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What is the Importance of Non-Destructive Testing and Inspection Services in Edmonton?

Visual Inspection and Liquid Penetrant Testing
Non Destructive testing (NDT) and inspection services are important if you don’t want the usefulness of your equipment, materials, or components changed or destroyed in any way. NDT is a comprehensive way to find, size, and locate surface and subsurface flaws and defects that could have an adverse impact on safety, reliability, and the environment.
NDT plays a crucial role in everyday life for companies using pipelines, bridges, refineries, oil platforms, power stations, and more. It’s a quality assurance management tool to help companies make sure they’re following standards and regulations and safeguarding assets and personnel.

Benefits of NDT

Without NDT, you couldn’t be sure your materials, products, and equipment will achieve their design requirements or their expected life. Undetected defects and flaws usually result in expensive repairs or replacements and can place your company’s employees in unsafe conditions. Consider the loss of revenue due to an unplanned plant shutdown when equipment fails. Even more important, a catastrophic failure can have a devastating impact from which some companies never recover.
NDT primarily covers the following:

  • Prevent accidents and reduce costs
  • Improve product reliability
  • Meet regulations and requirements
  • Manage assets and resources

Because NDT doesn’t permanently change or destroy the article being inspected, it can save you both money and time in product evaluation, troubleshooting, and research. Because of the nature of NDT and its portability, you don’t need a product opened or taken out of service. And you can test items before they are finally shaped and ready for service. This gives you an inexpensive and immediate way to locate and assess surface and subsurface defects and flaws. It also gives you the peace of mind knowing your equipment is functioning the way it’s supposed to and that you can prevent future accidents that could be catastrophic.

When to use NDT

When you’re constructing a facility, piping, equipment, or other such item, use NDT at each stage of construction. Have your materials and welds examined and inspected using NDT and then use it to monitor the integrity of the item or structure throughout its life.
To get the information and data you need to make sound business decisions, you need an NDT inspection service provider who does:

  • Visual inspections
  • Liquid penetrating inspection
  • Acoustic emission
  • Magnetic particle inspection
  • Eddy current inspection
  • Ultrasonic inspection
  • Radiographic inspection

A certified and trained NDT expert understands the various methods available to perform your NDT, what their capabilities and limitations are, and the relevant standards and specifications for each test.


The advantages of NDT can be enormous. Advanced NDT methods can give you more accurate and reliable inspection data and offer a better probability of detection for flaws and defects. And a good NDT methodology is recordable and repeatable, offering inspection reports that provide high value to companies. Find a non-destructive testing and inspection service with advanced instruments and technology to partner with and save money and resources while safeguarding your assets over the long haul.

The Rubik’s Cube seems to be an impossible puzzle but it’s easy to solve using just a few algorithms.

Non-destructive testing specialist

How to Become a Non-Destructive Testing Specialist in Edmonton

If you like challenging situations that require attention to detail and problem-solving, you’re a prime candidate for a non-destructive testing specialist. Following is how to become a non-distributive testing specialist position in Edmonton.


General requirements


Most positions need as a minimum a high school diploma or GED equivalent, a college education in Material science or Welding will reduce the necessary time required to certify yourself in NDT and give you the key materials knowledge necessary for advancement.
You can go from a level 1 technician to a Level 3 technician and up to a MSc in NDT or anywhere in between, depending on experience and education.


Skills required


As a non-destructive testing specialist, you need an understanding of materials, corrosion and operating equipment to recognize the nature of and potential for problems. A good technician must be able to identify the type of problems that may already be occurring.
Testing different materials in different situations requires training and experience to see specific types of defects and their extent. You must be able to detect and accurately size indications with the potential for harm.
As with almost any position, you must be able to take direction both verbally and in writing and apply reasoning to them. A non-destructive testing specialist uses his or her skills to offer clear answers to questions.

Good vision and the ability to differentiate between colors, including shade and brightness are key. You must also be in good physical condition; specialized rope access NDT technicians have advanced mountain climbing training. Dexterity is important to ensure consistent inspection application with the various technologies. The ability to think quickly with strong reasoning skills are key for all non-destructive testing specialists.


Education levels


Over half of all non-destructive testing specialists generally have a high school diploma. Almost 30% have an associate degree, while only 7% have a bachelor’s degree.

