Inside the Nondestructive Testing Department

Of all the services PTI Industries provides, NDT (nondestructive testing) is one of the most important. Checking for the integrity of a part, whether you coat it or paint it later on, is critical to part performance. NDT testing checks for discontinuities or defects that could have occurred during any part of the production process, including casting, welding, or forging.

When a part comes in for NDT, it’s inspected for flaws and weaknesses without damaging the part in any way. “If 1,000 parts arrive, then 1,000 parts are tested and given 110% inspection,” said Mat Burke, Manager of NDT, Shot Peen, Coatings and Shipping. PTI doesn’t typically test for samples unless this is specifically agreed upon.

A Typical Day in the NDT Department

The NDT department tests and inspects anywhere from 3,500 to 5,000 parts a day and averages 50,000 parts a month. Because PTI specializes in multi-process services, the majority of parts that arrive for nondestructive testing also receive other special processes. Only 12-15% of the parts that come through the NDT department don’t arrive from another department. Before reaching NDT, most parts receive services including passivation, dry film lubrication, and precision cleaning.

According to Burke, when working with customers it’s essential to be flexible without jeopardizing the integrity of the part. The NDT department is often a part’s last stop in multiple special processes. “A customer sends in an order for three processes that was quoted for eight days, but they want it in three days.  We pull this off on a regular basis,” Burke said.

Two Operating Sides for Two Critical Testing Methods

The NDT department is divided down the middle, with established incoming and outgoing areas. The left side of the room is set up for FPI (fluorescent penetrant inspection), also known as liquid penetrant inspection (LPI), and is run like an assembly line with tables holding penetrant well tanks.

Nonmagnetic parts are tested for defects using liquid penetrants as they are passed through one of two different defect sensitivity levels. A visible dye penetrant for lower sensitivities uses a white light and fluorescent penetrants for higher sensitivities uses ultraviolet light. Accurate results require thorough pre-cleaning decontamination, correct soak time, proper penetrant removal, followed by drying in a convection oven using a developer bleed-out.

On the right side of the department the MPT (magnetic particle inspection) section houses two individual machines. All MPT testing is done inside a solo machine to determine if any defects are present using calculated data that includes strength of current and direction of magnetic field.

MPI is a nondestructive testing method used on material that can be magnetized, or a ferromagnetic material such as cobalt, iron, nickel, or certain alloys. During the MPI process, small magnetic particles are attracted to any defects on or near the part’s surface. Demagnetization of the part follows, using special equipment to reverse the magnetic field and safeguard future machining and welding of the part, as well as your electronic equipment.

Test parameters and techniques are defined as parts arrive. Any fixtures and tools that are needed for the completion of NDT testing are completed in-house. Heavier parts, for example, could mean designing a hoist system to lift and move the components.

Qualified NDT Technicians

Certified technicians who are qualified based on the required level of training perform all the nondestructive testing and inspection. Training begins as an entry-level trainee before moving on to Level 1. Level 1 becomes a Level 2 technician and qualifies to inspect parts after meeting the required time of over 400 to 500 hours. To be a Level 3 technician, a minimum of four years in one discipline must be fulfilled, or eight years total to be qualified for both FPI and MPI.
All the training is done in-house, guaranteeing a more detailed instruction that ensures competent and fully qualified specialists for every NDT job. PTI’s Level 3 technician has over thirty years of experience and is designated a Responsible Level 3 because he oversees and is responsible for all the training, testing, and inspecting in the NDT department.

PTI Attends Aeromart Montreal 2017

PTI attended Aeromart Montreal in April. This was their second year at the event which attracted approximately 800 companies, from 28 different countries, with 1,300 participants in attendance. During the three day event there were more than 11,000 business meetings. The general consensus at the show was that it’s a busy time in the aerospace industry which is why partnerships are more important than ever.

PTI Industries met with more than two dozen manufacturers in addition to numerous Primes. This event provides an excellent opportunity for supply chain and service providers to broaden their business opportunities in Canada and meet important Prime OEMs in one place. Aerospace Primes in attendance included Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Bell Helicopter, GE Canada, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Rolls Royce, and Safran.

