracks.
Zetec works together with their clients to make customized probes that are specially made to fit the specific testing needs of the clients. They can fully design and produce new probes or manipulate available standard probes as per the customer’s specifications.
Specially made for specific applications therefore ensure high accuracy.
- The probes can be made with as many crystal elements or as few elements as you desire.
- Optimized for all TOFD applications, most notably being flaw detection and crack sizing in welds.
II. Phoenix ISL Ultrasonic Probes
1. About Phoenix ISL
With almost 40 years’ experience to their name, Phoenix Inspection Systems Limited have specialized in the production of NDT ultrasonic instruments that are used around the world to offer testing solutions in different applications. They have a full range of UT transducers used for defect detection, corrosion surveys, and weld testing among others.
Whether you need a standard probe, looking to make some few alterations to a probe or you need a fully customized system, Phoenix ISL has an expert technical team that will help you achieve exactly what you require. They are committed to providing transducers that are high performing and made according to international standards.
2. Popular Phoenix ISL Ultrasonic Probes
Phased Array Transducers
These are linear phased array probes that have been designed for high performance using piezo-composite elements. They are highly sensitive and accurate and provide quality images to ensure you get all the proper information you require from a material’s quality scanning procedure.
- They are compatible with different kinds of phased array instruments and wedges.
- Transducers can hold 16 up to 64 elements
- They operate at frequencies of 5MHz – 7.5MHz
- Defect detection in welds
- Defect sizing in welds
- Corrosion mapping on various materials.
Phoenix ISL high temperature transducers are designed to work on hot surfaces, saving you the time and effort you would need to cool down surfaces before scanning. They work under a wide range of temperatures making them efficient to use even in harsh industrial settings. They are available in different designs working at a frequency range of 1 to 5MHz depending on the probe type.
- Used efficiently on hot surfaces between 80°C to 200°C.
- Can be used continuously at their minimum temperature setting and intermittently at the maximum temperatures.
- Used in nuclear power plants
- Used in oil refineries for quality checks on hot surfaces
Phoenix has a wide selection of time-of-flight diffraction transducers suitable for various industrial applications. These are highly damped, high- resolution probes with varying crystal diameters that refract longitudinal waves in steel for accurate weld inspections.
- High sensitivity increases chances for flaw detection
- They have a wide frequency range of 2MHz to 15MHz
- Used together with wedges for different types of inspection
- Checking the integrity of welds
- Defect detection and sizing
Corrosion Mapping Transducers
Corrosion mapping transducers are specially made to take wall thickness measurements of materials that may be affected by corrosion. Any variation in wall thickness data over a period of time is an indicator of material defect caused by rusting or corrosion. Phoenix corrosion mapping transducers work as stand-alone probes used for manual inspection of materials. Moreover, they have an allowance of attaching a light source at the top to help in video scanning of components.
- They are able to give size and positions of material flaws
- Have a high repeatability rate for data for easier tracking of material defects
- Versatile as they can be used together with video tracking accessories
- Corrosion surveys on components in maritime and architectural materials
- Material quality inspection inside pipes and tubes
Custom Design Transducers
Special needs and applications may sometimes require a modification in a standard transducer or a fully customized transducer. Phoenix accommodates both requirements and will design a probe according to a client’s specifications. Custom probes are made to international standards so as to meet the required performance.
- The probes are made for safe use in harsh environments such as subsea or on hot surfaces.
- Probe specifications are tailored to their specific applications
- They are verified according to international quality standards.
- Nuclear power plants
- Oil refineries
- Aerospace composite inspections
- Rail and subsea material inspections
III. Zetec vs Phoenix ISL: Which is the Best for you?
Whereas both manufacturers have a wide range of transducers available in the market, there are some key features you should look at inorder to get probes that fit your specific procedures and required standards. Here is a comparison between the Zetec transducer models and Phoenix ISL transducers.
For the Zetec transducers
- Type of Material. Zetec probes are used for testing many kinds of materials such as austenitic steel, different composite metals and even coarse grained materials .
