Category Archives: Blog

MRO Americas 2024

With a focus on Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul operations, the MRO Americas Conference is an international exhibition representing all levels of the aerospace industry supply chain. For the past 29 years, this event has provided airlines, OEMs, regulators, manufacturers, suppliers, and service providers with a platform to exchange insights, showcase technological advancements, and address emerging challenges.

For three days in April 2024 conference attendees had a unique opportunity to meet with PNDE along with nearly 1,000 other exhibitors showcasing proven and cutting-edge services, products, best practices, and collaborations essential for shaping the future of aerospace maintenance. Like other industries, key themes revolved around sustainability, digitalization, and resilience. Emerging digital technologies took center stage, with sessions highlighting the integration of AI, IoT, and predictive analytics to optimize maintenance processes and improve aircraft reliability.

As the industry continues to evolve, Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) will take on an even greater role in meeting increasingly rigid performance, reliability, and safety regulations. And PNDE will continue to serve manufacturers, suppliers, and airlines with the highest of standards and ethics.

Contact us here to learn more about our company and services.

PNDE Completes Nadcap Audit

Nadcap, formerly known as the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program, is a critical certification for companies serving the aerospace and defense industries. This industry-managed program evaluates and accredits specialized processes used in the manufacturing, testing, and maintenance of aerospace and defense components along with systems such as laser cutting, drilling, and welding operations. Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) is also covered by this program.

Nadcap accreditation represents adherence to the industry’s high standards, upholds integrity across the supply chain, and ensures product quality, safety, and reliability. In 2021, PNDE successfully acquired Nadcap certification and earlier this year, the company underwent its 3rd audit.

PNDE Operations Manager, Tiffani Ivins explained that during this comprehensive seven-day audit, only a single minor procedural non-conformance was discovered. And the issue was quickly rectified and accepted onsite. As a result, PNDE was awarded an 18-month Nadcap accreditation.

“I’ve been through many audits throughout my career; but this was an extremely rigorous review and by far the best performance I can remember in any company where I’ve worked,” Ivins said. “We’re exceptionally proud of our staff and the steps we have in place to ensure the quality of our work and processes. Our record of Nadcap accreditation further demonstrates our commitment to excellence to the industry and our aerospace and defense customers.”

Corporate Culture: The Key to Attracting and Retaining Quality Workers

Regardless of size, type, or industry, companies today are faced with many of the same challenges. Chief among these is the ongoing pursuit to attract and keep quality employees. Competition for talent is fierce. So why are certain employers more successful at finding and retaining valued members of their staff than others?

The Lure of Money

Wages and benefits are certainly a part of the equation. But while money may attract workers it’s no guarantee that they will stay for the long haul. In fact, this Glassdoor survey, shows that employees are increasingly placing a premium on job satisfaction above compensation. In the survey, 56% of respondents said that a good workplace culture was more important than salary.

The Impact of Culture

Every organization, club, business, team, or group has a dynamic. A culture. Often difficult to describe yet easily recognized, corporate culture cannot be masked or misrepresented.

How important is culture? In the Glassdoor survey, 73% of said they would not apply to a company unless its values align with their own personal values. Perhaps this explains why many are finding it harder to retain quality members of their staff.

Creating a Culture

Culture starts at the top. And if not firmly embedded and clearly demonstrated it can easily shift over time, especially as the company grows. For this reason, culture should be continually considered, evaluated, and reinforced.

A challenge faced by small business owners or managers is to resist the urge to micromanage. Rather than trusting their employees and the hiring process, many tend to hang on to every project detail.

PNDE Manager and Co-Founder, Mark Koehler explained that early in his career, he too had to learn that this overly hands-on approach stifles innovation, growth, and ultimately limits the company’s success.

“While it’s understandable for business owners or managers to be protective of the brand, there comes a point where you have to trust the culture you’ve instilled in the company,” he said. “Our goal when starting PNDE was to hire good people, empower them to do the job for which they were hired and ultimately represent the company and its values to our customers.”

Koehler also says that employees, especially those with a wealth of experience, are often an untapped gold mine. Management must be willing to listen.  At PNDE, everyone’s opinions are welcomed and in fact encouraged. Together we will make the best decisions for the company’s future.

“Employees offer a fresh perspective and can provide often candid feedback needed to move the company in the best direction. The truth is, if we’re all thinking the same thing, then somebody’s not thinking. Companies don’t grow without continually looking for better ways to do things.”

The company’s Manager of Operations, Tiffani Ivins, points out that while culture starts at the top, it is best demonstrated at the employee level.

