UltraVision NDT Software Brings Inspection Results to Life
By Federico Zottig, Zetec Product Manager - Ultrasound Technology
Today’s advanced phased array ultrasonic instruments and software give NDT technicians the computing power to transform traditional 2D inspection data into full-color 3D visualizations. These renderings are so clear and detailed that even clients without a deep understanding of UT scans can easily recognize flaws on the screen.
How does a 2D ultrasound image become a 3D work environment?
Essentially, the process involves merging data from 2D scans taken from different positions and angles and overlaying it onto a CAD file or 3D rendering of the weld or specimen that’s under test. Ray tracing and beam simulations can then help you determine your detection capability and inspection coverage.
Fortunately, Zetec’s UltraVision software handles this processing almost automatically.
3D Component Generation
UltraVision includes a large database of basic renderings of common shapes, components, joints, and welds, including connecting pipes, cruciform joints, T joints, and L joints.
For complex or custom geometries, you can import *.SAT files (a file type supported by all CAD software) or create your own customized specimen using UltraVision’s manual surface profile tool.
3D Ray Tracing, Beam Simulation, and Verification of Inspection Coverage
The next step is to design the right inspection plan (Scan plan) to establish and verify the inspection coverage using ray tracing and beam simulation.
UltraVision’s ray tracing tool computes and displays 3D ultrasound rays propagating in the specimen. These simulated ray paths can undergo reflection and transmission, including mode conversions and interacting with postulated defects in simple or complex geometries as it happens in real samples. Based on the results, UltraVision can then automatically calculate the optimum acoustical path for reflection.
The ray tracing feature works in concert with beam simulation. Beam simulation allows you to compute, visualize, and characterize the energy distribution in the acoustic beam generated by any given probe, including single element (conventional UT), 1D linear array, and 2D matrix arrays.
UltraVision’s scanner simulation tool then emulates the scanner motion on the component and helps to establish the inspection coverage. You can set up multiple types of scanners depending on the component—table scanners, pipe scanners, polar scanners, and so on—and simulate probes in direct contact or spring loaded.
The software’s advanced focal law calculator generates the phased array beams for 1D and 2D array probes including flexible array probes and also TOFD (time of flight diffraction) configurations.
Advanced Data Analysis
Once you’ve created a 3D model that can be manipulated to show multiple perspectives of a component, the acquired data then needs to be accurately plotted at the right location in the specimen.
UltraVision’s volumetric merge tool combines the maximum response of each acoustic beam for any given position in the specimen. The 3D data visualization feature lets you visualize signals and indications from any source at any position where the acquisition was done.
UltraVision’s assisted analysis tool takes the analysis a step further and provides automatic detection of indications based on criteria you define, such as signal-to-noise ratios and minimum indication size.
Thickness/corrosion data acquired with a 2D scanner such as Zetec’s NDT PaintBrush or NDT Sweeper can also be plotted and rendered to provide visual feedback of part conditions. For cylindrical or disk-type components, you can use a polar coordinate system with views that can be oriented to the side-view of the attached ray to show the incident plane. The polar cutting planes allow for slicing through the data in R-Theta and Z directions.
In oil and gas, aerospace, industrial, and other mission-critical applications, the results of UT inspections can have a big impact on decisions about safety, uptime, and code compliance. Having a clean, easy-to-interpret picture on the screen, in the moment, lets inspectors and clients alike clearly see the condition of their assets.
UltraVision can help you design and simulate an efficient, effective UT inspection in a 3D work environment—and communicate results with visuals that speak for themselves.