Kimal Singh and Josh Cleary met in the Cooper Basin and decided to pursue their shared dream of streamlining the nondestructive testing industry.
They started NDE Solutions in Singh’s shed in November 2019 and moved to Hindmarsh last year, a site they are rapidly outgrowing.
The company is currently drawing up plans for a purpose-built site in the Tonsley Innovation District, which will include an advanced manufacturing component for the construction of its high-tech inspection gadgets.
“I met Josh in Santos, we drove for two weeks doing inspections in the desert, and we just talked openly about our dream of revolutionizing the industry,” Singh said. InDaily.
“Where we have disrupted the market is by finding people who fit our vision, which helps us to be much more efficient and deliver quality services.
“Then we invested heavily in technology and launched a large internship program.
“Essentially, we attract a company’s accountants by reducing their costs through efficiency and engineers by reducing their risk through a higher probability of detection.”
NDE now has a branch in Brisbane and is in its infancy from Perth and Darwin. It also runs operations from Roxby Downs in the far north of the state, where it serves BHP and Santos customers.
Other major customers include Chevron, RioTinto and defense shipbuilder ASC.
“We inspect the assets – primarily tanks, pressure vessels and piping – then identify if there is any corrosion, cracks or anything that can cause the asset to fail and cause an explosion, loss of life or loss of production,” Singh said.
“So the consequences are quite high and we are that line of defence.
“We would like to reach 100 employees this fiscal year and we believe it is achievable. But we struggle to recruit enough people in this job market like anyone else and there is a long delay in getting someone up to technician level.
NDE has partnered with Brewed Engagement Extended Reality Laboratory, better known as BEER Labs, which shares the Hindmarsh site and is also looking to co-locate in Tonsley.
BEER Labs is a software company responsible for bringing NDE’s high-tech tools to life.
Gadgets developed so far include a specialized augmented reality headset for performing remote inspections, the world’s first eddy current crawler for inspecting pipes in hard-to-reach places and a fast pipe scanner .
The fast scanner is installed on the outside of a pipe and incorporates smart sensors and proprietary software to assess asset integrity and capture data.
“All of our product suites are designed and built to be used remotely. We’re simplifying the human component so that data can be entered with more certainty under our remote supervision, which will allow people who don’t have as much experience to do so,” Singh said.
“We believe augmented reality has huge implication for our industry to connect remote experts with people in the field and we are leading the way in performing these inspections remotely.”
The rapid scanner prototype is already in use and the full production model will be assembled this month before further field trials in August and September.
“It’s going to deliver tremendous value to our customers and also completely reduce their risk – there’s nothing like it.
“This is a 100% South Australian-made innovation and it will change the face of pipe inspection globally.”
NDE plans to use its devices to service customers in Australia, but is looking to manufacture and sell them to pipe inspection teams overseas from next year.
It also split into two divisions – a services division and a technology division with the Tonsley site to include a rapid prototyping and manufacturing facility.
“It will give us the chance to work alongside big companies there like SAGE Automation, Micro-X and BAE there – it’s a happening place and the internet is lightning fast,” Singh said. .
“We always planned to create our own technology, we just didn’t know we would do it so quickly, nor did we know there would be a path to commercialization so quickly.
“It’s been tough growing up so fast, but it’s been such a good race.
“We thought where we are now it might take us more than 10 years, but we just stuck it out.
“These things have a mind of their own, almost a will of their own and now the organization isn’t one or two people anymore – it’s a cybernetic organism of computers, equipment and people and it just wants out.”
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