Nondestructive Testing: An Expanding Market

Published - Nov 2003| Analyst - Patil Balaji| Code - MFG016D
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Report Highlights

  • The U.S. nondestructive testing equipment market currently stands at $1,380 million and is projected to grow at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 5.1% reaching $1,769 million by 2008.
  • The NDT techniques expected to experience the fastest growth over the next 5 years are x-ray radiography and infrared and thermal imaging, driven by homeland security issues.
  • Transportation security currently makes up 32% of the market and is also the fastest growing application, with an AAGR of 7.1%.
  • Film-based radiographic testing, liquid penetrant, and magnetic particle testing are expected to continue their long-term decline, as they do not easily lend themselves to automation or computerization.


Nondestructive testing (NDT) is exactly what its name implies: testing without destroying. More specifically, a nondestructive test is the examination of an object or material in any manner that will not impair its future usefulness. NDT is performed to evaluate the internal and/or external condition of materials, components, and/or structures. NDT allows an assessment of an item or items for desired characteristics or qualities without damaging or interfering with their continued usefulness.

NDT technologies are used in industry to help ensure the integrity and reliability of products being provided to the end users. The NDT process may range anywhere from a simple visual inspection to an intricate ultrasonic characterization of microstructures at ambient temperature to a radiography examination of parts during a manufacturing operation.

The NDT industry continues to play a leading role in the key industries. Core NDT technologies are evolving in important ways and are more and more user friendly. The applications in which NDT is used are also expanding rapidly. New industries that have only recently begun to use NDT techniques are becoming significant consumers of this technology. The potential market for nondestructive testing equipment continues to expand with emphasis on product quality, lean manufacturing, just-in-time inventory practices, and advances in nanomaterials and related manufacturing and testing.

This newly-updated BCC report identifies the major industry movements and trends, and describes the state of the NDT industry in the U.S. at present and the direction in which it is headed. The study provides an overview of current technology developments and an assessment of the NDT equipment market.


The report provides:

  • An overview of NDT technologies
  • Identification of companies that are actively engaged in the development and manufacture NDT equipment
  • Assessments of new developments through an analysis of patents granted within an 18- month period prior to the publication of this report
  • Identification of technological and issues that will impact the NDT industry
  • An understanding of the markets and technologies, with forecasts through 2008, so that decision-makers are able to evaluate and consider opportunities within this market.


BCC obtained the information presented within this report from interviews with manufacturers, universities, and government laboratories, as well as from review of secondary sources such as company literature, conference proceedings, and related government data. Almost 300 companies in the U.S. were contacted for input. The cooperation from private companies was limited but sufficient to develop confident projections, trends, direction and sophistication of the NDT market. BCC based data projections on a variety of factors, including technology developments and industry issues, among other conditions, which BCC discusses where appropriate. All dollar projections are in 2003 constant dollars. The current dollars could be projected using an inflation rate for the next 5 years. However, this was considered unnecessary with the current (July 2003) small inflation rate and the talk of disinflation.


Balaji (Bal) V. Patil received his Bachelor of Technology degree in metallurgical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai, India. He came to the United States for studies at Columbia University, where he completed an M.S. degree in Mineral Engineering and a Ph.D. in Engineering Science in Chemical Metallurgy. After a brief employment period with the Cities Service Co., Dr. Patil joined Allegheny Ludlum Steel Corp. in 1976. He worked at the company's R&D Center and made significant technical contributions. Dr. Patil received five Corporate Technical Awards, has three patents and several technical publications. He also lead-authored a chapter in "The Making, Shaping and Treating of Steel Steelmaking and Refining" 11th Edition, which was published by The AISE Foundation.

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