Re: Ultrasonic phased array file formats Ed,
You have made some valid points; especially with respect to archival storage of date, however, my problem is with current equipment and software.
Drawing a parallel with general computing, its as if a Dell laptop cant exchange files with a Compaq. Theoretically there shouldnt be a problem, but some unseen nuance of BIOS, Windows XP or Microsoft Office version prevents exchange of data. In this situation, consumer pressure would force resolution but in the smaller NDT environment, resolution seems an uphill battle.
Without some standardization of file formats and software protocols, an opportunity for greater acceptance of phased array ultrasonics as an engineering tool is lost in a morass of commercial secrecy, non disclosure agreements, quarterly results and turf wars.
Finite Element Analysis is usually my customer so why cant the defect found by phased array, be up loaded into ALGOR or similar packages for disposition ? Getting to this stage would require something like the IGES format in computer aided design. Export of a 3D model of the defect would also remove some of the black magic art of interpretation of the data.
In the short term, a spreadsheet or similar, showing what combinations of hardware, BIOS, operating system, UT software and patches are compatible would go a long way to de-bugging the problems at shop floor level.
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: There is actually such a requirement in the medical industry for obvious reasons. Data must be readable by doctors at different locations probably with different systems.
: An attempt was made in this area in industrial NDT some years ago at EPRI I believe. Apparently some demonstration of feasibility was carried out but I think it failed to move forward because some NDT companies felt that their proprietary interests might be compromised. As well, there may be other commercial reasons for not sharing a single data format.
: There does not be the same consumer pressures in NDTas there is in medical so it is left to the manufacturers to do what is best for their interests/products.
: NDT software users are, I think, not so numerous as medical users so we do not have the same influence. But perhaps it is also a matter of need. The fact is not a lot of companies need more than one software package so why make a conversion patch or even an exchange format for a few dozen or even just a few hundred potential users. It is easier for developers to develop changes in their own software if unimpeded by an over riding imposed protocol.
: But even in-house there can be issues. I worked on some of the systems used in OPG that were run using OPG-made software. I wonder if you could extract the information off the old reel-to-reel or digital cassette tapes we stored the data on 20 years ago and use it on your new form of GDCPS?
: This is an interesting topic, I hope we can hear from some programmers on the subject.
: : I purchase phased array inspection services from a variety of vendors, some in the client group served by RD-Tech and some by Zetec. The manufacturer's software has subtle differences that can cause problems when trying to exchange data between them. No doubt in time these differences will become greater.
: : Has anyone written contractual language for procurement of phased array services to ensure the data generated is transparent to all?
: : How do you deal with software patches? An upgrade to resolve a particular problem may jeopardize the ability to interchange data between the different software packages.
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