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Robot-Based Solutions for NDT Inspections: Integration of Laser Ultrasonics and Air Coupled Ultrasounds for Aeronautical Components

Repetitiveness, traceability, recording, independence of the operator and optimization of the inspection times are the main requirements in Non Destructive Inspection of Aeronautical components. In order to ensure them, Robotic Automatic inspection can offer many advantages compared with manual techniques. Additionally in this paper it will be described the integration of two novel technologies in a Robotic Solution: Laser Ultrasonics and Air Coupled Ultrasounds. Laser ultrasonic technology combines two lasers in order to perform the inspection of the part: a short-pulsed laser for generation (CO2 laser, <100ns) and a long-pulsed high power detection laser (Nd:YAG, >500W) coupled to a high-bandwidth optical interferometer to measure the ultrasound. Other elements of the laser ultrasound system include a high-speed optical scanner to index the inspection point, and a real-time control system to synchronize and integrate the scanner, lasers, robotic movements and all the safety elements required in an industrial environment. Ultrasound is generated within the top surface of the composite without physical contact or water couplants; the induced ultrasonic wave will always propagate perpendicular to the surface thereby enabling testing of parts with substantial geometric complexity. Air coupled Ultrasounds are generated with very specific Ultrasonic electronic equipment. This equipment has been designed, developed and manufactured by Tecnatom under very strict requirements in terms of dynamic range and signal to noise ratio. In this study, aeronautical components have been inspected with Laser Ultrasonics and Air coupled Ultrasounds, by means of robotic systems, and the additional advantages have been evaluated: repetitiveness, control of results, increase of the production rates by increasing inspection velocities, inspection in industrial environment (safety, control motion, inspection process in integrated mode…)

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