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Augmented non-destructive testing for greater reliability

Manual non-destructive testing (NDT) is widely used in industry, and relies heavily on procedures and on the operator's skill level. Real-time monitoring and augmented reality tools were recently developed to assist operators with their NDT tasks.

Published on 6 August 2019

​Making the manual quality control of industrial parts more reliable is a challenge. Using NDT to manually verify the health of a part is complicated for operators, who must use a probe to scan the surface of the part in order to detect the defect typologies that correlate with health. To make this kind of NDT easier for operators, List, a CEA Tech institute, developed a system to track the ultrasonic probe’s position and display context-enhanced information in augmented reality.

Investigations conducted under the FOEHN* project backed by France’s National Research Agency led to the development of an infrared optical system to track the ultrasonic sensor’s position during manual NDT. The system can be installed and configured quickly, and indicates the probe’s position to within less than a millimeter. Special software that guides the operator’s movements was also developed: Augmented reality powers a real-time display of the area covered by the operator so that the operator can immediately adjust his or her movements to align with the established procedure.

Until now, the quality of this type of NDT depended mainly on the operator’s skill level. This advance makes it possible to verify the quality of testing after it is completed. And operators benefit from cognitive assistance so that they can focus their attention on the signals acquired and complete tricky testing, such as on areas of parts that are difficult to access.

Beyond the innovative nature of this new manual-NDT monitoring technology, it will also help evaluate NDT performance, incorporate human factors into simulation tools, and determine the impact of human factors on NDT. 

*The FOEHN project, financed by the French National Research Agency (ANR), addresses organizational and human factors in the evaluation of NDT methods. The purpose of the project is to develop methodological tools to render the evaluation of NDT methods more accurate by taking into account all influences, including organizational and human factors. Learn more at: 

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