In August 2019, OnScale announced a partnership with Eclipse Scientific to network its software with BeamTool 9, an open development software for the design of phased array, time-of-flight diffraction (TOFD) and conventional ultrasonic inspection plans.

The user constructs an inspection scenario in BeamTool 9. Using the software to interface with OnScale, the user uploads the scenario problem and parameters to OnScale to perform simulations that model transducers and conduct wave propagation and defect interaction. The simulation results are then downloaded to BeamTool 9 and laid over the BeamTool build model for viewing.

Both OnScale and BeamTool 9 are available on-demand as a subscription, so no license is required to use these simulation tools.

Laser Systems for In-Process Evaluation

“When you are building a laminate, the time to work out structural defects is during lay-up,” says Dorworth. “What I’m looking for are NDE systems to inspect for process flaws in a factory. Laser systems can identify problems such as FOD or misaligned ply orientation that are critical.” This kind of NDE is often underutilized in the composites industry, he adds.

Aligned Vision is the maker of LASERVISION, a laser guidance technology combined with an aimed vision system for in-process NDE that draws comparative information directly from the part’s design data. According to Scott Blake, president of Aligned Vision, quantitative automatic in-process inspection may help composites manufacturers lessen the overdesign required to address manufacturing variation and uncertainty. Lessening overdesign may, in turn, reduce material usage, process time, part weight and cost.

First, LASERVISION’s laser projector delivers design data to the tool or work surface via laser templates rather than traditional templates. A template of light helps the worker to lay down precut material precisely by identifying edge locations and correct fiber orientation. Next, the aimed vision system (camera), which is connected to the laser projector, captures and automatically analyzes build data to optically check three parameters: the presence and location of each piece of material, the fiber orientation of the material and the absence of FOD.

“We’re guiding the assembly, we’re checking it against a digital template during the build process, and we’re directing the operator to any suspect areas,” says Blake. For example, if a fiber orientation is incorrect, the system sends the message “incorrect fiber orientation” and won’t proceed with the laser template for the next ply. “The result is less rework and scrap, enabling the manufacturer to make corrections at the earliest possible stage,” says Blake. “Customers have complete traceability through a database of data and imagery for the inspected areas.”