More safety in aviantion thanks to new ultrasonic testing systems
With increasing complexity and the use of new materials in airplanes, the requirements for testing systems also increase. Not all currently used systems can detect damages at an early stage, so that component failure in critical situations can be prevented. On the basis of its many years of experience in non-destructive testing, Fraunhofer IKTS has significantly improved the classic ultrasound-based testing methods.
In the so-called biplanar array technology of the IKTS, the sound field of the sensor can be swiveled and focused in two planes. As a result, three-dimensional images can be generated, which was previously only possible with area sensors. However, these sensors are costly, vulnerable and less precise, and therefore no alternative to biplanar arrays.
A further improvement has been made to the electronics of the ultrasonic sensors. The compact multi-channel electronics of the PCUS® pro II series from Fraunhofer IKTS ensure that significantly more transmitters and receivers can be integrated in the smallest possible space. This significantly increases the information gain and the sensitivity. In addition, the 128-channel electronics can be applied directly to the sensor. Long analog transmission lines to the control cabinet are eliminated.
These IKTS developments are integrated in robot systems that are flexible and freely parameterizable. As a result, even complex component geometries can be tested quickly and efficiently. Costly individual measurements combined with a high conversion effort are therefore superfluous.
»IKTS is able to offer complete, fully automated test systems for the industry that go far beyond the status of previously available commercial systems in terms of defect detection, test safety and test speed,« explains Prof. Hennig Heuer, Head of the »Test and Analysis Systems« department at Fraunhofer IKTS.
The fully automated ultrasound systems have already been successfully tested in the testing of novel rotor blades as well as turbine components made of ceramic fiber composites and titanium materials.