Robots for automated non-destructive testing of complex shapes

Ungerer, Dieter; AREVA GmbH; Germany

Glass, S.W.; AREVA Inc.; USA
Ungerer, D.; AREVA GmbH; Germany

ID: ECNDT-0605-2018
Session: PAUT & TFM 2
Room: G2
Date: 2018-06-11
Time: 15:20 - 15:40

Robot systems, which are primarily developed for manufacturing application, are cost-effectively adapted to non-destructive testing (NDT) of complex surfaces. This is particularly true for safety-critical industries like nuclear, high-speed rail and aircraft/aerospace. AREVA has a long history of using robotics and carrying out advanced NDT.
The complexity, inspection speed, positioning accuracy and display choices depend on the application.
Technical challenges, which occur when adapting standard 6+ robot systems for NDT, include coordinate transforms to suit the robot kinematics as well as the desired customer display configurations. In addition to this, ultrasound, eddy current, alternate NDT method triggers and scan-path planning which includes velocity limitations and coordinated motions have to be mastered. A further technical challenge is the projection of ultrasonic waves, from the complex surfaces into the inspected component. This has to be simulated in order to fully understand the UT beam path.
Frequently, these manufacturing robots must be coupled with integrated drive systems to adjust the position of the robot or the sample to allow full inspection access of the target surface. As a result these robot systems are particularly suited for complex shape inspection.
This paper discusses the extension of the robot technology to nuclear and industrial NDT applications.

Keywords: ultrasonic, automated NDT, automated NDE, inspection system, complex shape inspection