Case Study - Higher Sensitivity Penetrant Improves Inspection Quality


In this case study, we help an aerospace customer improve their inspection quality and consistency with two Magnaflux penetrants

Liquid Penetrant Inspection


The Customer

Our UK-based customer specializes in engine manufacture and refurbishment. They carry out liquid penetrant and magnetic particle inspection on high-performance engine components, including engine blocks, heads, pistons, rods, valves, crankshafts, camshafts and fly wheels. The end use of these components demand high-quality non-destructive inspection on a variety of different metals (steel, aluminum, magnesium, titanium) and 100% component inspection. 

Due to the complexity of their product range, this customer needed a higher sensitivity penetrant than they were using, and it had to be of high quality and consistency to give them total piece of mind during inspection.


The Challenge

The challenge for our customer was two-fold:

  1. To move the inspection onto a range of consumable products with which they could be sure of the quality and consistency necessary to give them total peace of mind during inspection.
  2. Due to the complexity of the product range that required inspection, they needed to introduce a higher sensitivity water-washable penetrant and a post-emulsifiable penetrant. 

    Historically, they had been using a single sensitivity of penetrant to inspect a whole range of components and, while this seemed like a good solution in principle, the reality was that, in some cases, there was a risk of not actually locating defects. For example, the current Level 2 water washable penetrant was, at one point, used to inspect titanium components where there was a need to find very fine defects. The issue here is that when removing the excess penetrant, there is a risk of removing penetrant from any surface-breaking defects.


The Solution

In 2011 a new manager took over the running of this company’s inspection department. This manager has extensive experience in the aerospace industry and with using Magnaflux products, chosen for their quality, consistency and dependability.

Magnaflux worked with the new inspection department manager to:

  • Change over all chemical consumable products to Magnaflux products, both for liquid penetrant and magnetic particle inspection, including ancillary cleaner and developer products.
  • Rationalize to using two Magnaflux penetrant products: ZL-67, a water-washable Level 3 penetrant, and ZL-37, a post-emulsifiable Level 4 penetrant.


The Results

By implementing working with Magnaflux to develop a solution which meet all their requirements, this customer achieved the quality reassurance they were looking for. 

By changing and increasing their range of penetrant sensitivity levels, they were able to introduce real improvements within the refurbishment side of their business.

“Having been comfortable with using Magnaflux products for many years, I was very happy to be moving to using their products for both liquid penetrant and magnetic particle inspection once again. One thing that I have always been impressed with by Magnaflux is the quality of the whole package that you get from them – quality products through to quality Safety Data Sheets.

The ability to upgrade to using two penetrant sensitivities means that we now have the capability to cover both existing and future inspections.”

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