Ipsen expanded its field-service capabilities to include ultrasonic wall-thickness testing for vacuum furnaces. The test helps customers verify the integrity of their chamber and determine its remaining lifespan. Vacuum chamber wall-thickness testing is a service provided using an ultrasonic inspection instrument. This nondestructive method requires only the removal of a small amount of paint at each desired test point. Ipsen’s service team works with the engineering department to determine the appropriate thickness for each chamber wall and whether it passes or fails to meet the ASME Pressure Vessel Code. When the test concludes, customers receive a detailed report charting the thickness of the chamber wall across a wide range of areas, as well as maintenance and repair recommendations.
In 2018, after a fractured fan blade led to the failure of a CFM56-7B engine on a Southwest Airlines 737, resulting in the death of a passenger, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration directed a one-time ultrasonic inspection of all 24 fan blades on engines with more than 30,000 flight cycles.
A similar incident two years prior prompted the engine’s manufacturer, CFM International, to recommend inspections of fan blades on CFM56-7B engines with 20,000 cycles. All told, the FAA and CFM bulletins covered approximately 3,160 engines, or 76,320 separate fan blades.
Element Materials Technology (Element) acquired Cleveland, Ohio-based Orbit Industries Inc. (Orbit), a Nadcap- and ISO 17025-accredited laboratory and provider of nondestructive testing (NDT) services to aerospace primes and Tier 1 suppliers. With over 30 prime approvals, Orbit specializes in ultrasonic, liquid penetrant, magnetic particle and chemical processing for raw materials and semi-finished and finished products, including landing-gear components, airfoils and aluminum wheels. Orbit also operates out of four other satellite inspection facilities across Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.
Composite components are used extensively in the design of new-generation aircraft. During manufacturing, the aircraft's structural components must be inspected with ultrasonic technology to ensure their integrity. However, this inspection can be challenging.