As a special processes service provider, PTI had the opportunity to meet with selected companies for successful meetings with both current and prospective customers. Through both networking and business to business meetings, the matchmaking program at Aeromart Montreal helps aerospace companies get connected to the right capabilities and services.

The theme of the show was “From Vision to Reality: Breaking Through the World of 4.0”. This topic was the focus of the opening day presentations. In addition to one-on-one meetings, the conference also offered numerous workshops. From Quality Challenges in the Industry to Growth through Acquisition, there was no shortage of options.

PTI works to support the aerospace industry with multiple high-end special processes designed to reduce manufacturing lead times and lower costs. We are committed to helping build the global aerospace supply chain through continued participation in Aeromart and through delivering qualified manufacturing support services.

PTI Industries Cleared to Launch Precision Cleaning for SpaceX

Recently approved for precision cleaning of its aerospace parts by SpaceX, the space launch provider controlled by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, PTI will provide this critical service as SpaceX receives its own launch approval.

Certified by the U.S. Air Force after receiving strict security clearances, SpaceX is now eligible to compete for satellite launches of U.S. national security satellites. The Air Force’s certification of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket brings competition to national security space launches, giving greater leverage to the commercial space market.

What Else Does the Falcon 9 Rocket Do?

This ends the monopoly of United Launch Alliance with the Pentagon in sending military payloads into orbit, including GPS navigation satellites, missile warning platforms, weather satellites, and the National Reconnaissance Office’s orbiting spy payloads. The Falcon 9 rocket is also used for NASA, the U.S. civilian space agency, and commercial satellite operators.

One of the most recent Falcon 9 launches was June 15, 2016, when it lifted off a dual-satellite delivery from Cape Canaveral to broadcast video across Asia and Latin America, and to improve airplane navigation crossing the U.S. It’s set to launch again July 18 to send NASA’s Dragon supply ship to the International Space Station for the crews living there.

The certification from U.S. military comes ahead of the deadline for Russian-sourced engines for ULA’s rockets, a time limit not allowed past 2019. SpaceX, in contrast, builds most of its Falcon 9 from scratch right here in the U.S. It’s also an evolutionary design geared toward making reusable rockets.

This means that the escape rockets, which are mounted in the rocket’s base and not the tower like with Apollo, aren’t thrown away after use. Instead, they can be cleaned up and reconfigured for another flight. SpaceX is the first private company to launch a payload into orbit and make an upright landing and recovery, making sustainable rockets a reality.

PTI Industries is proud to support SpaceX’s achievements. By serving the nation’s military and aerospace industries with certified special processes, PTI continues to advance its mission for accurate process control that ensures part performance, reliability, and safety.

Adhesive Bonding

Adhesive Bonding Versus Welding

 When you consider adhesive bonding versus welding for securing your parts, strict specifications must be met while controlling the total cost. Switching over to a new joining process requires addressing many issues, including safety concerns, excessive down time, structural integrity, and structural degradation, as well as your overall manufacturing process.

Adhesive is the new kid on the block for many metal fabricators. The older adhesives weren’t ideal for bonding metal to metal, but newer adhesive types have proven their worth as a viable adhesive bonding option.

Here’s a comparison of the advantages of traditional welding to adhesive bonding’s newest technology:

Welding Advantages

  • No curing time needed in production process
  • Instantaneous procedure
  • Strong bond even at high temperatures
  • Flexibility with attachment location, including large objects with small welding areas
  • No shelf life or monitoring of storage time necessary

Adhesive Advantages

  • May reduce stress concentration points
  • No distorting or discoloring of thin metals
  • Won’t destroy galvanized coatings or cause corrosion
  • Gives a one-step seal and bond process
  • Joins dissimilar materials
  • Minor joint design changes to accommodate surface contact
  • Assembly of different masses and dimensions
  • Joins irregular shaped surfaces with minimal alteration to part dimensions
  • Gives increased fatigue strength by distributing stress across bonded area
  • Improved finished appearance
  • Training of workforce is less costly
  • Ideal for high-volume applications
  • Little or no post-process cleanup

Making the change from welding to adhesive bonding requires a comprehensive view of your bonding needs. Consider how your overall manufacturing time can be reduced with adhesive bonding by analyzing your processes.

