Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) covers a range of techniques that assess the quality of a component without causing damage to the part. NDT is used across industries such as aerospace, oil and gas, nuclear, power generation, medical, rail and general manufacturing, to name a few. It is a crucial aspect of quality control and ultimately health and safety. Ultrasonic testing uses high frequency sound to detect discontinuities, such as defects, in components or structures. Historically, parts with high curvature or intricate shape have been inspected manually, which can be time consuming and lead to inconsistent results.
Advantages over conventional ultrasonic testing
The new robotic inspection facility offers a number of significant advantages over conventional ultrasonic testing:
- 6 degrees of freedom probe movement to inspect complex geometry parts
- Advanced ultrasonic imaging, visualised in a 3D environment and overlaid on CAD
- Fast inspection speeds
- Flexible and adaptable robot cell which can quickly be modified to inspect new parts
- Off-line path planning for visualisation and collision avoidance
- Repeatability of up to 0.1mm
- Ability to use a number of ultrasonic probes, depending on the application
This project is part of an initiative known as the Advanced Engineering Materials Research Institute (AEMRI), which is funded by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) using European Regional Development Funds (ERDF).