Non destructive testing
Simpler and more reliable quality control
Non-destructive testing (NDT) plays a key role in checking the quality of subassemblies or components at every phase in their lifecycle – not just during manufacture, but also in service and during maintenance. NDT encompasses different techniques, including visual inspection, dye penetrant inspection, radiography, ultrasonic testing, thermography, etc. A qualified operator is needed to analyze test results and decide if the part is compliant, according to very strict standards. Today, these operations can be simplified and made more reliable, thanks to digital technologies (sensors and image processing) and their automated deployment on the production line.
100% of parts made by Safran undergo NDT
Innovation in action at Safran
For example, Safran has developed three especially innovative non-destructive testing processes:
- X-ray computed tomography coupled with 3D imaging, already in use at the plants in Commercy (eastern France) and Rochester, New Hampshire (United States) to check the fan blades for the LEAP engine. Using tracers integrated in the composite material, a 3D image of the part is built up, recalibrated in relation to a reference model, then analyzed using diagnostic-aid algorithms;
- Digital radiography in production, deployed by Safran Aircraft Engines at the Gennevilliers and Evry-Corbeil plants near Paris to check LEAP engine parts (turbine blades, intermediate frame sleeve) and several turboshaft engines made by Safran Helicopter Engines to check several turboshaft engines parks. This process, which replaces the previous method based on the use of traditional film stock, couples X-ray inspection with image processing algorithms;
- Infrared thermography on the composite inner panels in the A320’s nacelles. A robotic system acquires data which is then analyzed by an operator using visualization software. The areas requiring additional checks are projected directly on the part in question, using an augmented reality system. This method replaces the previous technique based on ultrasound and water jets, which was long and complex.
Developed for the nacelles on the LEAP-1A and Trent 7000 engines powering the A320neo and A330neo jetliners, infrared thermography, coupled with augmented reality software – a world first – should help keep pace with the strong ramp-up in production planned in the coming years. The time needed for inspection is cut in half.
© Adrien Daste / Safran
© Adrien Daste / Safran
© Ray Smith / CAPA Pictures / Safran