The Internet of Things (IOT) refers to the real-time collection of objects or processes that need to be monitored, connected, and interacted with through various information sensors, radio frequency identification technology, global positioning system, infrared sensing, laser scanning, and other devices and technologies. By collecting various needed information such as sound, light, heat, electricity, mechanics, chemistry, biology, and location of objects, combined with various possible network access, it realizes the ubiquitous connection between things and things, things, and people, as well as intelligent sensing, identification, and management of objects and processes.
IoT is an information carrier based on the Internet, traditional telecommunication networks, etc. It allows all common physical objects that can be independently addressed to form an interconnected network. IoT technology has greatly changed people's lifestyles and working modes over the years. Now, IoT technology is also being gradually extended to the field of non-destructive testing and some manufacturing industries for quality analysis and quality control.
Even simple NDT instruments, such as ultrasonic thickness gauges commonly used in corrosion monitoring, are being upgraded and equipped with some available wireless connectivity, making them perfectly suited to the Industry 4.0 concept.
When inspection equipment can be connected to the cloud, it can make it possible to gain more convenience and even change the inspection process. For example, people are able to access and use relevant inspection information to make decisions faster, which is huge time advantage. The flow of information by connecting NDT equipment to office data analysts can greatly improve the inspection workflow while speeding up the analysis process.
In the case of ultrasonic thickness gauges, for example, before the advent of digital recorders, handwritten recording of results was the most common method used when using thickness gauges for thickness measurements. Even now, some companies still have inspectors handwrite data onto an isometric measurement chart of the asset being inspected in order to correlate the data to a specific condition monitoring location (CML). However, since these numbers are recorded manually by the inspector, it is inevitable that pencil errors will occur over time, and handwritten results, while simple, are time consuming because the readings will eventually need to be transcribed into an official report or entered into a database for recording, in addition to increasing the chances of error - after all, entering numbers for long periods of time requires staff to maintain a high level of concentration.
Even some thickness gauges equipped with digital recorders face some of the same challenges. First, the data must be transferred to a PC or laptop via a data transfer cable or by removing a memory card. As a result, it may sometimes be necessary to remove the gauge from the field, and the analyst must wait until the inspection is complete to view the data. This can add time and cost to the overall inspection process if there is a need to re-inspect.
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