Methods for improving the accuracy of automated NDE systems

Riise, Jonathan and Farr, Lance and Lindop, Martin and Pierce, Gareth and Nicholson, P. Ian and Cooper, Ian (2018) Methods for improving the accuracy of automated NDE systems. In: 12th European Conference on Non-Destructive Testing, 2018-06-11 - 2018-06-15,

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Automated inspection systems using twin six-axis industrial robots have been available for a number of years, including the IntACom system at TWI Wales. Utilising phased array ultrasonic probes to quickly inspect complex geometries, the IntACom system is now routinely used in various inspections of composite components. In the present work we introduce a number of methods for improving and quantifying the accuracy of an automated inspection system. The key challenges are identified and addressed through a number of methods including calibration procedures and interfacing multiple sensors with industrial robots for Non Destructive Evaluation (NDE) purposes. The authors also introduce a novel method for improving the Tool Centre Point (TCP) calibration of an industrial robot when the tool is an ultrasonic phased array probe. Experimental trials show that the average positioning error is less than 0.5mm using this new method.