News and Announcements

West Penn Testing Group is pleased to announce the following:

West Penn’s Qualification of New Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing System Anticipates Shift to SIM-16 Requirement

New Kensington, Penn., October 31, 2012—West Penn Testing Group (, a provider of non-destructive testing and material testing services, has qualified its new Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing (PAUT) system. Mark Pompe, the NDT Level III who led the West Penn effort to improve the process of inspecting rotor-grade titanium, said, “SIM-11 allows ASM 2628 MZI until November 30, at which time inspection to SIM-16 requirements takes effect.”

Commenting on the transition from SIM-11 to SIM-16, Pompe said: “The mandate is real, the requirement immediate, and ‘work around’ options non-existent. The aerospace industry now has a new specification to guide inspection of titanium material used to forge disks, shafts, hubs, seals, spacers, couplings and other flight-critical components.”

Pompe added that PAUT provides significant technical benefits. “PAUT eliminates overscans. For this reason, much less data is needed to assure quality. The new system uses no wheels, the transducer not the test article moves, so previous elliptical movements of the test article that complicated analysis have been eliminated. Only one transducer needs to be set up to run a test.”

According to Jim DeChellis, “West Penn will be the first and only test lab to supply PAUT in conformance with the SIM-16 specifications. We have the system on the shop floor. Trials, testing certification, and the first-customer qualifications are in process. And we are now receiving inquiries from customers at every level of the supply chain.”

West Penn Testing Graduates Class of NDT Inspectors, Begins Training New Class

New Kensington, Penn., March 14, 2012—West Penn Testing Group (, a provider of non-destructive testing and material testing services, has certified the latest class of inspectors to graduate from its in-house training program. James C. DeChellis, West Penn’s President/COO, said: “We have been aggressively staffing up our roster of trained NDT personnel to support our resource business plan and in conjunction with end-user demand.”

Commenting on the trend among material suppliers and metalworking OEM to outsource more material testing to independent labs, DeChellis said, “Many customers recognize the scope of the commitment needed to stay abreast of changing inspection requirements and technologies. The expenditures in time, effort and capital can be daunting. Fortunately, West Penn has spent years preparing to meet projected demand. As a result, we now have the required capabilities in place and ready to go. For this reason, a growing number of customers are leaving it to us to keep pace with escalating requirements. We have insured that capacity in equipment and personnel are in place for timely responses to work increases.”

DeChellis added that based on growing and projected demand, West Penn will be increasing the number of inspectors by 50% in 2012, compared to last year.

“Customers were behind our decision years ago to plan and invest for long-term growth,” said DeChellis. “A number of our customers, some of whom are leading indicators of economic trends, shared with us the anticipated capacity requirements of their biggest customers. Recognizing that it takes months and years to ramp up highly complex capabilities, WPT planned the necessary actions to support end-customer-projected demand. We are now positioned with available capacity, cost-effective methods and reliable turnaround times versus leaving everything to chance.”

West Penn Testing Appoints Oscar Lewis Director of Quality

New Kensington, Penn., February 8, 2012—West Penn Testing Group (, a provider of non-destructive testing and material testing services, has hired Oscar Lewis as Director of Quality. James C. DeChellis, West Penn’s President/COO, said: “Oscar’s Level III credentials, 20 years of NDT experience and four years as a quality engineer for a medical device OEM make him ideally qualified to provide top-notch service to our medical-industry customers.”

Lewis is no stranger to West Penn. In his previous employment with a joint-replacement implant manufacturer, he regularly audited West Penn’s testing capabilities. He said, “It is essential for implant makers to have complete confidence in the quality of the materials they use. West Penn provides the quality assurances that reduce risks for manufacturers.”

Commenting on strengthening business conditions, DeChellis said, “As customers firm up long-term requirements, and work with us to calculate the resources needed to satisfy those requirements, they simultaneously give us the market signals we need to justify investment and expansion—and we have been acting on these signals. For example, in 2011, our pool of qualified inspection technicians grew 65 percent. In 2012, it will grow by another 50 percent.”