“Our biggest investment and strength are our people,” she said. “We are not just an NDE testing business, we are also a people business. And we make a real effort to instill the values of teamwork, responsibility, and accountability.”

Culture Pays

Let’s face it, all companies represent themselves in the best light to their customers and prospects. But the company’s true culture is demonstrated internally – by the value it places on team members.

Small companies, like PNDE, understand the importance for employees to feel engaged, valued, and to thrive. And when employees and companies are truly invested in one another, the possibilities are limitless.

Holiday Wishes from PNDE

Another year is quickly coming to a close.  And 2023 has been another memorable year here at PNDE. We’ve added to our team, continue to grow our expertise, and have made some lasting friendships with old and new customers alike.

There’s no question that this is the busiest time of the year for all of us. But before things get too hectic with wrapping up projects, office parties, shopping, family gatherings, and more, we want to take a minute to wish you a safe and happy Holiday Season. We thank you for your past business and look forward to serving you in the year ahead.

Happy Holidays from all of us at PNDE!

4 Questions 4: Chad Braner

Chad Braner is a Level II Technician and PNDE’s Radiation Safety Officer. He is often on-site at customer locations performing tests. We recently caught up with him long enough to get his answers to Four Burning Questions.

Hi Chad. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I grew up in the Dayton, Ohio area where I attended Northridge schools. I am a single father of two teenagers. Both of my children are in high school.

I’ve been working in the NDE field for roughly 24 years now. Most of that time has been spent in the local Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky tristate area.

Can you tell us a little about working at PNDE?

I report to job sites to perform CT scans, evaluate the scanned parts, along with any other related tasks. As Radiation Safety Officer, I ensure that radiation safety code requirements are met and that all technicians are following appropriate procedures.

This can be a challenging line of work and I enjoy those challenges. It’s also nice to have different jobs and visit a variety of job sites. There are always things to do at a smaller company and I stay plenty busy. It’s truly been an interesting time in my life.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?

Without a doubt my parents were the biggest influences in my life. I learned many life lessons that I carry with me to this day. We never went without, but things were always tight. Head up and move forwards, always!

Enough about work. What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Any interesting hobbies?

These days life is a little too busy for many hobbies. But whenever I get the chance, I like to ride my motorcycle. I also enjoy going on camping trips.

 

Non-Destructive Evaluation and Safety

From manufacturing and construction to aviation, automotive and beyond, Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) is an indispensable tool in ensuring safety across a growing number of industries. NDE determines the integrity, quality, and reliability of materials, components, and structures without causing damage.

Here are some industry examples of how NDE is advancing safety.

Civil Engineering

Throughout the structural and civil engineering world, bridges, buildings, and infrastructure must withstand various environmental stressors and daily wear and tear. NDE methods, such as ultrasonic testing, radiographic testing, and magnetic particle inspection, allow engineers to identify hidden defects, corrosion, or stress fractures.

By detecting potential issues early, maintenance and repairs can be made before catastrophic failures occur, preventing accidents and safeguarding the public.

Aerospace

Throughout the aerospace industry, aircraft undergo rigorous inspection and testing during their manufacturing and maintenance processes. Many forms of NDE testing (including Eddy Current, Liquid Penetrant, X-Ray, Etc.) are used to identify flaws in critical components like engine turbine blades, landing gear, and fuselage.

Energy

The consequences of a failure in a nuclear power plant can be catastrophic, not only endangering the lives of those in the vicinity but also causing long-lasting environmental damage. NDE is, therefore, an essential tool in maintaining the safety and integrity of such facilities. Radiographic testing and ultrasonic testing can detect cracks, leaks, or weakening in reactor vessels and coolant systems.

Oil & Gas

Pipelines that transport oil and gas over vast distances are susceptible to corrosion, stress, and other forms of damage. Non-destructive testing methods, including magnetic particle inspection and radiography, can detect flaws in these pipelines without interrupting operations. By identifying potential weaknesses early, NDE helps prevent dangerous leaks, fires, and environmental disasters.

Medical

Knee, hip, shoulder, spine, medical implants are growing in popularity. And techniques like X-Ray and Liquid Penetrant are helping to ensure longevity and advance the quality of life by making sure that that these devices are structurally sound.

Automotive

NDE techniques like liquid penetrant, radiographic along with visual inspection help identify structural defects and flaws in critical components such as the vehicle chassis and engine components. By using NDE, manufacturers can ensure that their vehicles meet safety standards and minimize the risk of accidents due to structural failures.

Entertainment

You may not have NDE on your mind the next time you visit your local theme park. But as you’re making that long uphill climb on a towering steel roller coaster, you’ll be thankful that NDE is a part of the park’s maintenance program.

