Weld inspection is an essential component of many high value manufacturing and maintenance activities e.g. ships, aircraft, nuclear reactors etc. Weld radiography is a mainstay of weld inspection, but has two considerable drawbacks when deployed in-situ: it is potentially hazardous, making it obstructive and dangerous, and it does not reliably detect certain types of defect.
We have developed a concept that combines 3D position sensing techniques, with autonomous robotics to make an in-situ radiography system which is safer, less obstructive and has higher performance by achieving in-situ Computed Tomography (CT) for generic welds or other industrial inspection.
One of the key innovations is the ability to achieve the accuracy required for CT with independent robotic systems either side of the weld. This would allow the system to be used in a wide range of applications, not limited by having to physically co-locate the two robotic systems.
To build a CT image from multiple x-ray images requires the relative positions of the source and imager for each image to be known. Robot arms typically have a repeatability of around 100 microns, which is not quite good enough; ideally the repeatability would be better than 5 microns to detect small defects. We believe that this can be achieved using the x-ray beam itself.
Results from our first trials are expected soon – stay posted.
The mobility of the system means high quality CT scans can be generated in a wide range of applications.
Scans can happen concurrently with workers allowing nothing to get in the way of progress.
No shielding bays
The technology does not require shielding bays as there are no lost X-Rays.