The GE DM5E: Critical Thickness Measurement for Oil and Gas Industries

We’ve written before about the importance of NDT (nondestructive testing) in the oil and gas industries—particularly in our wildly popular infographic on the subject. Today, we’re zooming in to focus on one tool in particular that helps NDT technicians create a safer world: the GE DM5E Basic Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge Unit. This test unit is a bit of an unsung hero in the oil and gas industries, and it deserves a profile.

So what exactly does the GE DM5E do? In a word, it performs thickness tests on pipes and tanks that hold oil and gas. This is one area of public safety which owes everything to NDT. Without test equipment like the DM5E, technicians would have no ability to detect invisible flaws in oil and gas pipes and tanks. Undetected flaws could lead to devastating ruptures, fires, and explosions—as they have historically.

Pipeline Flaw Detection: Critical to Public Safety

 Devastation in San Bruno
Photo courtesy of Brocken Inaglory. Licensed under Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution-Share Alike.

In 2010, faulty welds in a 30” gas pipe caused a massive explosion and fire in San Bruno, CA. While we can’t say that the DM5E could have prevented this explosion—many factors led to it—we’re fairly certain that this section of pipe was not tested for flaws. It’s possible that testing of the pipe with a thickness gauge unit (like the DM5E) could have alerted technicians to the growing fault in the pipe. In the future, we hope more gas companies will adopt technologies like the DM5E to detect flaws before lives are lost.

The DM5E: Unsung Hero of Pipeline NDT


In the hands of NDT technicians, the DM5E is detecting pipeline flaws every day. That means countless dangerous situations aren’t even happening—all because of the proper use of NDT equipment. The more NDT is practiced comprehensively in the oil and gas industry, the safer our world becomes.

The DM5E: Straight from the Source

Let’s listen to Mike Bezemer of GE as he explains the DM5E from inside the company. This video is a good overview of the DM5E. For more information, read the full description of the GE DM5E on our website.

Wrap Up: NDT Adoption = Public Safety

At Berg Engineering, we’re passionate about NDT because we’re passionate about public safety. We tirelessly campaign for the increased adoption of NDT technologies in sectors that carry a high risk to public safety. For more information, get in touch with our customer service department at 1-847-577-3980 or email

Berg Engineering

Berg Engineering and Sales Company has been supplying nondestructive and material testing equipment since 1969. We represent the world’s leading manufacturers of nondestructive testing (NDT) testing devices. We publish articles that cover topics of interest for current and future members of the NDT community.

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