Immersion tank scanner for ultrasonic inspection of high performance components
PLANSEE GmbH was founded in 1921 in Austria for production of refractory metals and other special materials. Today the production of "High performance materials", both the raw material and finished components, are the primary fields of activity for PLANSEE, which is represented worldwide.
PLANSEE have been involved in the international ITER project, where an atomic fusion reactor is being developed. PLANSEE have contracts for delivery of a great number of different components for the ITER project, and to inspect these components an immersion tank system has been delivered by FORCE Technology.
The immersion tank has a volume of 2400 liters. It is equipped with a 5 axes scanner, a turntable and the de-livery also includes two special pipe scanners. The ultrasonic data acquisition and control of the immersion tank is made by P-scan System 4, using a PSP-4+ processing unit.The components to be inspected by the system are produced from a number of special alloys made from e.g. copper, chromium and tungsten. Carbon fibre composites may also be used. The different components are fused together using a number of different techniques. After this, the fusion bonds need to be examined with ultrasound.
The components have a great variation in size and shape and many of the components have embedded, curved pipes. In order to inspect all of these components, it is necessary that the immersion tank has a great flexibility combined with many different modes of operation.
The five axes scanning arm is used to scan most of the objects. It can position the ultrasonic probe in the X, Y, and Z direction combined with probe tilt and skew. It is possible to program the scanner to follow the shape of the object, either using information from a CAD-file or by measuring the shape of the object using a laser distance sensor.
The system is designed to be able to scan multiple objects, placed on the tank bottom, without user intervention. In order to facilitate the placement of the components, the tank bottom can be lifted. A turntable has been installed on the tank bottom. It can be used together with the scanning arm to scan rotary symmetric objects.For scanning of the embedded pipes two special scanners have been developed. They are designed to scan pipes down to 9 mm diameter from the inside. The "rigid lance" scanner is used for straight pipes with a maximum length of 150 mm. The "flexible lance" scanner is designed for curved pipes up to 2400 mm with a minimum radius of curvature of 50 mm.