West Penn inspects the full spectrum of titanium, stainless-steel, cobalt-chrome and nickel-based-superalloy grades specified for medical applications. The company also tests medical-grade polymers. “West Penn performs tests that meet the industry’s most exacting standards,” Lewis said. “For example, we routinely inspect for internal defects 0.8mm in diameter, or to a Class-AA or number-2-flat-bottom-hole level.”

West Penn Testing Expands Inspection Capacity for Medical-Implant Materials

New Kensington, Penn., January 18, 2012—West Penn Testing Group (, a provider of non-destructive testing and material testing services, projects a double-digit increase for testing of surgical-implant materials in 2012. “We are already experiencing a rise in medical-sector tests driven as predicted by demographic and regulatory changes,” said West Penn’s Director of Sales Albert R. Fletcher. “Our response is: hire, train more Level II inspectors and build more test cells.”

Fletcher said trends in the medical market have an outsized impact on West Penn due to its established presence as an independent laboratory. “We have served domestic and international medical manufacturers for almost two decades. Typically, manufacturers turn to us to solve tough material-inspection problems and we often solve those problems in ways that end up setting test standards.”

Commenting on the company’s strategy for measuring up to expectations, President/COO James C. DeChellis said, “We provide solutions and services effectively by having trained personnel and testing capacity in place before they are needed. When you have long-term relationships with raw material suppliers and the major manufacturers, you can sustain the level of business needed to support a deep bench and high expertise.” DeChellis added that West Penn celebrates its 60th year in business in 2012.

“Because we are a leading supplier of ultrasonic inspection services, with capabilities using a variety of testing technologies, there has been no time in our history when customers did not have us working to solve problems,” said DeChellis. “If they all knock on the door at once, whether they are coming from the medical, aerospace, energy or one of a dozen other market sectors, we need to be able to accommodate demand and live up to expectations.”

West Penn Accelerates Test-Process Development in Wake of FAA Approval of Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing

New Kensington, Penn., August 17, 2011—West Penn Testing Group (, a provider of non-destructive testing and material testing services, reports completion of FAA approvals for Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing (PAUT). According to Albert Fletcher, Director of Sales of West Penn Testing, “The titanium-billet-phased-array group, made up of jet-engine OEMs, titanium-billet manufacturers and aerospace forgers, has passed a crucial milestone with the approval last month of PAUT. After a three-year effort, the aerospace industry now has an alternative to multi-zone ultrasonic testing.”

Fletcher says that as a result of the FAA approval, West Penn has sped up its program to develop test protocols that meet the requirements of individual OEM customers. “We have the trained people in place and the schedule to install the additional equipment well underway. Now, as we begin to receive the detailed testing requirements from various jet-engine OEMs, we can adapt our process to satisfy the demands of specific customers.”

West Penn reports that a number of tasks must be completed before high volumes of titanium billets can be run through the PAUT process. These tasks include certification of the process for each jet-engine OEM and its suppliers, further equipment-manufacturer evaluations and selection, and final approvals for testing procedures related to data capture, manipulation, analysis and reporting. “It is possible these issues can be resolved during the first half of 2012,” says Fletcher. “In any event, by that time West Penn will be in a position to conduct a high rate of titanium billet inspections.”

West Penn Testing Is Key Player in Positioning New Testing Technology for Global Aerospace OEM

New Kensington, Penn., June 15, 2011—West Penn Testing Group (, a provider of material testing services, is the laboratory supporting a six-member industry group seeking to establish a new testing technology for titanium billets. The group, made up of three jet-engine manufacturers, two titanium-billet suppliers and one aerospace forger, submitted its data package for FAA approval of Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing (PA) on June 10.

