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NDT.net Issue - 2013-09 - NEWS
NDT.net Issue: 2013-09
Publication: e-Journal of Nondestructive Testing (NDT) ISSN 1435-4934 (NDT.net Journal)

USL Ultrasonic testing systems for industry News August 2013

Ultrasonic Sciences Ltd.11, Aldershot, Hants, United Kingdom

Recent deliveries and installations

Installation of four further complex geometry squirter systems has been completed in the last 3 months—three of them in China and the fourth in UK.

All these are 10 axis systems but one is unusual in having one horizontal and one vertical manipulator—see Fig 1. This configuration is designed for inspection of cylindrical and conical parts. It also incorporates a new design of tip / rotate manipulator—Fig 2.

The other 3 systems are all the standard USL design with horizontally opposed manipulators—Fig 3. They will be used for inspection of complex composite parts destined for Airbus and Boeing commercial aircraft, including A350XWB and 787—also for the Joint Strike Fighter. There are now 20 of these systems in use throughout the world.

A dual-bridge immersion system has been installed at a UK manufacturer of titanium plate - this is the fourth USL system of this type at the same site. The system is shown during trials at the USL factory (Fig 4). Each of the two scanning bridges is an 8 probe system using the USL PM30/Multiplexer ultrasonic units, with 3 linear and 2 angular motion axes, designed for rectilinear scanning and real time control of the angular axes to maintain the correct incident angle. The system is configured so that it can be divided into two independent systems operating simultaneously, or used with one bridge in a parked position and the other scanning the full 6 metre length.

A small laboratory based immersion C scanning machine (Fig 5) has been delivered and commissioned at AEG (Aerospace Engineering Group) in Bilbao, Spain. The system will be used for ultrasonic inspection of electron beam welds in aircraft auxiliary power units. Identical USL machines are in use in UK and Australia for a similar application.

Recent new orders

An order has been received to upgrade a rotary inspection system at a UK manufacturer of composites. This will involve replacement of the computer and ultrasonic (continued) modules and installation of new software for motion control, data acquisition and imaging.

Orders have been placed by two existing customers for a large 4 channel flatbed system for composite inspection and a 6 axis immersion unit for fan blade testing, similar to the unit shown in Fig 6.

System upgrades

USL has been upgrading existing ultrasonic systems for many years. These upgrades fall into three categories:
1. Modification of existing USL systems to bring the hardware and software up-to-date.
2. Upgrade of old systems originally supplied by other manufacturers. This usually involves replacing old ultrasonic data acquisition electronics by standard USL PC-based systems and installation of our imaging and motion control software. In USA around 8 systems have been upgraded in this way, in conjunction with our partners Arcadia Aerospace in Florida. One of these is shown in Fig 7.
3. Sometimes we are asked to “upgrade” quite new systems which have been installed by other suppliers, but which have never worked in the way intended—or in some cases never worked at all.

In this period we have completed an upgrade of a 10 axis squirter system originally delivered last year by a USL competitor, but where attempts by the supplier to commission the system were unsuccessful. We have installed new ultrasonics and software for motion control and data acquisition, with the result that the system is now operating as originally intended.

System acceptance

A recently completed system (Fig 8) has been accepted at the USL factory and will now be installed at Fokker Aerostructures in The Netherlands. This is a gantry type 11 axis unit for inspection of composite materials with a 3D geometry. This style of system is normally used with squirter nozzles but because it has vertical manipulators it is also suitable for use in the immersion mode. Rails are fitted in the machine foundations so that immersion tanks can be rolled into the base of the scanner in place of the normal part holding fixtures.

Ultrasonic Sciences Ltd, Unit 4 Springlakes Industrial Estate, Deadbrook Lane, Aldershot, Hants, GU12 4UH, England.
www.ultrasonic-sciences.co.uk Tel + 44 (0)1252 350550 Fax + 44 (0)1252 350445

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