Safety has top priority in aerospace. In order to guarantee that important structural carbon fiber parts are defect-free, appropriate quality control is required. A common technology used to inspect the integrity of parts is ultrasonic testing. However, the inspection process is difficult to automate, given the complex part structures that are present in many situations. Strong curvatures and high wall thicknesses put challenging requirements on the inspection procedure. Project SonicScan is dedicated to lift automated ultrasonic inspection to the next level. In the context of project SonicScan, Acoustic Control Systems – ACS Group in collaboration with Profactor is developing an automated robotic work-cell for ultrasonic inspection.

Important for the ultrasonic testing of parts is that all regions of a part are actually covered. Therefore, the ultrasonic transducer must travel across the part’s surface at a defined distance. In order to execute this motion with an industrial robot, multiple things need to be taken into account: propagation of the ultrasonic signal, geometry of the part, shadowing, accessibility, and spacing between part and test head. To solve such a complex path-planning problem, project partners develop special software.

Ultrasonic testing enables a view into carbon parts.

This project has received funding from the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking (JU) under grant agreement No 831830. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the Clean Sky 2 JU members other than the Union.