According to Albert Fletcher, General Manager of West Penn Testing, “After the submission of the data package last week, group members accelerated work on a new specification, which is envisioned as an upgrade from the conventional inspection specification. The new AMS industry testing standard will be modeled on this new specification and will eventually replace the old AMS-2628 and be added as an option to the ASM-2631 standard.”

Fletcher said the new specification will be an alternative to the multi-zone ultrasonic testing (MZ) option for inspecting rotor-grade titanium billets at a future date and thenceforth will require the PA inspection.

Mark Pompe, Director of Technology and Level III at West Penn, said, “Using the 6-inch-to-14-inch-diameter standards and material as a starting point, and using the test platform developed by West Penn, the group’s trials confirmed that PA meets the MZ sensitivity requirements. These data underpin the submission to the FAA. As a result of our involvement in this initiative, West Penn is now positioned to offer PA inspection systems to the industry.”

West Penn estimates that as much as 40 percent of its titanium-billet and forged-component inspection services are provided for material purchased by international OEM.

West Penn Testing Continues Aggressive Program to Meet Rising Demand for Aerospace Testing Services

New Kensington, Penn., May 18, 2010—West Penn Testing Group (, a provider of material testing services, has spent five years preparing for the next aerospace up-cycle. Albert Fletcher, General Manager, West Penn Testing, said: “Today, suppliers to aerospace OEM are less likely to be surprised by a surge in orders. The reason is a number of airframers and jet-engine manufacturers have committed to sharing production forecasts with their suppliers. Some refresh this demand information quarterly, looking out 12 months. This information sharing helped us predict the current rise in bookings and more accurately estimate the demand on the horizon. We started using these forecasts five years ago. As a consequence, we have improved our ability to anticipate demand.”

West Penn Testing Says FAA Approval Will Move New Test Closer to Industry Acceptance

New Kensington, Penn., April 27, 2010—West Penn Testing Group (, a provider of material testing services, is involved with a six-member group working to establish the equivalency of Phased-Array Ultrasonic Testing (PAUT) to the prevailing AMS-2628 standard. According to Albert Fletcher, General Manager, West Penn Testing, “With FAA acceptance of phased-array inspections, our group’s two-year effort will pass an important milestone. The 16-year-old AMS-2628 standard, which up till now has been the only one available with FAA approval, will soon be joined by an alternative testing technology accepted for inspecting rotor-grade titanium billets. PAUT has demonstrated that it can deliver equivalent levels of accuracy and reliability. It also offers the added benefit of significantly reducing the time required for setting up tests.”

Mark Pompe, Director of Technology and Level III at West Penn, said, “The AMS-2628 standard is based on multi-zone testing technology. Over the years, West Penn Testing has inspected more than 22 million pounds of rotor-grade titanium billets using the multi-zone approach. However, a number of years ago we began a program to convert a percentage of our ultrasonic testing capabilities to PAUT. It is inevitable that this technology, which holds out so much promise for aerospace OEMs, will soon be in wider use. PAUT is already well established in other manufacturing industry sectors, such as ground transportation, where it has proven its worth.”

Mark Pompe, Director of Technology and Level III at West Penn, said, “In 2006, based on customer inputs, we began expanding our testing capacity. Over the last five years, we have installed a new testing or material-handling system each year. Based on current forecasts, we are picking up the pace. We plan to install three more systems by year end.”

West Penn says the biggest bottle-neck to responding to upticks in demand is the availability of trained inspectors on staff.

“Because staffing is critical to satisfying customer demand, we increased our cadre of trained inspectors. The number of inspectors at West Penn has grown by 20 percent since 2006. When our current group of trainees joins the company, it will expand our roster of inspectors by 50 percent compared to 2006 levels,” said Pompe.

