Original Date: 05/08/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Automated Ultrasonic Scanning System
The Automated Ultrasonic Scanning System (AUSS) V is a computer-controlled ultrasonic scanning system designed to meet industry inspection demands for highly curved, composite and metallic parts, and assemblies. The system, developed by McDonnell Douglas Aerospace’s (MDA’s) Instrumentation and Design Group, has helped reduce inspection time, tooling costs, one-to-one flaw sizing, and improved data representation.
Nine axes of motion enable the unit to accurately follow complex curvature without part repositioning. Through transmission and pulse echo, data can be collected simultaneously during scanning of curved subassemblies due to accurate curve following. The system uses digital data imaging. Parts currently requiring multisegment scanning (up to 40 segments) can be completed in a single scan with the AUSS V. Typical parts and assemblies benefitted by this system include control surfaces, wing skins, and fuselage panels. The system inspects for defects such as delaminations, porosity, disbonding, voids, ply displacement, foreign material, and core defects.
Additional features of the AUSS V include conversion of three-dimensional to two-dimensional data which provides accurate location of anomalies in actual surface distance measurements. XYZ space part description allows complex scan paths to be calculated without machine axis dependence, resulting in fast, efficient scanning of complex surfaces. The AUSS V also includes a manual teaching capability, CAD/CAM part configuration interface, imaging in eight to 256 colors or gray shades, optical disk data storage, and vector and alphanumeric overlay annotations that can be electronically stored or in hard copy.
The AUSS V supports critical inspection needs such as providing reliable and repeatable inspections on critical structures, storing inspection data digitally for future reference, providing throughput needs to make inspection costs effective, and providing a means to inspect parts which could not be inspected manually due to their configuration.
MDA-St. Louis is continually improving the AUSS V. The next generation will be used to expedite the inspection cycle of the most demanding assemblies as parts become larger and more complex. New visualization software is being developed which will allow for a common database and improved access, promoting remote consultation on a PC-based system. MDA-St. Louis is currently marketing the AUSS V and has sold systems to other major aerospace companies.
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