Trends in the development of systems for automated ultrasonic inspections
Tendenzen in der Entwicklung von automatisierten Ultraschall-Prüfsystemen
The ultrasonic inspection of primary circuit components represents an important part of the inservice inspection programme that is performed to guarantee nuclear power plant integrity. According to the state of the art ultrasonic inspections are carried out with automated systems in order to achieve a high reliability and a complete documentation of the inspection. Most of the presently used ultrasonic systems are already at a high quality level. However there is still a vived demand to increase the performance of UT systems considering reliability of the inspection, safety of the service personnel and economic aspects. The means to fulfil these requirements may be characterized by the following keywords:flexible data acquisition; quantitative evaluation; on-line data control; system self-check; compact and modular design; user friendly men/machine interface; easy maintenance. As a result of the quick progress in the development of more powerful highly integrated electronic circuits li ke gate arrays and digital signal processors, and because of the high performance of modern computers, the prerequisites are provided to build ultrasonic inspection systems with the required features. The integration of tools like CAD, data bases, numerical modeling techniques, and methods of artificial intelligence can provide an essential contribution to increase the reliability during all phases of an inspection, which results in a more quantitative NDE. The article explains the conception of a data acquisition and evaluation system for the automated ultrasonic inspection, that takes into account the mentioned aspects. The heart ot the system are densely packed electronic modules theat are parts of the Automated Modular Ultrasonic Inspection System (AMUS); the AMUS-technology allows a fast adaption of the system performance to the special needs of the customer at a moderate price.