West Penn Testing’s expansion efforts were recently featured in a cover story in Forge magazine. The article is available as an attachment to this press release and on the company’s website. (Click here)

West Penn Testing Sees Future Growth in DGS Waveform- Capture Tests

New Kensington, Penn., October 27, 2010—West Penn Testing Group (, a provider of material testing services, has developed a DGS waveform-capture ultrasonic test to meet international standards for higher reliability in energy-disk tests. “Today, design engineers want more from a test than simple acceptance or rejection,” says Jim DeChellis, the company’s COO. “Engineers want a comprehensive record of the test to be captured for future reference.”

According to Mark Pompe, Director of Technology and Level III of West Penn’s ultrasonic unit, that comprehensive record can now be captured. “In the past, capturing the up-to-30-gigabytes of information was technically onerous and prohibitively expense. But with the new, affordable storage devices now available, the immense amount of data generated by an automated waveform-capture test can more easily be captured, stored, transported and retrieved for a variety of uses.”

The benefit of capturing waveform data is two-fold. Design engineers can review the test data to better understand the metallurgical properties that prevail after the forging and heat-treating phases of production. Also, if there is ever a failure, engineers can rerun the full test and pinpoint the discontinuities that may have contributed to a problem. This capability points the way to refinements in material and process specifications that can facilitate product improvements.

“The permanent record of the original waveform ultrasonic test gives customers confidence that they can raise the level of reliability they accord these types of tests,” said Pompe.

West Penn Testing Serves IGT Makers with Unique Automated Ultrasonic Testing Capability

New Kensington, Penn., September 29, 2010—West Penn Testing Group (, a provider of material testing services, supplies some of the world’s largest industrial gas turbine (IGT) manufacturers thanks to the unique capabilities of its contact, DGS ultrasonic testing unit. “It’s the largest, fully automated, ultrasonic testing unit at an independent test laboratory in the western hemisphere. It has the most advanced hardware and software and consistently provides the highest levels of test accuracy,” says Jim DeChellis, the company’s COO. “This is reassuring to IGT original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), because their power-company customers want to feel confident about the reliability in the power-generation systems they put online for consumers.”

According to Mark Pompe, Director of Technology and Level III-certified manager of West Penn’s ultrasonic unit, “We can accommodate energy disks up to 90 inches in diameter and 20,000 pounds. While we also provide the manual-contact, immersion and C-scan ultrasonic inspections many customers specify, we are moving increasingly into waveform capture ultrasonic testing, which creates a three-dimensional picture of the internal structure of a forging. The 3-D technology overcomes the limitations of manual- contact and C-scan inspections, which are one- and two-dimensional technologies, respectively.”

Typically, forgers inspect raw material before producing energy disks, but sometimes defects result from the forging process, the heat-treating process, or both. “Ultrasonic testing catches these defects,” Pompe says, “and waveform-capture technologies find defects hidden by forging geometry that other methods won’t. Capturing waveform data significantly increases the types of post-test analysis OEMs can perform and also retains a permanent record of the complete test.”

Building Non-Destructive Know-How

Modern Casting magazine recently interviewed Mark Pompe, Director of Technology, at West Penn Testing Group, on the advantages of both in-house and independent testing labs. West Penn Testing Group has the expertise to assist their customers in both in-house testing and independent testing. Read more...

West Penn Testing Group Selected As A Winner Of Progressive Manufacturing 50 Awards

06/07 (New Kensington, Pennsylvania) West Penn Testing Group, one of the nation’s leading independent non-destructive, chemical and material testing organizations, has been named a winner of a Progressive Manufacturing 50 Award for integrating Lean Manufacturing and 5S protocols into its testing operations. Presented by Managing Automation, a publication that highlights technology solutions for progressive manufacturers, the award positions the company as a candidate for the publication’s upcoming High Achiever Awards. The award recognizes manufacturers that are being progressive in their businesses, in the management of their operations and in their use of advanced technology.