Can you switch over to adhesive bonding with only procedural and part-flow changes? Will a change in joint geometry design pay off? If a change in your joining process improves efficiency and quality, and reduces overall manufacturing time, it’s worth the effort to switch from welding to adhesive bonding.

Your goal of cost savings and production efficiency requires choosing the most effective material for your adhesive bonding needs. Consult with your special processes provider for help with the right adhesive technology. PTI Industries offers high-tech adhesive bonding as part of a one-stop experience for all your special processes.

PTI Continues to Offer UTAS Special Processes for Civil and Military Aerospace Products

Jet EnginePTI Industries continues to offer special processes for critical aerospace components, helping the aerospace industry meet an increased demand while adhering to stringent quality standards. Strict adherence to NADCAP, FAA, and EASA certifications and accreditations ensures your parts performance, reliability, and safety.

United Technologies Aerospace Systems in Windsor Locks has shut down and decommissioned operation of their Plating and Special Process lines as of September 1, 2016.

If you have aerospace parts in need of UTAS special processes, our facility is a one-stop multi-service shop with services available for both military and commercial aircraft.

PTI Industries is approved for 5 special processes offered by UTAS:

  • FPI & Dye Penetrant
  • MPI
  • Solid Film Lubricant
  • Passivation
  • Flushing and Cleaning

See out List of Approvals and type “UTAS” in the search field. For all inquiries on UTAS processes, and for your RFQs, please send to for a prompt reply or quote.

PTI’s commitment to quality includes constantly striving for continuous improvements in meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations on every special processes job order. All of our special process technicians have extensive knowledge and training in parts and equipment to support the manufacturing challenges of the aerospace industry.

Meet Future Suppliers at the World’s Aerospace Alley Trade Show

ACM logoThere’s more to the World’s Aerospace Alley Trade Show than a presentation of workforce opportunities to our next generation of highly skilled workers. It’s more than a showcase of outstanding of capabilities by the unique industrial cooperative of ACM members.

The World’s Aerospace Alley Trade Show is where you’ll find your future supply chain in one place. When you come to Aerospace Alley, you get to meet the leaders in the aerospace industry and the companies who are your potential suppliers in precision manufacturing. It’s your ideal opportunity to meet and connect with nearly 100 world-class aerospace manufacturers, all in one afternoon and under one roof.

Save the date of Wednesday, November 9, 2016, for growing your supplier connections in the Aerospace Alley, the hot spot for qualified, long-standing aerospace manufacturers, processors, and suppliers.

ACM encourages the collaboration of aerospace manufacturers to ensure continuous improvement and a cost-effective and enhanced product. Check out the video below for more information.

As a member of ACM’s network of companies, PTI is united in our goal to be a world leader in providing customers with unsurpassed quality, competitive prices, and on-time delivery. Hope to see you at this year’s show.

  • Wednesday, November 9, 2016
  • 12:30 – 5:30pm
  • Connecticut Convention Center
  • 100 Columbus Boulevard
  • Hartford, CT
  • Admission: Free


Staying Connected Globally at New Hampshire Aerospace and Defense Conference

NHAD_Conference6This year’s New Hampshire Aerospace and Defense Conference was geared to educating and supporting companies who seek to expand into international markets. PTI Industries was pleased to attend as part of the network of companies who develop products, technologies, and services for the aerospace and defense industry.

Representatives from major global growth areas, including world market experts from Colombia, The United Kingdom, Canada, and Saudi Arabia presented different aspects of international business, such as export control and ITAR regulations, helping companies learn how to grow their business overseas and stay up to date on global issues.

The luncheon program was very informative. Representatives from BAE, GE & Pratt, spoke about their current programs as well as educating people, specifically the younger generation – kids in school – about jobs in manufacturing. Their presentation was followed by a keynote address and an address from the governor.

The expanded full day event gave PTI Industries more time to connect with customers and get valuable industry updates from outside their territory. Attendees were able to create contacts up and down the supply chain, develop international business strategies, and build a larger industry network.

PTI Industries provides multiple special processes for the global aerospace supply chain, helping the industry to reduce manufacturing lead times and lower costs through qualified manufacturing support services.

New Partnerships Made at Seattle’s Aerospace and Defense Supplier Summit

When you’re looking for a match made in aerospace, look no further than Seattle’s Aerospace and Defense Supplier Summit. A&DSS Seattle brings together the aerospace and defense primes, tier suppliers, and contract manufacturers for new networking opportunities as well as reinforcing established connections.

