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|NDT.net Issue - 2009-07 - NEWS |
|Bondtracer evaluates potential damage on composite aircraft right at the gate
Billerica, MA, USA June 16, 2009 Under a license from the Boeing Management Company, GE Sensing & Inspection Technologies announces Bondtracer, a durable, simple tool that will improve the ability of airport crews to quickly and easily evaluate possible damage to composite structures caused by accidental collisions with baggage loaders and other vehicles. This new tool underscores GEs commitment to enhancing infrastructure health by enabling more accurate inspection and improving safety.
Developed in cooperation with Boeing and building upon the Boeing Ramp Damage Checker (RDC) invention, GEs Bondtracer allows flightline mechanics to quickly and easily evaluate any damage the aircraft may have and determine if the airliner can continue to fly or if it needs further maintenance before the next flight.
Using composite structures can reduce the weight and increase the durability of an aircraft making it a more efficient, modern materials solution for aviation. When damage does occur, however, it can be difficult to recognize by visual inspection alone. Airlines can potentially lose millions of dollars per year due to minor accidents that occur on the flightline, such as minor collisions with baggage loaders. For each accident, an aircraft must be grounded while extensive tests are conducted to confirm its integrity and airworthiness.
Carbon fiber composites require different processes for evaluating impact and performing non-destructive inspection, says Thierry Laffont, Aerospace Segment Manager at GE Sensing & Inspection Technologies. Our goal with Bondtracer is to provide flightline mechanics with a simple device to quickly determine when more extensive inspection is required. The solution allows airlines to ensure safety while increasing efficiency and productivity.
With Bondtracer, flightline and ramp technicians will be able to evaluate the severity of impact damage right at the gate, helping to ensure greater safety and efficiency of inspection. This will help operators dispatch airworthy aircraft quickly, preventing unnecessary grounding or flight delays for consumers and providing significant savings for airlines.
Bondtracer is as easy to use as a common stud-finder, with a simple display where green indicates consistent skin thickness and red indicates an unanticipated thickness change. It is designed to be a useful tool for ramp-personnel without non-destructive testing training or certifications.
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