Industrial Inspection

Ultrasonic NDT imaging offers a powerful tool for identifying defects and increasing yield and quality in applications that depend on reliable, void-free bonding of materials.

For example, industrial customers are using our ECHO™ scanning acoustic microscope to inspect for proper bonding of electrical contacts and abrasive materials.

Ultrasonic Electrical Inspection

Ultrasonic Image of Brazed Contact Tip
White areas indicate voids in this ultrasonic image of a brazed contact tip

Switching contacts – such as used in relays, contactors and switchgear – depend on brazed and welded joints between the contact tip (typically silver alloy, although other materials are also used) and the carrier (typically copper). Often, voids are included in these joints due to incomplete wetting, abnormal welding parameters or other process variables.

When individual voids exceed a defined size, or when the total area of voids exceeds a defined percentage, increased electrical resistance can lead to poor performance, overheating and early failure due to contact welding or erosion.

Visual inspection can’t reveal voids inside the joint, and destructive methods such as de-brazing or shear testing can’t identify actual production defects. Other nondestructive technologies such as IR and X-ray are slow, expensive, and do not efficiently penetrate metal to reveal underlying voids. Ultrasonic imaging is the only nondestructive testing technique that clearly exposes defects in electrical contacts – while offering the throughput to enable 100 percent inspection on your production line.

Contact us to learn more and get a free sample analysis of your electrical contacts.

Industrial Applications of Ultrasonics

Bonded abrasives are used in a wide variety of industrial processes. Ultrasonic imaging techniques help assure quality in applications where premature abrasive failure can cut into productivity and profitability.

For example, one of the application areas for abrasives is drill bits in the oil and gas industry – typically made of polycrystalline diamond (PCD) bonded to a tungsten carbide substrate. Replacing a worn-out drill bit requires tripping the drill string – that is, pulling out the drill pipe while disassembling it section-by-section, replacing the drill bit, and then reassembling the string while running it back down the hole. Although this is a routine operation, tripping pipe is expensive and time-consuming. Drillers want to avoid downhole failures that require unanticipated trips.

The best way to do that is to ensure that drill bits are defect-free before sending them down the hole. Ultrasonic imaging provides a clear view into the interface between the abrasive material and substrate – revealing tiny voids and defects that can lead to big problems later on. Ultrasonic Industrial NDT imaging can be performed at production speeds – so you can test every part, not just samples.

Contact Us

Contact us to learn more and get a free sample analysis of your drill bit or other abrasive application.

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