All non-destructive testing specialists need certification from an institutional body such as:

  • CGSB Canada’s National Non-Destructive Testing Certification Body.
  • Personal Certification Network (PCN) and The Certification scheme for Welding inspection Personnel (CSWIP)
  • ASNT American Society of NDT

This ensures you can work anywhere and cover the greatest amount of client needs.

You can get certain certifications from these bodies in multiple disciplines:

  • Radiography
  • Ultrasonics (Phased Array, Time of Flight Diffraction, Guided wave etc.…)
  • Magnetic Particle Inspection
  • Dye Penetrant Inspection
  • Eddy Current Inspection

The CGSB would be your first point of contact and others could be explored and pursued from there. The CGSB will provide you with an examination guide to study for the written examinations. You must know and understand the applicable acts, regulations, standards, and safety codes.

Once you are certified, you must keep your certification current. This means renewing and re-certifying yourself every 5 years before the expiration date to keep up with changes to technology and code.




A career as a non-destructive testing specialist is both rewarding and essential to the overall safety of equipment and the public at large. You can find job openings by searching the internet, where you can also find more information about employers looking for technicians.

If you have the skills listed above and are willing to become certified, a non-destructive testing specialist may just be the perfect job for you. You can find everything you need for a career as a specialist on the CGSB website.

Training institutions such as NAIT and SAIT offer dedicated training as well.

TFM/PAUT Inspection

Announcing: TFM/PAUT Inspection for On-Stream Monitoring

Industry experience has shown that most companies are only able to inspect approximately 3-5% of their equipment a year. When the cost of inspection weighted against the cost of down time is incidental, cost effective approaches to inspection can be undertaken. Expensive emergency outages, the costly impact of spills on a company’s environmental reputation, or a very serious process safety event with potentially catastrophic endings can be avoided. One common theme heard is “we don’t know how to monitor {insert asset here} so we just wait until it washes out or fails”. Corrective Based Maintenance strategies like this can now be advanced to Condition Based with Buffalo’s new technology.

Through our industry experience, we have been able to assist clients in determining key locations for inspection, to enable them to pursue an online condition based assessment.

Buffalo Inspection has been utilizing cutting edge equipment, combined with best in class PCN PAUT training, to provide a complete inspection package to our clients. This isn’t a standard data collection inspection. We are in this to ensure not only the integrity of the asset, but to save our clients time, money, and headaches. Through our

industry experience, we have been able to assist clients in determining key locations for inspection, to enable them to pursue an online condition based assessment.

TFM/PAUT Inspection

We have developed inspection methods for specific client requirements such as Choke Valves, Flange Face Corrosion, Internal Current Transfer Corrosion, HDPE inspections, and an ever increasing variety of previously uninspectable situations. Conventional ultrasonic methods experience limitations that modern phased array technologies have been able to overcome. Permanent, Auditable data, has established itself as a necessity for integrity management.

Working with our clients, has allowed us to alleviate issues that hadn’t been solved for them in the past. It has also allowed clients to increase the integrity of their assets. Code minimums are exactly that, minimums, but what if it was faster, better, and cheaper, to get more? That is exactly what we at Buffalo Inspection Services are striving to provide.

NDT Certification

NDT Certification Differences

Institutional certifications and recommended practice certifications. What’s the difference?

Supplying clients with certificated technicians is essential in our industry; unfortunately, not all contractors provide the expected quality of technician. The result is that the client wants evidence that the technicians are properly qualified.
In many cases the technician holds the responsibility of passing a judgement on the acceptance or rejection of the inspected component. It is the operator through whom we depend to accurately evaluate defects and indications; if the operator is not properly knowledgeable, trained and experienced they might totally misjudge the results of NDT and reject components which are sound and capable of performing in the service. On the other hand, they might send the faulty components into service which may become a source of premature failure. In both cases the consequences are going to be adverse. In the first case the organization is going to suffer undue production losses while in the second the premature failure may lead to even bigger losses. Of no less importance is the integrity of the operator in view of his ability to provide accurate reports.
A central system of certification (per ISO 9712 and EN473) such as CGSB, PCN, CSWIP and ACCP has technicians study the relevant subject material, undertake the necessary experience and training requirements and then go to an authorized examination provider to take an independently set and invigilated examination. When they pass their exam, they are awarded a certificate of competency in that respective NDT Discipline. This can then be used by their employer or a potential employer anywhere within its jurisdictional or accepted limits. At Buffalo Inspection Services, we have chosen to support our clients and technicians with certifications that are recognized broadly as thee standard. We see this as a competitive advantage and a sustainable quality standard for our clients.
The employer still has a level of responsibility of ensuring the capability of the technician in applying their qualification (Duty of Care) to the specific work process, but this is relatively easy task compared to the qualification process. However, When the technician asserts an opinion on an inspection with an institutional certification their opinion has increased “Value at law” due to their duty of care obligations.

