A new development in ultrasonic probe technology offers a faster and more effective way to inspect complex curves and radii in composite components.
WrapIt, from Phoenix Inspection Systems, is a flexible ultrasonic phased array tool that can be wrapped around a curved surface. It is ideal for use in the aerospace, marine, wind energy and motor sport industries where structural composite components are commonly used and where the use of conventional probes can present a real challenge.
WrapIt can operate on both concave and convex geometries. Its conformable ultrasonic phased array transducer is housed in a rubber enclosure formed to the nominal curvature of the component.
WrapIt’s waterproof wheel encoder runs on the component radius so it is clear of panel cut-outs and gaps. The WrapIt housing incorporates features for reliable and quick inspections such as low-friction plastic skids to ensure a smooth scanning motion and internal irrigation channels for consistent coupling.
As the system self-adjusts to changing geometry, one tool fits a range of radius sizes and by simply changing the housings a broader range of geometries can be inspected with one array. WrapIt is compatible with all types of phased-array instrumentation, making it easier to get the technology qualified and approved.
Neil Hankinson, Head of Applied Engineering at Phoenix Inspection Systems, said: ”Ultrasonic inspection is recognised as one of the most informative NDT techniques for testing carbon fibre and composite materials. However the inspection technologies typically used for flat laminates are not easy to apply on curved surfaces, particularly where components have continual variation in geometry along their length. In these cases, the inspection of corner regions has the potential to become an expensive production bottleneck.
“WrapIt enables, for the first time, the radius of composites to be easily inspected in a way that is economical, versatile and fast enough for production volumes.”
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