The World Yacht Racing Forum brings together over 400 industry leaders and decision makers who meet annually to discuss the strategies and innovations that are taking place within this rapidly growing sector. This year the event was held in Portugal and Wavelength NDT, in partnership with Marine Results, were invited to play a lead role in an expert panel as part of the Yacht Racing Design and Technology Symposium.
The focus subject delivered was “Rigging and Spars: Analysing the Effective use of NDT” and the panel also included expert peers from Southern Spars (New Zealand) and QI Composites (Italy). Dr Richard Freemantle from Wavelength NDT led the forum discussion which included debate around the benefits of Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) on rigs and other marine composite components, compared to alternative inspection systems. Whether there should be industry standards of compliance for designers and rig manufacturers for the safety and integrity of components? And What can the yacht racing industry learn from the use of NDT in the Aerospace and Motorsport sectors?
The simple advantage of NDT- the ability to detect and characterize hidden defects in composite structures, without resorting to invasive testing, are immediate. Cost and time savings are practically instant. In the construction and manufacturing phases defects can be identified before further “value is added” during the build process. In-service structural problems can be detected early on, often preventing catastrophic failure, therefore avoiding huge cost both in financial and human terms.
Overviews of A, B, and C-Scan ultrasonic inspection techniques were delivered by Dr Freemantle, with inspection examples covering impact damage, ply imaging, honeycomb skin to core bond imaging, voids and delaminations. The strengths of NDT and overall risk management were also a hot topic of debate, giving rise to consensus that there is a needforofficial guidance from industry bodies and manufacturers on the use of and interpretation of NDT data; giving rise to standardized practices throughout the industry and between constructors/designers.
The aerospace and performance automotive sectors have been using NDT inspection techniques successfully across many applications, in both metallic and composite structures. Testing methodologies are well proven, which should enable easy translation into yacht and marine applications. The standardization of personnel training for those who are conducting inspections and involved in technique development for component and material manufacturers is a key strategy focus for the sector in the future.