Robotic non-destructive ultrasonic testing (UT) and inspection (UI) has proved to be an invaluable asset to the aerospace and aircraft industry. Over the years, as robotic UT and UI processes evolved, aerospace manufacturers have achieved higher productivity and higher quality inspections for a wide variety of components.
Robotic UI processes use high frequency sound energy to inspect and measure aerospace and aircraft components. A transducer pulses ultrasonic energy through a component, and based on the returning waves of energy, a receiver can detect discontinuities such as internal cracks. In this way, robotic UT and UI systems can find the location, size and orientation of a fault in an aerospace component in an entirely non-destructive way.
What Are Robotic Ultrasonic Inspection Systems Used For?
Robotic UI systems are used to inspect composite, carbon fiber, structural and/or engine components in aerospace and aircraft manufacturing facilities. There are robotic UI systems for large and small parts, some of which are mobile, so they can inspect several different types of components.
Typically, the main purpose of robotic UI systems is to give non-destructive inspection processes with a lab-environment mentality a production-environment approach. In other words, automating a scientific process for productivity gains without sacrificing quality.
Benefits of Robotic Ultrasonic Testing and Inspection Systems for Aerospace Manufacturers
Manual inspection of aerospace components is slow and error prone, often creating bottlenecks in production. Robotic UI processes are a major improvement over manual inspections in a number of ways.
There are a few main benefits of robotic ultrasonic testing and inspection systems:
- Speed and Uptime: without sacrificing the integrity of inspections, robotic UI systems are far faster than manual inspections, and can have far greater uptime than manual inspections. The combination of the two leads to greatly increased output and the reduction or elimination of inspection bottlenecks.
- Flexibility: some robotic UI systems are able to inspect many different types of aerospace components, which helps manufacturers achieve ROI faster and contributes to overall profitability. The flexibility to inspect multiple components also helps automate more of the production process in a shorter span of time and with less initial investment.
- Quality: by their nature, robots are highly accurate and repeatable when programmed and functioning correctly. This type of accuracy and repeatability yields high quality inspections that manufacturers can rely on. Quality inspections can help avoid costly errors in production.
Robotic UT and UI systems provide many benefits for aerospace and aircraft manufacturers, but the three broadly focused advantages listed above are some of the most important. Manufacturers that invest in robotic ultrasonic testing and inspection systems see major bumps in productivity and profitability.
To learn more about non-destructive aerospace and aircraft inspection, check out Genesis Systems Group’s industry-leading NSpect NDI systems.