In the ASME system, the ASNT Recommended Practice SNT-TC-1A is the dominant certification program, it is not an institutional program but an employer-based form of certification. SNT-TC-1A is a recommended practice and not a standard, which gives the employer a certain amount of flexibility concerning the necessary requirements needed for an NDT technician pertaining to the specific NDT applied. A written practice allows discretion in the practical nature of examination, which is for all intent and purpose a positive element. However, the negative aspects of discretion give way to the temptation to provide inadequate structure and correctness to the certification process along with the relative capacity to ‘rubber stamp’ certification. Additionally, the SNT-TC-1A program has no portability for the technician and as such has no central database for verification. This has been an ongoing challenge and complaint from NDT customers for years when it comes to the overall competency of a technician. In addition to this challenge is that the technician’s opinion is inherently linked to the NDT service provider who is linked by code to the manufacturer or fabricator. Which means that a technician’s opinion has limited or no Value at Law (per code) by comparison to the employer or fabricator. Buffalo does provide our technicians with the added practical in-house oversight of an SNT exam however, we are moving towards wanting as a minimum for our technicians to have CGSB, PCN,CSWIP and ACCP as table stakes for competency.
As production demands and reliability increase, the opinion of an NDT technician has become more and more important as far as identifying and evaluating defects and indications correctly and accurately.

I remember in the Middle East years ago, when technicians came from all over the world and there was not a clear understanding of consistency in certification; for this reason and others similar, the ‘performance demonstration’ was established.
In the interim we have had API establish performance evaluation tests and more recently ASNT’s central certification program ACCP and now we have ASME coming up with their own contribution in the form of ANDE “The ASME Nondestructive examination” program. The instigator of all these performance demonstrations to identify technicians capable of finding cracking in SS welds was the Nuclear Industry.
Now, with the plethora of certification programs out there we have what appears to be a never-ending requirement for training and all its incumbent expenses. Whether this creates better technicians or not remains to be seen, but, it sure creates a scarcity of skilled personnel.
Industry needs to agree on a standard of certification that ensures competency and accuracy in the delivery of the service. CGSB, PCN, CSWIP and ACCP are the pillars of internationally recognized central certification programs and are increasingly essential for hiring and advancement at Buffalo Inspection Services, These programs should be a minimum pre-requisite to all NDT undertaken in our country.


Continuous Improvement and the NDT market

Believe it or not, we are now 18 years into the 21st century, no flying cars quite yet but look closer to earth and the change that is occurring may spin your head. Our industry, NDT – used to be a simple RT, UT, MT, PT, ET, VT type scenario; yet, in the last decade we have seen the unabated rise of Digital versions of these disciplines with 3D imaging, digitized outputs and Cloud connectivity that allows a person in Alberta to monitor, in real-time, an inspection in Argentina; whether it be a digital film, a phased array scan or a Tangential Eddy Current scan, all can be done remotely and at the speed of light.
Our market can change on a dime depending on commodity prices, competitiveness or regulatory needs. Technological changes to the status quo are being thrust upon us whether we like it or not.

How do we keep ahead of the game and stay in the market? As a company, Buffalo Inspection Services are alert to change and ahead of the herd in identifying trends and technologies; a bigger part of the picture is certification and competencies. Some of which we cover with our institutional and company accreditation programs but increasingly with dedicated OEM training.
As front-line participants in this industry, it is incumbent upon us as technicians to keep up to date, adapt to changes as quickly as possible through continuous education and continuous improvement, and expand our body of knowledge in all disciplines. This then allows us to move into markets and sectors seamlessly and build out our customer base.

Buffalo TrainingIf you aren’t a member of an institutional body such as CINDE, ASNT, BINDT then you should join. These institutions publish monthly and quarterly journals packed with information on the latest in technology and training. It can also count for credit towards your certification renewals.
Plan to educate yourself every year with courses, certifications or conference attendance (its tax deductible), take the time to learn something new as often as possible to increase your skill sets and employability. Jobs done well and with a high level of quality and competency are ours and your best advertisement.