Your NDE Partner

Non-Destructive Evaluation allows the thorough inspection and evaluation of materials, components, and structures, thereby preventing accidents, environmental disasters, and potential harm to human life. It is an invaluable tool in ensuring the structural integrity, quality, and reliability of critical systems, from infrastructure and aerospace to healthcare and automotive industries.

Contact us to learn more about our NDE services.

Join our Team!

We’re looking for results-driven NDE/NDT professionals who understand the advantages of a small company, have a passion for customer service, and want to contribute to, and share in, our success. As a part of the PNDE team, you’ll receive full benefitscompetitive wages, and opportunity for advancement. But that’s not all, at PNDE we believe that a company’s success should always be shared; and all team members participate in profit sharing!

We are seeking professionals in the following NDT disciplines for our Fairfield, Ohio location.

NDT Level 2/3- UT Contact (Straight beam and Shearwave)
NDT Level 2/3- UT Immersion 
This position will consist of performing field & laboratory inspections. Individuals interested in this position will need to supply High School Diplomas (or equivalent), training records, and documented approved experience hours.
Go here to read the work requirements and how to apply.

Are you cut out for a career in NDE?

Like any field, a successful non-destructive evaluation (NDE) career encompasses a range of skill sets. But, while a working understanding of math and science principles are a must, NDE includes a number of traits that they simply don’t teach in school.

Here are some qualities of successful NDE engineers and technicians.

Understand that it’s all about people.

Regardless of industry, type, or size, – all businesses, organizations, or institutions are all about people. The ability to interact with co-workers and customers is essential.  The truth is, you’re not going to like everyone you work with. And when it comes to dealing with those outside the walls of your company, remember, you’re not only representing yourself, but you are also the face of the company and must always act professionally.

Have a genuine willingness to learn.

Most companies are willing to hire good, honest people who share their ethics and values. With this foundation and common ground, new employees can be taught the ins and outs of equipment usage, data collection, analysis, and test applications.

NDE is an evolving science that includes many different testing methods, tools, and applications. Even long-time industry veterans must keep up on new technologies and emerging best practices. Those who embrace continuous learning are well on their way to a successful NDE career.

Embrace the details.

Even the smallest details are critical when collecting data and performing tests. And the slightest variances can jeopardize structural integrity and human safety. It’s important to thoroughly understand and follow the test plan including all protocol, steps, and procedures.

Be a problem solver.

Few tests will proceed exactly as planned. NDE technicians often face challenges with any job. This could include changes to schedules, uncomfortable conditions, modifications to the test, and so on. The ability to adapt, improvise, and solve problems is an absolute necessity in this field.

Learn to think critically.

Critical thinking is the analysis of data, facts, evidence, and observations to form an accurate and objective judgement. This is important when analyzing the results of an NDE test. NDE technicians must observe the integrity of the product, measure its stability, and communicate it with clarity and precession.

Know how to communicate at all levels.

As an NDE technician, you’re often working with customers who may not understand NDE testing, processes, and technologies to the level that you do. In such cases you’ll have to communicate sometimes highly technical information in a manner that is clearly understood by a lay person.

Leave your ego at home.

Many NDE companies are smaller businesses where employees are expected to perform multiple tasks. In addition to NDE duties, this could include some administrative, customer support, sales or other duties related to day-to-day business activities.

If you expect to only work 8-hour days or believe that such tasks are below your pay grade, then you should probably seek a career at a fortune 500 company.

Don’t Sell Yourself Short

Regardless of experience or technical aptitude, most people have what it takes for a successful NDE career.  Much of it boils down to common sense, a good work ethic, and a drive to get things done.  If you possess these core traits and are willing to learn then NDE could be a great fit for you and your employer.

4 Questions 4: Daniel Grady

As a Senior NDE Technician Daniel’s days are never dull.  If he’s not in the field, he can be found working in the PNDE lab conducting various inspections. Daniel also has the distinction of being the company’s first official employee!

Daniel’s days are non-stop, and we were able to pin him down just long enough to answer a few questions. Here are four questions for Daniel Grady.

Hi Daniel. Can you tell us a little about your daily responsibilities?

A large part of my job is to help the newer technicians. I guess you could say training. I also assist with jobs in the field. I get involved in all types of testing ranging from visual inspection to liquid penetrant, magnetic particle, hardness testing, MFE testing, leak testing, radiography, and ultrasound – mainly, I get involved with API inspections.

You likely didn’t set out to be an NDE Technician. Where were you expecting your career path to end up?