West Penn Testing was honored with the award for its successful development and application of Doing Lean LEAN. The program was designed to substantially increase throughput in the forgings immersion testing process over a six-month period, without compromising quality. Drawing on proven Lean Manufacturing and Six-Sigma concepts, the Doing Lean LEAN process pinpoints strategies for implementing cost-effective manufacturing and management protocols that quickly generate meaningful results for small- and medium-sized businesses.

By undertaking Lean LEAN initiatives, West Penn Testing was able to:

Reduce cycle times by 25%
Achieve return on investment within 2 months
Increase throughput by 15%

Through the Lean LEAN initiative, West Penn Testing Group’s clients experienced the following:

Increased frequency of on-time delivery
Decreased process times
More predictable process protocols
More accurate forecasting

Implementation of the program also increased company revenue and profitability, decreased part retention times and enhanced client satisfaction ratings. The program required a minimal initial investment of $50,000 to cover equipment, materials and internal time.

“We are pleased to have our efforts recognized by Managing Automation,” remarked N. David Campbell, President of West Penn Testing Group. “The Doing Lean LEAN program confirms that small or mid-sized manufacturing and service businesses can achieve significant, bottom-line enhancing benefits in a compressed timeframe. The initiative has made a significant contribution to our business, and has positioned us to deliver exceptional, timely results to our wide range of clients.”

The awards program recognizes manufacturers that are being progressive in their businesses, in the management of their operations, and in their use of advanced technologies. The Progressive Manufacturing 50 Awards Program annually recognizes 50 companies that have achieved distinction in at least one of eight core disciplines defined by Managing Automation as critical to business success in years ahead. The disciplines include business Model Mastery, Customer Mastery, Supply Network Mastery, Data & integration Mastery, Innovation Mastery, Training and Education Mastery, Leadership and Operational Excellence. An independent judging panel, chaired by Daniel Brousell, Editor-in-Chief of Managing Automation, reviewed all project nominations.

West Penn Testing Group provides an extensive array of reliable, independent non-destructive testing, chemical testing and material testing services. The company serves clients in the metals, aerospace, nuclear, commercial manufacturing, military and automotive industries. For more information about the company or its services, visit

West Penn Testing Group Presents at the CerMA Conference

05/07 West Penn Testing Group presented at the 2007 CerMA Conference on May 23, 2007. The Ceramic Manufacturers Association serves as a training and information resource for plant operators to ensure the viability of the ceramic industries information resource for plant operators to ensure the viability of the ceramic industries. “Getting the Most from Your Testing Dollars” was the focus of West Penn Testing’s presentation. The presentation as well received. For more information on this subject, contact us at 724.334.1900.

West Penn Testing Group Promotes Jeanine M. Saunders To Quality Assurance Manager

02/07 (New Kensington, Pennsylvania) West Penn Testing Group recently appointed Jeanine M. Saunders Quality Assurance Manager. A 17-year employee of the company, Ms. Saunders will perform internal audits and implement corrective actions to maintain quality system standards in West Penn Testing Group’s NDT, Spectrochemical and Materials Testing areas. In addition, she will counsel senior management on quality issues, and play a central role in implementing lean manufacturing strategies.

West Penn Testing Group Applies Lean Manufacturing And 5S Techniques To Testing Operations

01/07 (New Kensington, Pennsylvania) West Penn Testing Group, one of the nation’s leading independent non-destructive, chemical and material testing organizations, has integrated Lean Manufacturing and 5S protocols into its testing operations. Designed to enhance the quality of individual testing operations while reinforcing exceptional customer service, Lean Manufacturing utilize 5S strategies to streamline evaluation procedures and operations in all areas of the organization.

Originating in Japan, 5S is built around the ideas of organization, orderliness, cleanliness, standards and discipline. In combination, these concepts form the structure of Lean Manufacturing. Lean Manufacturing procedures have been utilized by many of the world’s most successful manufacturing operations, and have played key roles in improving throughput, enhancing communication, reinforcing morale and productivity and bolstering safety. West Penn Testing Group is one of the first independent testing organizations in the country to apply Lean Manufacturing and 5S to its operations.

