LEUSDEN, The Netherlands -- AcousticEye, a non-destructive inspection technologies startup, declared "the end of sampling" for the heat-exchanger market. With its ability to inspect tubes 10 to 20 times faster than all previously existing methods, AcousticEye's easy-to-use acoustic-based technology makes it possible, for the first time ever, for companies to accurately test 100% of their heat exchangers.
Cost, time, and expertise constraints have historically made it impractical to test every tube in heat-exchanger systems. Inspectors have had to rely instead on the hope that sampled subsets would accurately represent the functional integrity of heat-exchanger tubes that are so critical to the safe and reliable operation of heat exchanger systems across such industries as oil and gas, chemical, and power-generation markets.
"As a service provider for power plant tubular heat exchanger systems, we have been impressed with the ease of use, speed, and accuracy of the AcousticEye technology," said Earl Proud, Vice President/General Manager, TEi Struthers Services. "The capabilities of the Dolphin system and accompanying software are powerful, and we have yet to fully explore the scope and versatility of its application."
The costs of sampling's inherent failures are significant: Garrett-Price and Pritchard found that total heat exchanger fouling costs for highly industrialized countries represent about 0.25% of those countries' gross national product (GNP). AcousticEye's innovative Dolphin system eliminates the inherent statistical risk that comes with the incomplete and unsafe approach of inspection by sampling.
"A large portion of the 15 to 20 million heat exchanger installations worldwide are aging, requiring more frequent inspections to ensure structural integrity, a process that historically has been difficult, time consuming, and at times, not possible at all due to tube configuration or material," said Nadav Ofir, Senior Consultant, Frost & Sullivan. "AcousticEye's technology significantly simplifies the entire heat exchanger inspection procedure, enabling 100% inspection of tubes in a significantly shorter time. In addition, AcousticEye's analysis software reduces the dependency on NDT technician availability, a limiting factor in the industry. Overall, the AcousticEye solution brings a very positive message to sectors where small diameter tubes are utilized."
With existing technologies, heat exchanger users are typically limited to sample-testing well under 10% of deployed tubes. AcousticEye's Dolphin system, based on Acoustic Pulse Reflectometry (APR), is a non-invasive, non-destructive testing (NDT) technology that enables inspection of heat exchanger system tubes of every configuration, size, and material—aspects that have inherently limited the effectiveness of traditional invasive methods. The company's accompanying software produces automated, repeatable results that are consistent, comprehensive, objective, and actionable, enabling anyone to conduct and analyze inspection data. The automated analysis of the test results removes the historical need to rely on the interpretation of experts.
Unlike the industry standard of eddy current testing that requires years of education and a high level of certification, AcousticEye's products can be learned and implemented quickly with only a two-day training course.
"Standard inspection technologies are time-consuming and require highly skilled professionals to physically traverse the entire length of a tube with specialized probes, a process that is slow and prone to breakdown," said Tal Pechter, CEO, AcousticEye. "Our goal is to change the way companies inspect and monitor heat exchanger systems. With our patented APR technology companies can test tubes in less than 9 seconds each. They no longer need to rely on sampling and can now inspect 100% of tubes quickly and confidently."
Utilizing APR, AcousticEye's Dolphin technology emits a series of acoustic waves and then measures the resulting reflections. The company's patented software assigns a different signature to each type of flaw, allowing the system to identify every defect, then pinpoint the location and determine the severity of every problem—all without human interaction or interpretation.
AcousticEye Ltd. was established in 2005 by Tal Pechter and Dr. Noam Amir to bring acoustic technology to the NDT (Non Destructive Testing) industry. The company develops, manufacturers, and markets mobile and embedded tube inspection devices. AcousticEye's patented (pending) technology offers accurate and rapid single point inspection of inaccessible tubes. The company's Dolphin family of devices are unique in their ability to quickly find and accurately locate defects in complex tube systems regardless of their material, without the need for physically traversing a probe along the tubes.