Automated ultrasonic testing of seamless steel pipes with matrix arrays

Speaker:
Peters, R.; Vallourec Deutschland GmbH; Germany

Authors:
Peters, R.; Vallourec Deutschland GmbH; Germany
Würschig, T.; GE Sensing & Inspection Technologies GmbH; Germany
Holzapfel, H.; Vallourec Deutschland GmbH; Germany
Nitsche, S.; Vallourec Deutschland GmbH; Germany
Delhaes, C.; Vallourec Deutschland GmbH; Germany
Germes, A.; Vallourec Deutschland GmbH; Germany
Michel, R.; Vallourec Research Center France; France
Noël, A.; Vallourec Research Center France; France
Breidenbach, C.; GE Sensing & Inspection Technologies GmbH; Germany
Pfortje, R.; GE Sensing & Inspection Technologies GmbH; Germany
Hömske, B.; GE Sensing & Inspection Technologies GmbH; Germany
Stetson, J.; GE Sensing & Inspection Technologies GmbH; Germany
Kahmann, F.; GE Sensing & Inspection Technologies GmbH; Germany
Falter, S.; GE Sensing & Inspection Technologies GmbH; Germany

ID: ECNDT-0345-2018
Download: PDF
Session: Applied PAUT 3
Room: G2
Date: 2018-06-15
Time: 09:00 - 09:20

Seamless pipes are demanding and high-technology products. Recent developments have increased the capability to test seamless pipes at full production speed. Automated ultrasonic testing is one of a series of non-destructive testing methods employed on hot rolled seamless steel pipes at Vallourec mills. Ultrasonic NDT benches are ideal to detect potential inhomogeneities at industrial speed and in rough environments. Attributed to the manufacturing process, most surface irregularities detected in hot-rolled seamless pipes are oriented in longitudinal direction. Nevertheless, some surface irregularities are oriented in an oblique direction, which was determined by a longitudinal prematerial defect run through the piercing process of the pipe. The exact determination of this angle is complex, because there are a lot of influencing parameters. Using Phased-Array technology with additional Paint-Brush technique gives the opportunity of gapless detection up to  45° relative to the axial orientation at full production speed.

However, it may happen, that other inhomogeneities orientations can occur, which raises the interest, to test the steel pipes for larger angle ranges, ideally for all potential oblique orientations. Using state of the art methods, a series of transducers is needed, to close the full circle (360°) of potential defect orientations. Each of the transducers is pointing at an angle range being a fraction of above mentioned full circle. This would be associated with much configuration efforts and enlarged mechanical arrangements, which are not any more applicable under industrial constraints.

The use of 2D-Phased-Array Transducers has the potential to overcome this drawback, since they naturally allow to detect defects under defined orientations. Within this paper, we present a fully parallelized, automated pipe testing machine based on a 2D-Array with more than 700 channels, capable to detect inhomogeneities oriented on the full circle in a gapless way, embedded into a 2-carriage gantry solution. Additional transducers realize the high-resolution wall-thickness measurement and lamination detection fulfilling the requirements of valid standards. To overcome the need of multiple cycling for multiple defect orientations, advanced applications of the Paint-Brush Technology combined with holographic sound fields are applied to ensure the operation at full production speed. First industrial results and capabilities will complete the picture.