The South African Institute for Non-Destructive Testing (Saint) is set to host the eighteenth World Conference on Non-Destructive Testing in Durban, from April 16 to 20 next year.
It will be the first time the conference is held on African soil and will give local engineers the opportunity to network with nondestructive testing (NDT) pro- fessionals from around the world.
The exhibition will cover 9 000 m2 and many renowned NDT equipment suppliers from around the world will attend.
The theme of the conference is ‘NDT in service of society, safety assurance, quality control and condition monitoring’. The aim of the event is to identify challenges and find potential solutions to issues in the area of NDT, including training and regulation, applications of NDT in various sectors, research and development techniques, condition monitoring, materials characterisation and NDT in Africa.
Meanwhile, Saint is working towards improving NDT training. The institution was established in 1968 with the aim of coordinating the education and training of NDT personnel in the country. It says, in those days, there was a need for level one and level two NDT practitioners, but level three services were often handled by overseas contractors and, as a result, level three education has not been given the attention it should have and has not made a significant contribution to the engineering field.
Saint has identified the current chal- lenges within the South African NDT training industry, which involves the required in-service training that students need to complete before they can become practitioners in the field.
Saint president Dr Manfred Johannes says all international personnel qualifica- tion standards require varying levels of in-service training for the different test methods and technology to which practitioners must be qualified and certified.
“The in-service training has virtually fallen by the wayside since the imple- mentation of outsourcing of noncore activities and skills by large corporations, which performed this in-service training in the past,” says Johannes.
To deal with the problem, Saint is supporting the efforts of training facility AX In-Service Training (AX IST), which is in the process of coordinating in-service training for people who want to enter the NDT field, but who do not have an employer to facilitate their in-service training.
“The first students have been regis- tered with AX IST and the process of exposing the learners to appropriate and applicable in-service training has started,” says Johannes.
He adds that Saint has been giving lectures on NDT for a number of years, in MSc courses and in maintenance engineering and condition-based maintenance, and, since these began, a number of industries have identified the short- comings in the application of NDT and are busy ensuring that suitably qualified NDT personnel become available to fill the positions.