This year’s summit saw a total of 850 companies, 40 countries, and 11,000 arranged meetings as part of its structured two-day event. The summit coincided with the 100th anniversary of Boeing.

PTI Industries was fully booked for the entire two days in pre-arranged meetings with new potential customers. PTI team members enjoyed a reception at The Museum of Flight as one of the attractions to the highly organized and well-attended conference.

Maintaining the needs of your customers requires a community of supply chain members who collaborate and support one another. Strong relationships continue to be built in the aerospace industry with the help of summits like the A&DSS Seattle where key manufacturers and new suppliers work together to deliver the best in innovation, capabilities, and capacity.

PTI Industries is committed to giving its customers the highest quality service as vital contributors in the aerospace supply chain.

Surface Preparation for Adhesive Bonding

adhesive-bonding-homeWhen making a quality adhesive bond, the first critical step is selecting the proper adhesive. Once the adhesive type is determined, the second important step is surface preparation.

Adhesive bonds are made to adhere other components to substrate surfaces, but because most surfaces are covered with contaminants, if not removed, bond failure will often result. Even microscopic surface contaminants can obstruct the surface, creating weak boundary layers which drastically reduce adhesion effectiveness.

A typical substrate surface exhibits contaminants in several layers:

  1. Dust, parent material and other loose particles make up the outermost layer.
  2. Oils and grease comprise the next layer.
  3. Oxide films, rust, molds, and additives such as paint and sealants are potential boundaries embedded into the substrate as the innermost layer.

With proper surface preparation, bond failure can be avoided. Pre-Bond treatments vary depending on the type of substrate material as well as the structural bond required.

Depending on the substrate material, surface preparation can include three steps:

  1. Degreasing: Degreasing with a solvent or aqueous detergent removes the outer layer of contaminants such as dust, metal chips, grease and machine coolant. To check for sufficient cleanliness, a water break test is performed, water is sprayed onto the part, if it runs off in a continuous sheet it’s clean, if it beads up like a freshly waxed car it means the surface isn’t clean enough.
  1. Abrading: Abrading eliminates the layer of films, oxides, rust, and paint clinging to the surface. All loose particles from abrading must be removed with degreasing and cleaning.
  1. Surface alteration: Certain materials present the greatest challenge in adhesive bonding, such as rubber, some plastics, and metals such as copper, stainless steel, and aluminum. Changing the surface property of these materials increases the surface energy for best adhesion. PTI uses media blast cabinets as the preferred method of abrasive blasting because it cleans surfaces better and faster than the traditional techniques of sanding and wire brushing.

All surface preparation methods must include a final cleaning and drying before adhesive bonding occurs, this is customarily done by hand wiping with a high purity solvent, the bonding must be done as soon as possible so surfaces do not become recontaminated.

For every material and surface there is a right combination of adhesive material and surface preparation.  We employ our many years of experience to Identifying the best combination that will be the best for your substrate application.

PTI’s special processes includes advanced precision cleaning technology and a dedicated 38,500 SF adhesive bonding facility that maintains two Contamination Controlled Areas for all your one-stop process needs.

PTI to Attend the Aerospace and Defense Supplier Summit

logotype_aerospace_seattlePTI will be attending the Aerospace and Defense Supplier Summit in Seattle April 14th – 15th sponsored by Boeing. Through networking and business to business meetings, the summit helps aerospace companies get connected to the right capabilities and services. As an international platform, suppliers and vendors are able to meet important Prime OEMs in one place, without needing to make extensive travel arrangements.

Aerospace Primes in attendance will include Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Bell Helicopter, GE , Pratt & Whitney, Rolls Royce, and Safran. Parts manufacturers, service providers, and builders in the aerospace community will come together to forge new links in the international supply chain. As a special processes service provider, PTI looks forward to meeting with representatives from companies that are both current and prospective customers.

PTI works to support the aerospace industry with multiple special processes designed to reduce manufacturing lead times and lower costs. We are committed to helping build the global aerospace supply chain through continued participation at the summit and through delivering qualified manufacturing support services.

Click here for more information about the Summit.