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Phased Array Testing

Phased array is an electronic method of generating, receiving and displaying an ultrasound signal.

It is a non-destructive testing (NDT) process that probes and scrutinizes to exacting tolerances using a conventional probe. The probing beam is swept like a search-light through the object being examined, and the data from multiple beams are put together to make a visual image showing a slice through the object.

Phased array does not change the physics of ultrasonics but can be accurately manipulated to provide precise data about the materials under test. For example, we have tested piping both under and above ground, tanks in chemical and marine environments, offshore energy and wind appliances and structures, ensuring all welds are precise, safe and 100% accurate.

The sophisticated technology of phased array allows multiple elements to steer, angle, multi-focus and scan beams using a single transducer assembly.

The principles of ultrasonic technology have been known for many years but it is only in the last fifty that this knowledge has been harnessed to great and diverse effect where surface and depth of any description needs to be tested and inspected.

Phased array testing is also extensively utilised in the food processing, medical, biological, agricultural and pharmaceutical sectors for the same purposes – the gathering of vital data essential for product performance, health & safety, research and development.

Why would you need Phased Array Testing?

Phased array testing carries huge advantages to previously used manual ultrasonic testing and radiography, these both being unable to meet the higher demands of advanced industries and services.

Benefits of Phased Array:

  • Highly effective when inspecting components with complex geometry
  • Multiple elements enable steering, scanning and focus within a single unit
  • Beam sweeps can be achieved without moving the probe; ideal for restricted environments
  • High-speed sector scanning with multiple angle sweeps increases anomaly detection
  • Electronic focusing is ultra-precise at multiple depths, reduces signal-to-noise ratio and improves the ability to size defects in volumetric inspections
  • Data is automatically recorded for off-line analysis and life-time benchmarking
  • Large surfaces areas can now be scanned using a rolling wheel device calibrated for consistent high resolution data
  • Newly fabricated welds can be given real-time feedback at the point of welding

The test unit is affixed or placed directly behind the welder or welding machine, giving real-time quality control feedback throughout the process. Similarly in service welds, phased array will accurately monitor for the presence of defects caused by stop / start cycles whilst mapping corrosion pitting and flaw detection.

Our Inspection Service

All ITCL technicians are qualified and highly trained in all aspects of phased array testing and this process is now a favoured and recommended approach to meet the rigorous demands of all testing required in your business.

Our inspection instruments produce accurate, high speed, detailed cross-sectional images of internal structures. When you require precision and reliability in all aspects of NDT then this process should be your first choice for peace of mind.

Learn more about the benefits and examples of Phased Array here, read or download.

Alternatively contact a member of the ITCL team on 0151 356 7118 for more information.

 

Benefits of Phased Array

Phased array testing carries huge advantages to previously used manual ultrasonic testing and radiography, both of which are limited in scope; incapable of meeting the higher demands of advanced industries and services.

Radiography

  • Is a dated technology
  • Requires licensing & has safety issues
  • Can disrupt work areas
  • Involves chemical waste
  • Inspections are slower and open to subjective interpretation
  • Cannot size in vertical planes
  • Poor at detecting planar defects

Manual Ultrasonics:

  • Has more reliable performance than radiography but is subject to operator error
  • Inspections remain slow and open to subjective interpretation
  • Leaves no permanent record
  • Has limited threshold levels
  • Maneuverability problems in restricted environments
  • Test equipment is bulky

Phased array testing is at the cutting edge of high performance with clear, unequivocal benefits:

  • Highly effective when inspecting components with complex geometry
  • Multiple elements enable steering, scanning and focus within a single unit
  • Beam sweeps can be achieved without moving the probe; ideal for restricted environments
  • High-speed sector scanning with multiple angle sweeps increases anomaly detection
  • Electronic focusing is ultra-precise at multiple depths, reduces signal-to-noise ratio and improves the ability to size defects in volumetric inspections
  • Data is automatically recorded for off-line analysis and life-time benchmarking
  • Large surfaces areas can now be scanned using a rolling wheel device calibrated for consistent high resolution data
  • Newly fabricated welds can be given real-time feedback at the point of welding

The test unit is affixed or placed directly behind the welder or welding machine, giving real-time quality control feedback throughout the process. Similarly in service welds, phased array will accurately monitor for the presence of defects caused by stop / start cycles whilst mapping corrosion pitting and flaw detection.

The Phased Array unit:

A phased array system needs a sophisticated computer-based instrument that is capable of driving the multi-element probes, receiving and digitising the returning echoes, and plotting that echo information in various standard formats. Unlike conventional flaw detectors, the phased array system can sweep a sound beam through a range of refracted angles or along a linear path, or dynamically focus at a number of different depths, thus increasing both flexibility and capability in inspection setups.

The Phased Array probe:

The phased array probe consists of many small ultrasonic transducers, each of which can be pulsed independently. By varying the timing, for instance by pulsing the elements one by one in sequence along a row, a pattern of constructive interference is set up that results in a beam at a set angle, steering the beam electronically. The beam is swept like a search-light through the object being examined, and the data from multiple beams are put together to make a visual image showing a slice through the object.

When is Phased Array used?

Ultrasonic phased array systems can potentially be employed in almost any test where conventional ultrasonic flaw detectors have traditionally been used.

Weld inspection and crack detection are the most important applications, and these tests are done across a wide range of industries including aerospace, power generation, petrochemical, pipeline construction and maintenance, structural metals, and general manufacturing. Phased arrays can also be effectively used to profile remaining wall thickness in corrosion survey applications.

Our Inspection Equipment

Here at ITCL we are always looking for new inspection technology to assist us in providing the very best service. We currently use the following equipment and manufactures for phased array equipment:

Phased Array units: Olympus Omniscans

Scanners: Olympus Flex scanners & Phoenix Small bore scanners

Probes & Wedges: Olympus, Doppler & Phoenix.

Bespoke Phased Array Services

Project development:

Due to ITCL’s years of experience working with phased array we offer a project development service. Together we will work with your quality manager to work through the challenges of your project.

Once the solution has been identified our level three technicians will compile a procedure, providing technique sheets to enable the inspection to be carried out.

Phased Array Level III Consultancy Services:

Our level three technicians can provide a full range of consultancy services including NDT Technique approval, writing and approval of NDT Procedures.

In Summary

Phased array will test, inspect, measure, detect, report and record levels of accuracy and detail: on test beds, in workshops, accessible or hard-to-reach locations, at speed and with objectivity.

ITCL provides a comprehensive in-house or on-site service 24/7 deploying skilled NDT technicians.

Contact a member of the ITCL team on 0151 356 7118 for more information.

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Phased Array Testing

Phased Array Testing

For information on any of our services please contact us on +44 151 356 7118