In Europe, some countries provide certification based on a third party principle, the training being delivered by a provider and the certification conducted by a separate organisation based on standards like EN473 or the Scandinavian equivalent. Third party examinations, being independent, provide a recognised competence level as the training organisation has no access to the examination questions, thus ensuring uniformity of minimum competences. Although considered to be superior to second party schemes, the process is fragmented and only operates in certain areas of the world and is not seen as a solution across continents.
Over recent years, the BINDT (British Institute of Non Destructive Testing) has taken the outline from an international standards group and used it as a platform for producing a certification scheme based on ISO 18436. They have developed this third party certification scheme using PCN (a well established accreditation body) to deliver a high quality process for qualifications in a range of condition monitoring techniques, including Infrared Thermography, Vibration Analysis, Acoustic Emission, Ultra-sound, etc. Industry should be seen to embrace a scheme designed to ensure the fundamentals are understood in each technology, and which promotes a minimum time requirement for practical experience prior to certification, whilst providing an independent assessment of each student. This scheme could grow rapidly and will ultimately be recognised as a world standard for training and certification in condition monitoring activities.
Legislation on the use of infrared thermography is quite sketchy at the moment and it is not unusual to see a complete novice purchase these scientific instruments and offer services without any in-depth training or experience. This obviously allows a reduction in their charge-out rate and compromises consultants who compete in the field with high quality equipment, expert training and many years of practical experience. As more insurance companies now demand infrared inspections prior to the issue of their insurance certificates, it is essential that the survey is carried out by competent individuals. Industry must set standards to ensure consultants and practitioners obtain the required skills, training and experience to ensure the quality of data collected.
The IIT is an Accredited Training Organisation for the BINDT and provides independent education, training and support to industry. Trainers are experienced thermographers who convey both the theoretical and practical aspects of the technology, and certification conforms to ISO 18436 and ASNT SNT TC 1A. The emphasis is to raise the awareness of thermography and develop skills in all industry sectors. Courses are offered in over 50 countries with training manuals in over 10 languages. IIT staff are always available to answer general enquires and questions on the certification processes