Imperium, Boeing cooperate on wireless remote inspection

Remotely located inspection experts will be able to view ultrasound inspection results real-time via wireless or satellite transmission.

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Imperium Inc. (Silver Spring, Md.), developer of the Acoustocam portable ultrasound imaging camera system, announced on March 18 the availability of a method that will allow maintenance experts to remotely inspect and review composite structures located at another facility in real-time.

The project, which has been developed in collaboration with The Boeing Co. (Seattle, Wash.), will allow maintenance personnel to use Imperium's Acoustocam to quickly survey damage without having to bring in harder to set up, conventional ultrasound equipment — all from remote locations.

The Acoustocam is a handheld device that may be used as part of quick survey of suspected damage areas.  The device shows subsurface defects that cannot be seen visually. The user simply places a probe against the aircraft structure and with proper equipment setup, subsurface defects appear on a handheld monitor in real time. The advantage of the remote operator interface is that the expert NDE operator may be remotely situated

"We believe remote expert monitoring can benefit the inspection process in countless ways for manufacturers of composite structures," said Bob Lasser, president of Imperium. "We plan to roll out the program nationwide in 2009."

Customers can purchase a satellite package to use the Acoustocam monitoring technology, if wireless capability is not available in their geographic location.