- Thickness Range. They can be used for accurate wall thickness measurements and defect detection in both thin and thick materials because of their wide frequency range.
- Geometry. Measurement on curved surfaces or straight surfaces can be done without any problem by Zetec probes. The reason for this is due to the variations in probe diameters. Probes with large sizes are used for flat surfaces while small size probes can be used for testing on curved surfaces such as thin pipes whether convex or concave in shape.
- Application. Material integrity inspections, weld inspections, wall thickness and corrosion mapping on components. All these are applications in which Zetec probes are utilized across different industries.
- Temperature. In general, Zetec probes are used on materials with maximum temperatures of approximately 50 degrees Celsius. Working on hotter surfaces will require use of additional accessories on the probes.
For the Phoenix ISL transducers
- Type of Material. The different types of Phoenix probes are used for scanning of composite and non composite kinds of metals including stainless steel.
- Thickness Range. They can be used for both thin and thick material measurements due to the wide frequency ranges of between 1 to 20MHz.
- Geometry. The varying crystal diameters of phoenix probes (3mm-20mm) enable scanning of different curvatures on test surfaces. Large crystal diameters are used for scanning flat surfaces while small diameter crystals are used for curved surfaces in either convex or concave shapes.
- Application. The many different types of transducers means that they are used for thickness measurement and defect measurement in various applications such as oil and gas, power generation, nuclear power generation, oil refinery among others.
- Temperature. high temperature transducers can be used in temperature ranges of between 80 to 200 degrees Celsius
Whereas both ultrasonic probe models have good specifications for accurate testing of various components, Phoenix ISL probes have proven to have more superior qualities than Zetec probes. The most notable advantage that Phoenix has over Zetec is their high temperature transducer range. They allow for rapid testing in extremely hot surfaces, up to 200°C without destroying the test surface or the probe.
IV. Comparison with Other Brands of Ultrasonic Probes: Zetec vs Phoenix ISL vs NDT-KITS
The third probe manufacturer for your comparison is NDT-KITS company. They have specialized in production of nondestructive testing instruments and probes that are affordable, offer high accuracy and are made from quality material. NDT-KITS manufactures both standard and customized probes, having produced more than 400+ probes so far. Our probes range includes TOFD transducers, dual element, angle beam, phased array, normal beam, and immersion ultrasonic transducers.
A comparison of some aspects of NDT-KITS probes with Phoenix and Zetec probes is as stated below:
1. Type of materials
NDT-KITS probes have higher penetration power making it possible to test reinforced composite materials, coarse grained metals and glass fiber.
2. Thickness range
The probes can measure both thin and thick components. High frequency transducers are good for thin materials while low frequency transducers are used for thick walled components.
The different probe diameters make the probes good for use in different types of curved surfaces. Coupling between probes and test surfaces is dependent on the probe size and surface curvature.
Probes are used in different applications across industries for wall thickness measurements, material flaw detection on flat and curved surfaces, flaw sizing and corrosion surveys on materials.
Most probes work at a maximum of 55°C. Working on surfaces with higher temperatures will require use of add-ons and accessories.
V. Your Perfect Pick: NDT-KITS
NDT-KITS has several types of transducers that are made for specific applications. With over 400 types of transducers to choose from, you will never go wrong in choosing an NDT-KITS probe that is a perfect pick for you.
Some advantages that NDT-KITS probes have over other models are;
More penetrating power due to the piezoelectric technology used in their manufacture. This enables testing in both metals and non-metal components of different thicknesses.
The other advantage is the ability to customize probes according to the client’s specifications. Probes can be customized with up to 1024 elements.
In conclusion, the choice of probe for ultrasonic testing is important as the probe is what determines the accuracy of the UT process. Different kinds of probes have specifications for different kinds of testing, this means, you have to be aware of what exactly you do in your business and the kind of data you require from ultrasonic testing.
Comparing several different models from various manufacturers is the right way to go about choosing a perfect UT probe for your applications. We hope that by following the information in this article, the process of choosing an ultrasonic probe for your business will not be too complicated for you.