Automated non-destructive evaluation of components

Inspection of the structural integrity of manufactured parts with high accuracy and full area coverage is a challenging, expensive and time-consuming process for many industries. Our Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering (CUE) has developed a suite of automated inspection techniques, combining unique elements of sensors, robotics and advanced signal processing.

Background

Traditional quality and conformance checks, when manufacturing or undertaking routine inspection of high value parts such as product containers used in the nuclear industry, can delay and lengthen the production cycle.

Automating the process with industrial robots significantly shortens overall production time. Automated techniques improve accuracy and reliability, enabling inspection staff to process and monitor the much larger volume of measurement data.

CUE has a unique range of facilities which can meet the increasingly rigorous demands for ultrasonic technology development. The centre focuses on markets in underwater sonar, biomedical devices, non-destructive testing and industrial process control. It has expertise in ultrasonic transducer manufacture, system prototyping, instrumentation hardware, system simulation and data processing software.

CUE specialises in automated non-destructive evaluation, where parts and structures are assessed in a safe, unobtrusive manner for their integrity.

Technology

CUE has researched and developed a suite of path planning and data registration algorithms between the Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) data and the structural modelling of complex shaped components. The technology includes innovations in areas such as data visualisation and registration and new techniques in robotic path control and correction.

CUE has developed a proof of concept demonstrator, in conjunction with Eddyfi and National Nuclear Laboratory, to highlight the positive benefits of the technology in terms of throughput, accuracy and reliability. The system is fully scalable and flexible to suit any component sizes and geometries.

Integrated into the system is Eddyfi’s conformable eddy current array for near surface defects. Additional through-imaging sensors such as ultrasonic and surface imaging visual devices are also integrated for flexibility and dependant on end-user applications.

See our prototype in action:

 

This technology includes innovations in data visualisation and registration as well as new techniques in robotic path control and correction.

Dr Rahul Summan & Dr Charles MacLeod, Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering

Key benefits

  • multiple non-destructive inspection techniques (Ultrasonic, Eddy Current, Magnetic, Visual)
  • greater accuracy & reliable quality control
  • quicker production processes
  • fully automated
  • scalable & flexible for any component size

Markets & applications

  • manufacturing of high value components.
  • safety critical industries such as nuclear, health, oil & gas, automotive and aerospace

Next stage of development

We're currently undertaking a study for industry feedback to evaluate the world-wide market for this non-destructive quality control technology with a view to commercialisation.

Interested parties please email the RKES team.