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METHOD FOR AUTOMATED SCAN PLAN GENERATION OF IMMERSION ULTRASOUND INSPECTION OF AIRCRAFT ENGINE PARTS

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000198055D
Publication Date: 2010-Jul-23
Document File: 4 page(s) / 41K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

The present invention relates to methods for ultrasonic inspection of aircraft engine parts. More particularly, this invention relates to an automated method for developing scan plans for ultrasonic inspection of aircraft engine parts immersed in an acoustic coupling medium. The method takes into account inspection specifications, part drawings and inspection parameters to determine an optimized scan plan for an aircraft engine part.

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METHOD FOR AUTOMATED SCAN PLAN GENERATION OF IMMERSION ULTRASOUND INSPECTION OF AIRCRAFT ENGINE PARTS

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates generally to methods for ultrasonic inspection of aircraft engine parts, and more particularly to an automated method for developing scan plans for ultrasonic inspection of aircraft engine parts immersed in an acoustic coupling medium.

Ultrasonic inspection is a commonly used technique to inspect various manufactured parts for defects. In particular, ultrasonic inspection is a primary method of identifying processing and melt-related defects in rotating components used in aircraft engines. In the manufacture of such rotating component parts, a billet of the raw material, such as titanium, used to manufacture the part is formed from a cropped cylindrical ingot. The billets are cut into a series of pieces, and each piece is forged into a sonic shape forging that approximates the desired shape of the part. The forgings are subsequently machined to form the finished part.

It is common to ultrasonically inspect the sonic shape forging for defects prior to the final machining process. To conduct an inspection, the forging is ordinarily immersed in water or another fluid and rotated about its center axis, and the surfaces of the forging are scanned with one or more ultrasonic transducers. The transducers emit pulses of ultrasonic energy that impinge on the forging and receive ultrasound waves reflected from the forging. The reflected waves are electronically processed into signals that can be displayed as a two-dimensional image, from which representations of defects and flaws can be identified.

In industrial practice, ultrasonic immersion inspection requires that a scan plan be made for each aircraft engine part. Based on the size, shape and geometry of each part, scan plans are developed that are designed to ensure complete inspection of the engine parts for defects. To ensure the accuracy of the scan plan, it is conventional for certified agents to be required to provide their approval of the scan plan before it can be employed in the inspection process. There are several disadvantages associated with the conventional method. For one, multiple scans are performed for each part, and oftentimes, more than one scan plan is developed for the same part. The need for multiple scans is known to result in loss of time and labor, as well as increased costs. Additionally, there are many complex rules that must be followed when developing a scan plan. When considered in conjunction with the fact that engine parts often have complex shapes and geometries, there are risks that human error will affect scan plan quality when employing conventional methods of scan plan development.

Each disadvantage associated with conventional methods for scan plan development can be reduced or eliminated by an automated method. As a result, there exists a need for an automated meth...