NDI data analysis, mapping

Etegent Technologies Ltd. has developed software that reads data results from NDI analysis of a composite part or structure, and then maps the resulting information (evidence of delamination, porosity, etc.) back to a graphical 3-D CAD model of the structure for assessment by engineers and technicians.

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A company with experience developing software that helps analysts find meaningful patterns in government intelligence data is bringing that skill to assessment of data from non-destructive inspection (NDI) of composite aerospace structures. Etegent Technologies Ltd. (Cincinnati, Ohio) has spent the past four years working with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy, and more recently Spirit AeroSystems (Wichita, Kan.), to develop software that reads data results from NDI analysis of a composite part or structure, and then maps the resulting information (evidence of delamination, porosity, etc.) back to a graphical 3-D CAD model of the structure for assessment by engineers and technicians. Further, the data can be archived for future reference to monitor known flaws, or to determine if a flaw occurred during manufacture or in service.

Tom Sharp, one of the principals of Etegent (Latin for “find that which is hidden”), says the Air Force and Navy effort has focused on use of the NDI software during maintenance of composite parts to detect trends that can help them optimize their maintenance processes. Etegent also placed its software at Spirit AeroSystem’s Wichita facility, where it analyzes NDI data generated following manufacture of a composite fuselage section. Spirit conducts over 300 scans per fuselage section, which the Etegent software reads and maps in about two hours, Sharp says. One or two scans can be mapped in just a few minutes.

Sharp says that the user identifies for the software where NDI data are stored, then the software automatically and periodically checks the location for new data, generating CAD maps when new data is found. The software is currently written to receive ultrasound C-scan data and digital images, but can be modified to accommodate other NDI data types, says Sharp. Other aero programs Etegent is targeting for its software include the Airbus A350, Boeing 787 structures and the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. www.etegent.com

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