Buffalo is very well aware of the pace of change and we endeavor to support our technicians with training, practical support and leading technology to ensure they are as productive as possible. We encourage our team to be the best by rewarding the best technicians in technical and academic achievement annually. Come join the herd, your efforts for Life Long Learning and achievement with clients will not go unnoticed.


By: Andrew Crawford, TQMS Manager and Resident SME
Larry Kaumeyer, CEO

Quality Control

Buffalo Inspection Announces ISO 9001:2015 Compliance

Buffalo Inspection Services recognizes that the disciplines of Quality, Health and Safety and Environmental Management are an integral part of its management function. The Organization views these as a primary responsibility and to be the key to our overall vision, the current business plan and is consistent with good business in adopting appropriate Quality standards. Our commitment to Quality will form the basis for the “Quality Objectives” of Buffalo Inspection.  It is intended that BIS will adhere to the requirements of ISO 26000 – Social Responsibility, in parallel with the commitment to our QMS.

The Organization Quality Policy calls for continuous improvement in its Quality Management activities and business will be conducted according to the following principles:

We will:

  • Comply with all applicable laws and regulations.
  • Follow a concept of continuous improvement and make best use of our management resources in all Quality matters.
  • Communicate our Quality objectives, and our performance against these objectives, throughout the Organization and to interested parties.
  • Take due care to ensure that activities are safe for employees, associates, vendors and others who come into contact with our work
  • Work closely with our customers and vendors to establish the highest Quality standards.
  • Adopt a forward-looking view on future business decisions, which may have Quality impacts.
  • Train our staff in the needs and responsibilities of Quality Management.
  • Uphold our Quality expectations and standards by auditing and monitoring our team to ensure we are executing consistent with the quality understandings in place within Buffalo.

It is the aim of Buffalo Inspection Services that, with the total involvement and understanding of all staff, and through the implementation of the documented ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System, we will exceed the expectations of our customers.

Buffalo Inspection Services Inc. strongly supports and is committed to a Quality Assurance Program that is accurate, effective and practical.   Management is committed in providing support and the necessary resources to realize the effectiveness and success of the QA Management System.  We are committed in designing, monitoring and improving the quality control process and associated programs to ensure that our Client is satisfied and that all work is completed safely, professionally, and accurately.

For more information on our commitment, contact our team today.

Non-destructive testing specialist

Buffalo: More than Radiography

Last Spring the Buffalo team completed a review of the best technology to diversify our offering to our customers. We continue to take great pride in our ability to execute radiography for you where and when you need it. Our search was extensive and we landed on a new piece of technology called a Gekko that provides Advanced Phased Array and TFM all in one box. The Gekko is the most advanced PAUT technology globally. At its heart is TFM or Total Focus Methodology a unique capability to provide significantly higher resolution of defects as well as three-dimensional imaging and real time reporting.

This past Fall a number of Buffalo technicians were certified in the globally accepted PCN Level II PAUT training from the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing using the Gekko. This was the first Gekko PCN training and certification in North America and Buffalo hosted this at our facilities in Edmonton.

We now have deployed Gekkos in all of our locations to support Integrity digs, corrosion testing of flanges, valves and compressor bottles.

We want to be your solutions provider! If you have any asset integrity issues give us a call. We are solving corrosion problems for a number of oil and gas companies that have not previously been achievable.  Buffalo have the right equipment and the right technicians to serve your current inspection needs and challenges.

By Larry Kaumeyer, CEO, Buffalo Inspection Services


Pipeline Inspection

2018 Expect A Better Year in Alberta and at Buffalo; We Are Ready to Serve You!

As we head into 2018 and with WTI at $60/bbl it just feels better across Alberta. We are gearing up, adding trucks, technicians and new technology focused on delivering better productivity and quality for our clients. We are ready to go and we are tracking the positive investment developments of many of our clients that have us feeling very optimistic.