West Penn Testing Group provides an extensive array of reliable, independent non-destructive testing, chemical testing and material testing services. As a leading testing and evaluation organization, the company serves customers in the metals, aerospace, nuclear, commercial manufacturing, military and automotive industries.

West Penn Testing Group Enhances Large Billet And Forging NDT Capabilities

01/07(New Kensington, Pennsylvania) West Penn Testing Group has significantly upgraded its immersion ultrasonic C-scan capabilities by renovating the company’s large billet and forging evaluation system. The enhanced equipment is unique in both its capacity and capabilities. The system’s electro-hydraulic billet and forging rotator has a capacity exceeding 17,000 lbs and can support lengths up to 32 feet and diameters up to 55 inches. This fully automated system allows customers to transition from the limitations of contact ultrasonic testing to the increased sensitivity and resolution of immersion ultrasonic testing. The recently completed upgrade has improved the mechanical precision of the Scanner, and has added state of the art multi-channel C-scan image acquisition capabilities.

This system can be used for immersion ultrasonic inspection of billet and long forgings typically used in jet engine shafts, submarine sonar, oil platform stress joints, aerospace and ground-based turbines, and large heat exchanger plates.

West Penn Testing Group Expands Spectrochemical Evaluation Capabilities With New Microwave Digester

01/07 (New Kensington, Pennsylvania) West Penn Testing Group has augmented its spectrochemical testing operations by integrating a new microwave digester into its Pittsburgh facilities. Designed to deliver high-power dissolution capabilities, the microwave digester can be used with both metals and ceramics, and significantly improves evaluation throughput.

It is particularly effective on samples possessing high-purity Alumina or super alloys. It may also be used on samples with low trace levels.

West Penn Testing Group Adds New Optical Emission Scanning Capabilities To Its Spectrochemical Operations

01/07 (New Kensington, Pennsylvania) West Penn Testing Group has enhanced its metal analysis capabilities with the addition of a new multi-channel optical emission analyzer. Configured to analyze up to 10 base metals families, the instrument has specific calibrations for iron, aluminum, magnesium, cobalt, copper, nickel, titanium, lead, tin and zinc. The analyzer is also outfitted with nitrogen sampling capability for iron samples. Up to 25 elements can be simultaneously analyzed in approximately 30 seconds with minimal sample preparation.

West Penn Testing Group Provides Flexible Staffing And Service Offerings At South Carolina Facility

10/06 (New Kensington, Pennsylvania) West Penn Testing Group has enhanced its technical services staffing at the company’s South Carolina facility. In addition to providing comprehensive ultrasonic immersion testing, the firm has added a number of new positions for testing professionals, all of which have been staffed by certified Non-Destructive Testing technicians. By augmenting staff, West Penn Testing Group can now deliver technical staffing solutions tailored to each client’s individual needs. The company’s staffers may be used to augment a client’s existing in-house ultrasonic immersion testing staff, or can be deployed to cover the entire ultrasonic immersion testing function.

West Penn Testing Group Expands Metallurgical Analysis and Evaluation Capabilities With Behram Kapadia

04/06 (New Kensington, PA) West Penn Testing Group has expanded its metallurgical analysis capabilities by adding Behram Kapadia, Sc.D., a highly respected veteran of the domestic steel industry, to the firm’s consulting group. Formerly employed with U.S. Steel Group, Dr. Kapadia is an expert in ferrous metallurgy, heat treatment, fracture mechanics and failure analysis. Prior to joining West Penn Testing, he served as a consultant to a number of leading industrial organizations, including Westinghouse Electric Company, Aristech Chemical Corporation, Eaton Corporation, USS/KOBE Steel, Damascus Steel Casting Co. and INFASCO.


West Penn Testing Group
1010 Industrial Blvd.
New Kensington, PA 15068
724.334.1900 (phone)
724.334.9785 (fax)
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