Typical parts for aircraft or spacecraft structures can be more than 20 meters long and require very large non destructive inspection systems. Most of these parts are not flat, but curved or complex-shaped due to aerodynamic requirements. Nevertheless, thorough quality assurance is crucial, because in space flight any small defect can cause a disastrous mission failure.
The companies Robo-Technology and Dr. Hillger present a family of fully automated ultrasonic inspection systems using synchronized robotic manipulators. This allows inspection of large and complex geometries using air-coupled through-transmission technique. The result is a so-called C image of the inner structure, revealing any defects of carbon fiber / honeycomb sandwich parts like delamination, foreign objects or insufficient bonding of the layers to the core material.
Our systems create C-scan images fully automatically at scan speeds of up to 1 m/s, reducing scan times to less than 20 minutes per square meter. Distance sensors next to the scan head alter the trajectories in real time to ensure reproduceable results even if the specimen deflects under gravity. Similarly, collision detection sensors minimize damage by stopping the robots in the fastest possible way. The same technology can also be used for smaller robotic scanners, enabling the inspection of curved parts in a lab or production environment on a very small footprint.