  • Trans Mountain Pipeline is a go and we believe the spin offs from this will provide positive benefits for all of us.
  • Enbridge Line 3 is well underway and we were happy to provide support for this project in two Provinces.
  • IPL’s announcement of a $3.5 billion-dollar Petrochemical plant build out in the Industrial Heartland and the potential for an added propane facility by Pembina pipelines in 2020.
  • Continued strength in the liquids rich Montney and Duverney have many oil and gas companies expanding drilling and pipeline infrastructure.

Lastly, we are dealing with a real winter and in a way, I hope it continues for some time. The more Alberta natural gas that gets burned the better it will be for prices coming back.

Canada’s Opportunity (Sources:  Toronto Sun, CAPP)

Canada currently has the third largest oil reserve in the world, but our development and economic prosperity has always been based on the careful, sustainable and safe extraction of our natural resources.  At the same time, global demand for energy is growing at a rapid pace – especially with emerging and developing economies such as China and India, where the standard of living is improving.

In the latest forecast by the International Energy Agency (which published its 2016 World Energy Outlook in November 2016), there is a prediction that global energy consumption will rise 31% by 2040.  This increase includes a 12% rise in oil consumption and allows for 49% growth in natural gas.

Now, it is even more important for Canada to ensure our natural gas and oil reserves are able to access the rest of the world market.  to do this, it is essential for Canada to build new pipelines, Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) terminals and marine transport facilities.

The upcoming major projects would add significant additional capacity:

  • TransCanada Energy East would 1,100,000 b/d capacity
  • Enbridge Line 3 Replacement would add 370,000 b/d capacity
  • TransMountain Expansion Project would add 590,000 b/d capacity
  • TransCanada Keystone XL would add 830,000 b/d capacity

If these projects proceed as expected, they will help to ensure Canada’s prosperity and economic growth, with job creation and economic benefits expected to be significant from coast to coast.  The forecasted government revenues per project are in the billions of dollars per year.

By Larry Kaumeyer, CEO, Buffalo Inspection Services


Non-destructive testing specialist


There is no doubt that the NDT industry is an attractive industry to get into, especially in Alberta. It is highly specialized, there is a shortage of talent, the skills are in demand and as a result it pays very well. While attending a foundations course at NAIT/SAIT or the College of the North Atlantic is, in my opinion, a required pre-requisite, it does not guarantee a trainee’s success in the day to day of the industry. While some larger organizations follow the “hire 10 trainees and maybe 1 or 2 will work out” approach, Buffalo’s approach is different. We have found that other factors are just as important and in addition to the education piece will predict the success of a new trainee hire.

First thing Buffalo looks at is whether or not the trainee has experience in any other trade whether skilled or unskilled or as a laborer. If a new trainee has this kind of experience its shows that they can handle working and have worked long hours. The standard day for an NDT technician is rarely 8 hours, and a good NDT technician has to be able to keep focused on quality, safety and the job for long periods of time. I find that this is a good indicator of success and tells us whether or not the new trainee can handle the 10+ hour days that are standard in NDT industry.

The second factor that we look for is closely related to the first, and that is field work experience. You have to be able to work for long hours out in the field, on the client site, or on the pipeline in the middle of nowhere in sometimes less than ideal conditions. The trainee has to be able to handle the sights, sounds, people, safety mindset, and pace of work that comes with working on large and small sites. This is a big eye opener for many trainees as the real-life working conditions are not the same as the learning conditions in the classroom or anything else that some candidates have experienced before.

The third factor that Buffalo looks for is where the person is from and where they grew up. In the NDT industry there is a significant amount of time spent in remote locations away from friends and family and a significant amount of time spent traveling to and from these remote locations. Buffalo has found that trainees from rural areas have an easier time with this as they are more comfortable in small town surroundings, have grown up with having to leave home for schooling or other personal endeavors and have grown up traveling long distances as a normal part of life. I am not saying that candidates from cities are unsuccessful, just that I have noticed the initial shock of the NDT industry’s working requirements are more easily weathered by the rural group.

As the Human Resources Manager at Buffalo Inspection, I find that there is a small success rate for newly hired trainees if the above factors are not taken into account during the hiring decision. The amount of work, in terms of hours; the location of work and working conditions, in terms of being out in the field; and the time spent away from friends and family; although a regular part of life in the NDT industry, are a huge eye-opening experience for many first timers.

This all being said the rewards are significant and at Buffalo Inspection Services we openly support our trainees with mentorship, additional training and top wages that reflect best in class for the NDT industry.

By Arthur Kolodenko, Human Resources Manager