One of our UK aerospace customers has had the unfortunate experience of having their entire production factory destroyed by fire. This included two USL 6 axis immersion systems, the first supplied in 1998 and the second ten years later. Naturally they needed to get back into production as soon as possible, so we were tasked to manufacture two new systems from scratch in around 16 weeks. Given that the normal leadtime for systems like this is 40 weeks this was very demanding, but we are pleased to report that we have succeeded.
The application is pulse echo inspection of complex composite blades using a 6 axis manipulator, which is programmed to follow the blade contour. The technique requires full waveform acquisition with B scan imaging to identify potential defects. With today's technology this can be considered routine, but when it was first applied in 1998 it presented technical challenges.