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The Best Equipment for Nondestructive Testing of Composite Materials

For inspections of composite materials, NDT scanning devices and instrumentation with phased array ultrasonic testing (PAUT) capabilities can provide the most accurate readings in the least amount of time.

The nondestructive testing of composite materials can be a complex process. And yet, it’s vitally important that inspection data is as thorough and accurate as possible in order to detect potentially dangerous flaws well before they become critical problems.

Equipping NDT analysts with the best possible inspection equipment can help them capture and analyze the highest quality data as efficiently as possible. For inspections of composite materials, NDT scanning devices and instrumentation with phased array ultrasonic testing (PAUT) capabilities can provide the most accurate readings in the least amount of time.

Choosing an NDT Scanner for Composite Material Inspections

When seeking out NDT supplies for analysts, choose portable devices to save both time and money. In many cases, a paintbrush scanner will be the best choice for inspecting composite materials. Paintbrush scanners have two special wheels that track the live scanning position as the analyst moves the brush. Handheld models allow technicians to scan the appropriate radius seamlessly while pinpointing underlying areas of contention.

An NDT paintbrush can cover flat or curved surfaces with ease, conforming to unconventional textures as well. Technicians can detect delamination and porosity in the same scan. For non-metallic surfaces, the user can detach the wheels and use composite-dedicated wheels instead. A paintbrush scanner’s dynamic qualities apply to many types of carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) surfaces.

Unlike other NDT methods, an NDT scanner does not require multiple personnel or specific weather conditions to work successfully. However, for a truly comprehensive inspection, a good scanner does require support from the right form of NDT instrumentation.

Pairing a Scanner with Cutting-Edge UT Instrumentation

For the best results, ultrasonic testing instrumentation should have robust processing power and tailor to the capabilities of the NDT scanner for specific applications. The instrument should be PAUT capable and provide a full-scale image of any damage or corrosion in real time. Technicians must know the best instrumentation for certain NDT projects, especially for large-scale testing schemes that require specialized attention.

When choosing instrumentation, look for portable instruments that are:

  • Light enough to carry easily
  • Tough enough to withstand harsh environmental conditions
  • Encased in an external housing that will fully protect internal components from debris or damaging particles
  • Fully integrated from preparation to reporting, actually helping to reduce the amount of equipment needed

Additionally, the best instrumentation will be equipped with the following features:

  • Fast imaging using online S-scan and C-scan
  • Embedded software with on-board setup and advanced analysis features
  • Multi-touch screen for full user control
  • Multiple configurations available for meeting specific inspection needs

The raw processing acumen of high-quality instrumentation will result in a reduction in paperwork and less confusion. As complex as the data might be, the interface and menu should match the simplicity of any consumer-based tablet on the market. In addition to online processing, users should be able to analyze and process the data offline instantly. The greater the organizational aptitude, the easier it will be for analysts to spot potentially dangerous flaws as soon as possible.

Likewise, the versatility of such instrumentation saves users the trouble of procuring additional tools and equipment to complete a single job. Combined with a paintbrush scanner, high-quality instrumentation will find hard-to-spot deficiencies that could cause safety hazards—faster and more accurately than any alternative method.

Improving Nondestructive Testing of Composite Materials

When looking for the best equipment for the nondestructive testing of composite materials, pair a handheld UT device with instrumentation that allows for PAUT techniques to improve your results for consistent, reliable readings you can trust. High-quality PAUT equipment will save companies money in the long-term by allowing analysts to accurately pinpoint potentially serious flaws long before they reach a critical point. PAUT is ideal across many industries, particularly for aerospace, manufacturing, and oil and gas. Heavy industries, in particular, need the best NDT equipment to test assets that are exposed to exorbitant stress and unyielding environmental conditions.

Looking for PAUT capable equipment with powerful processing and reliable results? Zetec provides some of the best UT and eddy current NDT tools and software on the market. To learn more about how Zetec can help improve your company’s composite materials inspection processes, contact us today.