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How to Find the Best Aviation and Industrial NDT Supplies for Your Company

How can manufacturers find the best aviation and industrial nondestructive testing (NDT) supplies for their needs?

Global economic growth is reflected in increased demand for air travel, particularly in developing countries with a burgeoning middle class. As a result, major aircraft manufacturers have years of backlog. Increased wealth is also boosting private and personal aircraft sales. Manufacturers and their suppliers are continually evaluating manufacturing process efficiency. Inspections are a vital step in manufacturing processes. Efficiency and accuracy can’t be compromised.

The composites revolution in carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP) transformed many aviation manufacturing techniques and required new inspection techniques, in addition to established requirements for aluminum, titanium, alloy, and ceramic component inspections. With this diversity and complexity of inspection needs, how can manufacturers find the best aviation and industrial nondestructive testing (NDT) supplies for their needs?   

What are the Best Aviation and Industrial NDT Supplies for Your Needs?

Every aviation manufacturer has a unique set of inspection needs. How do you find the best aviation and industrial NDT supplies that provide the required efficiency and inspection quality? Based on years of working directly with aviation and aerospace manufacturers, we propose four criteria to help evaluate NDT suppliers: single source supplier, instrument versatility, software, and engineering services.

Single-Source Provider of Aviation and Industrial NDT Supplies

Manufacturers strive to reduce the number of suppliers. A single-source provider should offer a full range of solutions both standard and customized that include probes, instruments, technologies, along with global delivery and support services. A supplier with these capabilities understands how the various components work together, can recommend the best tools for specific use cases, and can explain the advantages and disadvantages of one method or technology over another. A single-source provider is best qualified to establish a long-term consultative relationship, which in turn will help ensure you have the best supplies for your inspection needs.  

Instrument Versatility to Address a Wide Range of Applications

Considering the range and complexity of aviation inspection applications—crack detection in metals, coating and plate thickness measurements, delamination detection, skin lap joints, void detection in castings and turbine blades, corrosion, fiber density variations, and foreign material detection—nondestructive testing instruments should be versatile enough to address numerous applications and a supplier should be able to provide solutions to solve most or all inspection challenges. Ultimately, solutions should always match specific needs. As examples:

For on-site or in-field inspections: They should be conveniently portable, ergonomically designed to reduce fatigue and improve productivity.

For expanding or shifting operations: They should be easily configurable and scalable in order to handle a variety of probes and inspection applications.

For challenging materials: They should have the advanced capabilities to meet those inspection requirements, particularly those involving complex shapes and variable geometries.

Software and Advanced Algorithms for Real-Time Analyses

Many of the most significant advancements in aircraft manufacturing are tied to software—computer-aided design (CAD), simulation, and automation. Nondestructive testing is also a beneficiary, particularly in the domain of composite inspections, where new techniques and algorithms have been developed.

Shape variety and geometric complexity create a challenge for CFRP components. Inspection efficiency and accuracy for this type of application require dedicated probe configurations,  high-performance phased array ultrasound testing (PAUT) instruments, with software and proven algorithms designed to address unique CFRP inspection needs.

The Iterative Time Reversal technique improves ultrasonic coverage and detection for CFRP geometries. This real-time adaptive technique compensates for probe-to-component misalignment on complex geometries, allowing high-speed and accurate PAUT inspections to accommodate high manufacturing volumes.

Employing a two-step process, Iterative Time Reversal uses a “surface profiling” technique to characterize the surface of the material being inspected. When surface profiling is complete, a compensation delay is applied to individual elements of the probe to achieve a normal incidence of the beam on the surface.

The software manages surface profiling, calculation of the compensation delay, and acquisition of the UT data. It can also display real-time images of the data showing flaw characteristics of porosities, foreign bodies, and delaminations, as well as provide advanced data analysis and standardized reports in support of compliance requirements.

Software and algorithms can be one of the most significant differentiators among aviation and industrial NDT suppliers, and one of the most powerful tools to accelerate inspection speed without degrading accuracy.

Complement Aviation and Industrial NDT Supplies with Consulting and Engineering Services

In large-scale manufacturing environments inspection speed can be greatly improved with the aid of consulting and engineering services to develop customized solutions to meet unique inspection requirements. Consulting and engineering services may include:

  • Custom data acquisition systems, controls, and probes.
  • Design and integration of mechanized or automated scanning techniques.
  • Software modifications or customization.
  • On-site acceptance testing and training of technicians.

A supplier with years of industry experience will evaluate your specific needs, as well as constraints. Based on this evaluation and an understanding of current industry best practices, the supplier will collaborate to develop the most efficient solutions to address your needs.

Work With Aviation and Industrial NDT Suppliers Who Meet All Your Needs

The aviation industry is experiencing tremendous growth, to the point where manufacturers and their supply chains are challenged to keep up with demand. New designs, materials, and fabrication techniques have transformed manufacturing processes, improving efficiency and quality. Inspection processes cannot impede efficiency.

Manufacturers can ensure inspection processes are optimized by working with aviation and industrial NDT suppliers who are single-source providers of inspection technologies. Work with a supplier who meets all your needs, from a comprehensive offering of inspection probes, instruments, and leading-edge software, to the design and engineering of custom applications to meet your unique inspection requirements.

Zetecis a trusted name in nondestructive testing solutions and supplies for more than 50 years. Our standard and custom inspection solutions are designed to meet the wide range and complexity of aviation inspection needs in the factory or in the hangar. For efficient and accurate inspection processes using the latest technologies—contact Zetec today.