Industrial robotic arms integrated with server computers, sensors and actuators have revolutionized the way automated non-destructive testing is performed in the aeronautical sector. Currently, there are commercial, industrial robots that have the precision, speed and repetitiveness in their movements that make them suitable for use in numerous non-destructive testing inspections. Automatic ultrasonic inspection of complex geometry parts remains one of the most difficult challenges in the market. The closed configuration, i.e., restricted access to internal motion parameters, of these robotic arms makes it difficult for an adequate synchronism between the movement of the robot and the acquisition of the data. This is a serious problem in the inspection of aerospace components, where high-quality images are necessary to assess the condition of the inspected component. In this paper, we applied a methodology recently patented for the generation of high-quality ultrasonic images of complex geometry pieces using industrial robots. The methodology is based on the calculation of a synchronism map after a calibration experiment and to introduce this corrected map in an autonomous, independent external system developed by the authors to obtain precise ultrasonic images. Therefore, it has been shown that it is possible to establish the synchronization of any industrial robot with any ultrasonic imaging generation system to generate high-quality ultrasonic images.
The authors want to acknowledge Tecnitest Ingenieros SL Company for helping to test the methodology proposed in this article in their facilities.