No that’s true. Growing up I wanted to be a police officer and later an architect. But things change. My senior year in high school my mother pointed me to a job fair that she read about in the paper. I walked in and within a couple of months I had a job in non-destructive testing.  I had no clue what non-destructive evaluation or testing was until I started, and I learned along the way.

NDE is a great field and I’d recommend it to anyone. It’s interesting and there’s always something out there that needs to be inspected, whether it’s rollercoasters, airplane components or even fuel tanks at a gravel yard. In addition, it exposes you to a lot of different people and companies. Working closely with our customers helps to create partnerships between the companies but it also opens the door to new personal friendships. I launched my NDE career 16 years ago, and I couldn’t be happier.

So, you were employee number one. Making the jump to a start-up had to be a little unnerving. What was it that enticed you to take the risk?

Well, it was the people. I knew I was taking a big chance, but I had tremendous respect for the company’s management. I knew what they stood for and trusted that together we could create something very special here. And in just 5 years we’ve done a phenomenal job.

Working at PNDE is great. There is a genuine openness, and your voice is heard. If you have suggestions for improvements, they are taken seriously. And we have an open-door policy, anytime you want to come in and talk, be it work related or personal, it’s always welcomed.

OK Daniel, last question. Enough about work. What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Any interesting hobbies?

Well, I don’t know how interesting they are, but I do like to spend as much time as I can outdoors. I like to hunt and fish, and I do a little taxidermy work on the side. I also enjoy woodworking and carpentry. I’ve been keeping busy on some home renovation projects.

Some say that around Christmas time I turn into a Clark Griswold. I have always enjoyed all the lights and want to make sure that the people in my neighborhood get the same enjoyment out of it as I do.

Small Company, BIG Opportunities: 5 Reasons Why a Small company Might be for You

Anyone who has worked for a large company has likely heard someone utter something to the effect of: “I liked it so much better when the company was smaller.”  The truth is, working at a small company has its advantages, many of them.  No matter if you are just launching a career or if you’re a long-time industry veteran, these companies might be just what you need to launch or jumpstart your career.

Here are 5 reasons why a small company might be for you.

  1. First and foremost, you’re family

Many smaller companies go out of their way to make employees feel appreciated. This can range from picnics, outings, birthday/anniversary celebrations, to bonuses and profit sharing.  While large companies might offer many of these perks, there’s no denying that most employees who work or have worked for smaller businesses feel a genuine sense of comradery and appreciation that can’t be faked.

  1. Measurable Contribution

There’s no greater satisfaction than knowing that you’re contributing to the bigger picture in a meaningful way. In large corporations the impact of an individual is basically incremental and doesn’t move the needle much. Conversely, when you’re on a team of limited size, your contributions have a direct and measurable effect on the company’s success.  In short, you really matter.

  1. Ground floor opportunities

Employees at small businesses generally wear many hats. This means that there is ample opportunity to identify a career path of your choosing. Got an idea to improve sales, support, or service? Great! In a small company you’ll have less red tape to work through and suggestions are generally encouraged.

Another perk is, you’ll get plenty of exposure to all sides of the business, from technical and customer service duties to sales, and business support. Many go on to enter management roles as the company grows. In other words, you have a chance to define your job and own it.

  1. Personal relationship with co-workers

Teamwork is encouraged in any company. In a small company it’s nonnegotiable.  Here you’ll learn how to support and rely on co-workers in a true team effort.  This not only sharpens your communication and interaction skills, but you’ll quickly learn how to work through challenges and contribute. Because in a small company there’s no time for office politics.

  1. You will be the face of the company

Let’s face it, all companies claim to be customer focused.  But are they really?  It’s true that from the president and salesman to the field technician and receptionist, anyone who encounters the customer (or potential customer) becomes the face of the business. And, while this is true for any business, it is especially important for a small company that prides itself on listening and taking action to make sure that expectations aren’t just met – but are exceeded.

It’s all about relationships, people want to do business with people they know and trust. And small businesses owners often empower (in fact expect) employees to do whatever it takes to win and maintain the customer’s trust.

The downside

Let’s face it, working for a small company isn’t for everyone.  You’re not going to be able to skate by, clock out every day at 5:00, or blend into the woodwork.  Everyone must contribute and take ownership of their specific duties.  And some people simply aren’t cut out for the responsibilities that come with life in a small business.

See what PNDE has to offer

If you think that working for a small company might be for you, consider a career with Professional NDE.  We’re looking for people who are passionate, who understand service and accountability, and who want to be a part of something truly unique.  Contact us here and let’s talk.

Need more?

Need more convincing? These are just a few advantages of small company life. Monster.com offers 17 reasons why you should consider working for a small business.  Check it out here.