September 11, 2015


The Value of DICONDE when Digitizing NDT Film Archives

As non-destructive testing (NDT) moves from physical film to digital film, the industries that use NDT – manufacturing, nuclear, shipbuilding, aerospace and others – must decide what to do with the physical film files that reside in their archives.  Like medical radiography, these NDT films must be kept for comparison to future images, and digitization assures that the images do not degrade. 

Also, like medical film digitization, it is necessary to ensure that all digital images can be processed and transferred regardless of what equipment they’re digitized on or what equipment they’re viewed on.  Industrial imagery has benefitted from the development of medical software and standards for processing and transferring radiographic images.  In the medical field, this standard is DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communication in Medicine).

Now, DICONDE (Digital Imaging and Communication in Nondestructive Evaluation) has emerged as the standard for digital NDT images.  DICONDE relies very much on the DICOM standard, while it incorporates many structures, which are purely NDE- focused. ASTM released the first version of the DICONDE standard in 2004.

Essentially, DICONDE is a dictionary that describes all the necessary syntax, attributes, data elements and protocols to allow users to acquire, store, archive, transmit and receive image data in a way that is universally compatible. It is a system that allows images to be saved with its meta-data. All the technique information plus information on location, date and inspector is saved with the image. Such information can then be included in any report generated, and since the metadata is stored with the image, it means that database searches can be carried out on a variety of criteria to search across modalities or points in time for the same asset.

Moreover, DICONDE images can be included on a disk with a standard DICONDE viewer, which allows them to be displayed on any standard PC, allowing for easy data sharing of not just the image but the image and all relevant post inspection information.

The Importance of DICONDE Compliance

DICONDE compliancy ensures that operators are not limited by proprietary formats.  It eliminates the need for future data conversion.  It enables the integration of data from other sources.  And, it ensures that industry and services that use NDT can choose assets and software on its own merits, without regard to continuity of data.

When it comes to digitizing film archives, the DICONDE standard also ensures that any digitizing service you use will provide digital files that you can use, provided that they adhere to the DICONDE standards.

Other Benefits from DICONDE

Just as DICOM standards enabled medical collaboration, referrals and second-opinions without regard to specialty or geography, DICONDE enables better allocation of resources and the ability to leverage talent and expertise worldwide.  By harnessing the power of the Internet and the advantages made possible with digital data, you can seamlessly share data across users in multiple locations, allowing improved utilization of expert resources by bringing the data to the experts versus taking the experts to the data.

Using a standard imaging protocol like DICONDE allows for not only the image to be shared but also all critical information on how the data was collected and at what asset they are looking. Providing this information along with the image gives the expert everything he needs to make the inspection call at the first analysis without requiring dialogue back and forth at the inspection site to clarify what inspection is occurring and how the image was collected.

NDT Vault storage

Were most companies offer the DICONDE images on hard disc or to CD/DVD. NDT Vault offers cloud based storage and access, the radiographic information is available to authorized users 24/7 from any Internet browser, especially useful in emergency situations.

For more information on digital radiography, film conversion or NDT Vault, contact us.