Mistras, Provider of Magnetic Particle Testing, Builds Its Pipeline Inspection Business with Acquisition

Mistras Group, a major provider of non-destructive testing services including magnetic particle and eddy current testing, has increased its footprint in the energy industry with the recent acquisition of Onstream Pipeline Inspections Services for $143 million. 

The deal opens Mistras to new sectors of the oil and gas business notably operators of pipelines for gathering lines and mid-stream markets, also to industrial and public infrastructure systems where it will likely seek to also provide its portfolio of services for asset protection. Among these are magnetic particle testing and eddy current testing in the field, as well as laboratory inspection and testing of metal and alloy components for manufacturers. 

The company performs dry powder and wet fluorescent magnetic particle testing inspection services to find surface and near-surface defects in ferromagnetic material. Its technicians magnetize a ferromagnetic material and apply finely milled iron particles coated with a dye pigment to it. The particles indicate discontinuities in the material by clustering directly over it, which can be visually detected under proper lighting conditions. 

Wet fluorescent magnetic particle testing, shown above, is more accurate than dry powder testing for detecting very small discontinuities, because the particles are smaller. An advantage of the technique is its ease and speed of application, given that technicians can quickly spray the chosen magnetic particle fluid over large surface areas. It is extremely sensitive to even extremely small and fine indications, increasing indication detection with consistent and reliable results while minimizing inspection time. It can be used for in-service inspections, making it possible to detect asset damage without halting production. 

Mistras also performs dry powder magnetic particle inspection. Dry particles are dusted onto the surface of the test object as the item is magnetized. The clustering of the magnetic particles is efficient for detecting defects on rough surfaces, including shallow and subsurface cracks, along with root penetration. Dry powder methods are more portable than wet fluorescent methods. Particles of a variety of different sizes can be used, with small particles being more sensitive to small discontinuities, while larger particles offer a stronger resistance to contamination from dirt or surface debris. This method is particularly suited for detecting leakage fields from small flaws. 

“The acquisition of Onstream is an ideal opportunity to diversify our business,” stated Dennis Bertolotti, chief executive officer of Mistras, when the deal was announced in December. “It will enable us to leverage our strength in the midstream market and accelerate our growth by accomplishing our strategic initiative to add a pipeline integrity pillar to our service portfolio.” Mistras recorded revenues of $742 million in its most recent fiscal year. Headquartered in Princeton Junction, NJ, the company has about 5,700 employees and 125 locations worldwide. It also provides protective coating services and manufactures equipment for non-destructive testing including acoustic emission and ultrasonic testing equipment.

For more info, see www.mistrasgroup.com