Real-Time Radiography

Real Time Radiography (RTR) is a type of non-destructive testing (NDT) that uses radiation such as x-rays or gamma rays to produce digital images of a piece of equipment for later examination.

The RTR process begins by emitting radiation at the object to be tested. The rays then pass through the object. On the other side of the object, there is either a phosphor screen or a flat panel with microelectronic sensors. The rays hit that screen which then gives off light. It’s this light which creates a digital image of the part in real time, including the internals of the part.

Places that are externally corroded or have other external defects can be identified by evaluating the color contrast of the representation. Areas that let more radiation get through cause the sensors to emit more light, which reflects on the image.


RTR can be used for the immediate inspection of critical areas. This method tends to be much quicker than traditional radiographic inspection, and the images captured with it are usually available much sooner. Likewise, because they are digital, images created during RTR are easier to store and archive.

This makes RTR particularly useful for when there is a piece of equipment that needs to be examined quickly and immediately. It is also very useful for examining long lengths of piping efficiently.


RTR is capable of detecting damage such as moderate to heavy corrosion under insulation (CUI), moderate to heavy pitting, and pipes distorted from mechanical damage. It can also find things such as welds or transverse joints under insulation.

While it’s a relatively new NDT technique, RTR is well-established in several industries, including oil & gas, chemical processing, automotive, and aerospace industries, among others.


Sentinel Integrity proudly utilizes the latest advancements in RTR technology (OpenVision™ LT) to assist our clients in the evaluation of equipment and piping systems susceptible to corrosion under insulation (CUI), as well as locating and detecting welds and other components hidden beneath insulation.

The OpenVision™ LT is a lightweight portable x-ray system for hand-held inspection.  The system includes a highly sensitive X-ray imager and battery-operated 70kV X-ray tube designed for portable field operation. This unit’s 4" x 6" imaging area and real-time video allows the operator to quickly scan a range of specimen and pipe sizes. Moving the x-ray source provides 3-D perspective and moving closer or farther from the specimen allows increased detail resolution or field of view. Images are presented on a high-resolution 7" LCD display or on a heads-up display mounted to a hard hat. A DV SD card recorder can be attached to the system to store the video image or capture still images.


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