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Computer-aided tool path generation for robotic non-destructive inspection

Morozov, Maxim and Pierce, Stephen and Mineo, Carmelo and Nicholson, Pascual Ian and Cooper, Ian (2013) Computer-aided tool path generation for robotic non-destructive inspection. In: 52nd Annual Conference of the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing 2013. British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing, Telford (UK). ISBN 9781629939933

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Compared to manual Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) for inspection of engineering components, automated robotic deployment of the same NDT techniques offers an increase in accuracy, precision and speed of inspection while reducing production time and associated labour costs. Traditionally, the robot tool path is either taught or programmed manually. Automation of NDT tool path generation, as presented in this paper, offers further significant time reduction, and an increase in the flexibility of inspection planning compared to manual robot teaching and programming. Moreover, such a solution helps to maintain a controlled probe orientation with respect to the scanned surface, and thus which can dramatically reducing lift-off noise. In this work we present the reverse engineering of complex shape test-pieces which have no CAD documentation, and the computer-aided tool scan path generation of such test-pieces as deployed by means of six-axis KUKA robotic arms. Both the use of commercial software and a custom MATLAB toolbox are explored. The tool-paths generated by commercial software are used for robotic scanning of a titanium fan blade by means of Swept Frequency Eddy Current (SFEC) method. Investigations for the future potential for integrating robotic NDT and in-line metrology are also presented.