The emerging reality of NDE 4.0 is that robust digital interfaces help create value, and statistical approaches combined with digital twins and threads help extract that value.
Up until recently, the industrial revolution was divided into three phases: (1) simple mechanization; (2) mass production; and (3) automation. Similarly, nondestructive evaluation (NDE) can be divided into three phases: (1) tools, such as lenses, sharpened the human senses; (2) the conversion of waves made the invisible visible by offering a “look” inside components; and (3) automation, digitization, and reconstruction enhanced the accuracy, speed, and ease of information sharing. During industrial development, although NDE has been decisively responsible for the quality of the manufactured goods and safety of operations, it has carried perceptions not commensurate with the value realized. Currently, industry leaders have been talking about a fourth revolution: the informatization, digitization, and networking of industrial production and the concurrent use of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and 5G networks. For NDE, this fourth revolution offers an unprecedented opportunity to address technical challenges and negative perceptions at the same time, leading to an enhanced appreciation of this significant discipline. The paper begins with a survey of professionals in the field to identify the perceptions surrounding NDE and moves on to demonstrate the value of integrating Industry 4.0 with NDE in the form of NDE 4.0 driven by connectivity and data mining. Building on that, this paper next presents the necessary basics and concepts, like semantic interoperability and the Industrial Internet of Things. Moreover, the key interfaces and data formats, like OPC UA and DIOCONDE, are discussed, and the International Data Spaces Association (IDSA), which goes one step further by ensuring data sovereignty, enabling data markets, and connecting the world, is introduced. The emerging reality of NDE 4.0 is that robust digital interfaces help create value, and statistical approaches combined with digital twins and threads help extract that value.