Scottish start-up Novosound transforming NDT market
Scottish technology start-up Novosound has recently launched its range of revolutionary non-destructive testing (NDT) products, providing a technological breakthrough that will dramatically evolve how industry inspections take place.
Novosound’s products, which have all been developed and produced in Scotland, can solve the issues facing the NDT market, with current technology hindered by poor signal conduction with sensors unable to fit curved surfaces or unusual geometries, an inability to work at high temperatures and the difficulties of manufacturing reliable high-resolution ultrasound probes at scale from ceramics and polymers.
In launching its three new products, all named after Celtic legends – the Kelpie, Belenus and Nebula – Novosound will disrupt the way the NDT market operates across the oil and gas, renewables, and energy sectors, potentially saving companies millions of dollars in downtime. Novosound Founding Director and Chief Technology Officer Dr Dave Hughes says, “The technology we have developed is the dawning of a new era in NDT, saving organisations time and money, as well as improving safety. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, we looked at how we could take all the learnings from taking our prototypes to global trade shows and encapsulate this into these new products. Our range of products will enable energy companies to now do their inspections once a week instead of the once a year cycle many follow, as well as having to deal with unplanned shutdowns. With the shutting down of an oil pipeline costing the industry around EUR 0.9 million a day, our technology means that unplanned inspections won’t have the same economic impact.”
The three products launched are:
• The Kelpie, which carries out corrosion mapping or wall thickness measurements via its innovative thin-film probes which can inspect pipes regardless of their size or across unusually shaped geometries.
• The Belenus, a match-boxed sized sensor for continuous corrosion monitoring in higher temperature enclosed environments. It enables weekly data capture instead of the current annual inspection most firms do.
• The Nebula, which enables the continuously monitoring of results to be remotely reported via the cloud.
Traditional NDT testing can be time consuming due to the need for shutting down the supporting infrastructure, and the cost of personnel to carry out the job, but Novosound’s technology allows for work to be done more efficiently and cost effectively. And Dr Hughes also believes being able to manufacture the Kelpie, Belenus and Nebula at the company’s base in Newhouse, can only benefit customers. He adds, “Because we do everything in-house it protects not only ours, but the customers’ supply chain with efficient, completed inspections. There is often a tendency to err on the side of caution when it comes to modernisation in the NDT industry, and the need to evolve has been spoken about for many years. One of the constrictors to growth in this area has been the lack of the technology that’s suitable and simple enough to solve the problem – but we have developed that. “Scotland has always been a global technology leader, and is a country that prides itself on its ingenuity and has created everyday items that we take for granted. I like to describe Novosound as a Silicon Valley start-up in Scotland, and we have ambitions for the company to be the next great Scottish export.”
With the backing of private equity investment, in just two years Novosound has grown into a company that employs more than 30 people at its base just outside Glasgow, while it has also attracted customers from around Europe and North America. The launch comes following more recent success for the University of West of Scotland spin-out company. Dr Hughes was last month named IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Start-up, while Novosound also pulled off a coup by appointing former Baker Hughes Chief Marketing and Technology Officer Dr Derek Mathieson as Chairman. Dr Hughes states, “Being able to appoint someone with Derek’s international business experience, particularly in the oil and gas sector, is huge for us. Derek coming on board, coupled with the launch today, certainly points to an exciting future for Novosound and the NDT industry.”