Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, “Global Non-destructive Testing Inspection Services Market: Forecast to 2022,” identifies key growth opportunities while detailing the challenges and threats. The report finds growth and revenue opportunities emerge from the advent of new business models, as well as mergers and acquisition activity, and covers the technology segments of ultrasonic, radiography, electromagnetic, visual inspection, and penetrant test. Below, Prem Shanmugam, senior consultant for measurement and instrumentation at Frost & Sullivan, shares some of the insights gained from F&S’s latest forecast.

MPT: How would you assess the general state of the non-destructive test inspection services market?

Prem Shanmugam: Rebounding from a two-year slump, the non-destructive test (NDT) inspection services market is undergoing an overall transformation. The convergence of various technologies such as Big Data, predictive analytics, digital twin, cloud computing, and smart factories is enhancing growth opportunities in the market, giving rise to several new business models. Vendors are making concerted efforts to convert Big Data to smart data and shift the market from the traditional time-people business model to more proactive performance-based business models.

MPT: What changes has the push toward Big Data brought? Are these transformational technologies?

Prem Shanmugam: Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based NDT capabilities are altering market structures and driving the transformation of traditional business models. Automation companies are increasingly repositioning themselves as service providers, while sensorization and predictive analytics have enabled vendors to develop innovative business models.

This evolving market ecosystem will encourage numerous mergers and acquisitions as NDT inspection service companies look to broaden their capabilities in areas such as online monitoring, robotics, and predictive analytics. The convergence of dimensional metrology with NDT applications will help create a competitive advantage for NDT vendors by allowing them to expand beyond their core capabilities. For instance, technology synergies will enable vendors to use 3D portable laser scanners to scan pipeline corrosion.

MPT: Is the rise in smart technologies a response to the “brain drain” in industrial engineering? A demand of the market? Or a bit of both?

Prem Shanmugam: Another significant benefit of applying technologies such as connectivity, cloud, and advanced analytics is that it mitigates the challenge of a shrinking pool of experienced and qualified NDT technicians. There are also additional revenue opportunities to be gained by leveraging cutting-edge technologies, such as AI-powered industrial robots in inspection and material handling and intelligent algorithms for processing huge amounts of data in real time.

MPT: What innovations or new techniques can you foresee becoming more widely adapted?

Prem Shanmugam: We can also expect drones to inspect components and repair damaged components in the wind energy sector. The results will be automatically analyzed using fuzzy logic and neural networks. Also, mechanical follow-up tools can ensure adherence to the structure of the actual part or new advanced technologies such as CT 3D X-rays. The combined synergies of NDT inspection services with online monitoring solutions will be similar to condition monitoring and other ICT and advanced analytics.

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