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We are continuously adding content to this section, so feel free to contact us by email should you have any questions that are not yet addressed in this FAQ.

Q. Is your process "green"?

A. Technically there is no "green certification" for our service, but it is important to understand that we pride ourselves on maintaining the highest levels of green business practices possible.   

Our scanning process is Clean, Green, and Lean:

- No harsh chemicals, no noise pollution, no waste. We even file our reports
   electronically to save paper.
- Prevents unnecessary replacement of good pipe, resulting in less material
   dumped in landfills and less environmental impact from pipe manufacturing.
- Helps prevent the pollution that would have been generated from system failure,
   including lost or wasted water, damaged equipment, fire damage, toxins
   released into the atmosphere or water supply, etc.

Q. Will my company get a discount on its property insurance after SoniTech performs its NDT testing?

A. Maybe. We can't speak for your insurance company specifically, but some companies have been eligible for substantial discounts after submitting SoniTech's report.

Q. I already have a contractor servicing my fire or cooling system pipe. Why would I want to have SoniTech scan my system?

A. Many large companies contract this sort of service out to specialized vendors, however none of those "specialty" contractors have the ability to provide the value of information that SoniTech NDT provides. Additionally, SoniTech does not install or repair these systems, so there is no bias in our reporting.

SoniTech NDT works in conjunction with you and your other contractors to help develop the most cost effective and efficient mitigation possible.

Q. My system is only a few years old, so why have it inspected for corrosion?

A. MIC and other forms of corrosion can develop very quickly, especially with "today's" pipe. The alloys used within the last 15 years or so can be much more susceptible to corrosion than that used many many years ago.

We have witnessed significant corrosion in pipe as little as 3 years old.

Q. Does the scanning process have any harmful side effects to people, animals, food, etc.?

A. No, the technology is perfectly safe. As a matter of fact, the principles of this technology are similar to that of sonograms that are given to expecting mothers.

Q. Is your equipment safe to use around sensitive electronics?
(servers, clean rooms, medical equipment, etc.)

A. Yes it is safe. It bears no danger to electronics, and the equipment has even been used in Class 1 clean rooms. The physics that make this technology work, reply upon the very characteristic that ultrasonic sound waves do not travel well through the air.

Q. Can SoniTech NDT safely perform scans around combustible materials?

A. Yes, the electronics are all solid state and produce no source for ignition. Additionally, the transducers in the scan head are protected by a non-conductive material, acting as an insulator for static electricity.

Q. Do I need to shut down my fire or cooling system when you perform your scans?

A. Typically no, SoniTech's scanning technology is 100% non-destructive. We lightly touch our scan head to the pipe and generate a reading in a few seconds. No cutting pipe, no draining the system, no need for a fire marshal, no manufacturing shut downs, no deployment of backup systems, no trouble at all. On occasion, pipe temoreatures may exceed the limits of the sensors, which may require temporary system shut down.

Q. What other options do I have to inspect/maintain my system?

A. Here are a few of the most common methods used to address these systems. The important factor to realize is that there is no single "magic bullet" that will address ALL the needs of the system.

Traditional NFPA required flow testing: This is a great "first line of defense", particularly for low risk facilities, but many companies stop at this point, doing the bare minimum required by law. The intention of these inspections is to look for general indicators of a problem, and then investigate further to define the location and severity of potential issues.
 
The "wait and see" approach: The problem here is that you never know when or how badly a failure can affect you, and often times the pipe repair costs will be dwarfed by the ancillary costs associated with the failure (lost equipment, lost data, production down time, injury or death to employees). A good predictive maintenance program can go a long way to proactively and economically addressing these preventable problems.
 
Water testing and/or chemical treatment: Testing will show you the condition of the water, but it does not tell you the most important information, the internal condition of pipe walls.

Treatment is a good way to slow the corrosion process and extend the life of your system if it is not already significantly corroded, but treatment is not permanent, it will not completely stop corrosion, and most importantly, it will not reverse corrosion issues already present in the system. The only way to do that is to map and replace corroded pipe.
 
Conventional Ultrasonic Thickness Testing: This is a valuable tool and something we use to help substantiate our findings, but there are a few key limitations with conventional ultrasound thickness technology. Most notably, conventional ultrasound can only detect wall loss in a very small area so you must place the probe directly over localized corrosion to detect degradation, and it does not detect corrosion build up at all, giving false "good" readings for corroded pipe.
 
Radiography: This is probably the closest non-destructive technology to SoniTech's Localized Guided Wave system in terms of detail, however radiography does require the use of dangerous radiation and the process is relatively slow. A top notch radiography team can collect approximately 30 data points in the course of 1 day, while SoniTech can collect 150 to 200+ data points of highly detailed information in the same day.

Borescope: A technology best employed where first-hand visual confirmation in a localized area is required; however it provides limited information over a large area and it is a destructive testing method that requires cutting the system open in multiple locations to insert the camera. Opening the system is messy, noisy, expensive, generates additional points of failure, and requires shutting down the fire or cooling system (along with all of the logistical difficulties associated with doing so).

Q. Can SoniTech NDT scan pipe located behind drywall or under insulation?

A. No, the scan head must physically touch the pipe so about a 4" wide strip of insulation or drywall would have to be temporarily removed in the immediate areas where scans are performed.

Q. Can SoniTech scan any kind of pipe?

A. No, there are some limitations to the type and size of pipe that can be tested with this technology. Most fire sprinkler, condenser water, and chiller pipe fall within those limitations. Please contact us for more information on how SoniTech NDT can satisfy your specific needs.

Q. How long does it take to scan my system?

A. There are many variables, but typically a team of 2 technicians can quietly and accurately scan a 50k to 100k square foot area in one day.

Q. How long will it take to get my final report?

A. In most cases, we can deliver the final report within a few days after the on-site scanning is complete

Please click here to contact us directly with any additional questions you may have.

 
   
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