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TIME OF FLIGHT DIFFRACTION (TOFD)


CONTENTS
1. Chapter 1 TOFD Introduction & History
2. Chapter 2 TOFD Vs Other methods
3. Chapter 3 Physics Tip Diffraction
4. Chapter 4 Fundamentals of TOFD
5. Chapter 5 Equipment Setup & Parameters Selection
6. Chapter 6 - Errors in TOFD
7. Chapter 7 Digitization Principles
8. Chapter 8 Data Analysis & Sizing
9. Chapter 9 Codes & Standards - TOFD
10.Chapter 10 Applications of TOFD

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TIME OF FLIGHT DIFFRACTION

CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION TO
TOFD

INTRODUCTION
Time of Diffraction is an Ultrasonic Testing technique which relies on the detection of
diffraction signals which are generated from the edges and corners of a flaw.

HISTORY
TOFD was invented in the UK in the 1970s initially
as a research tool in the 1970s by Maurice Silk.
The use of TOFD enabled crack sizes to be
measured more accurately, so that expensive
components could be kept in operation as long as
possible with minimal risk of failure.
TOFD gained wider acceptance in the 1980s and 1990s.
Development of quality control codes related to ToFD in the late 1990s and 2000s.

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ENGINEERING CRITICAL ASSESSMENT

Engineering structures were assessed and observed to fail catastrophically


by rapid brittle fracture, if they contain planar propagating defects (like
cracks) above a certain critical size for the load applied.

CRITICAL FLAW SIZE

Accurate measurement of the flaw size is of great importance in ensuring


the structural integrity of many engineering structures.

Time of Flight Diffraction (ToFD) has a good accuracy for measuring the
through - wall size of crack like defects.

The accuracy in general is 1mm and it can achieve 0.3mm when the
defects are monitored.

TOFD BEHAVIOUR

TOFD also offers a good probability of detection (PoD) of defects, including


badly oriented defects.

TOFD coverage can be around 90% of the through wall thickness.

Normally up to 10% coverage loss is observed due to the two dead zones
(OD surface and ID surface), but the actual percentage depends on the
TOFD setup parameter selection.

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ToFD SUPPLEMENT
Two dead zones are located near the lateral wave and the back wall
reflection.
To get full coverage ToFD should be combined with pulse echo (PE)
technique.
Conveniently, ToFD and PE are complimentary, the strong features of ToFD
are the weak points of PE and vice versa.
THE PROBLEMS WITH THE PULSE ECHO TECHNIQUE
Pulse echo (PE) techniques are based on the reflected echoes coming from
planar reflectors which are suitably angled to give a specular reflection
back to the transducer.
Clearly it must be quite rare for defects to be exactly normal to the beam
as would be required for a perfectly smooth large specular reflector. Flaws
which are not favorably oriented are found to be less significant or
sometimes may be not found .

TYPICAL TOFD EQUIPMENT

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The advantages of TOFD


TOFD defect detection does not depend on the defect orientation, in
contrast to the pulse echo technique.
Defect height can be exactly determined, thus most suitable for
monitoring growth or changes in known defects.
The inspection results are immediately available, as is a permanent
record.
Because of the high-test speed the costs are less than those for
radiography for wall thickness above 25 mm.
High probability of defect detection.
Most efficient for inspection of thick-walled vessels where X & Gamma
ray would require too much time.
TOFD method can be used to observe and report microscopic
degradation caused by fatigue, stress and chemical attack.
The entire volume can be inspected using a single pass along the
length of the weld.

The disadvantages of TOFD


Sensitivity level: If the instrument sensitivity (gain) is set on very low level, the
TOFD image would display no diffracted echo. If the instrument sensitivity is
set just above electronic noise level, the TOFD image will display a lot of
diffracted echoes which are caused by very small in homogeneities of the weld
seam and does not mean that the weld is really bad.
Crack size determination: In practice, diffracted echoes at crack tips are not so
clear as they are displayed. Crack tip echoes are part of a noise area caused by
other relevant diffracted echoes of inhomogeneity. That can make sizing with
the TOFD technique difficult.
Detection of small cracks at backside: This is one of the main disadvantages of
TOFD. In that case traditional UT techniques with angle beam probes are used.
Crack edges must be sharp, and they are not always.
There is a dead zone for defect detection under the surface. It means, defects
close to the surface could not be detected. This may be compensated by MPT
(Magnetic Particle Test).

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TOFD Summary
It is fast, efficient. 'sees' everything and records all raw data for presentation
in a proportionate and representative fashion.
TOFD is an ideal detection tool which provides an accurate and invaluable
'fingerprint' of condition as a quality control function at the time of
construction.

Good for defect detection especially mid-wall type defects (Planar).


It is the best defect sizing technique available with proper application.
To be used in conjunction with pulse-echo for complete volumetric
weld examination and to meet code requirements with high PoD.

DISCUSSION

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TIME OF FLIGHT DIFFRACTION

CHAPTER 2
TOFD Vs OTHER NDT
METHODS

UT Vs ToFD

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RT Vs ToFD

Probability of Detection for NDT Methods

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DISCUSSIONS

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TIME OF FLIGHT DIFFRACTION

CHAPTER 3
PHYSICS - TIP
DIFFRACTION

1. 0 Diffraction
Diffraction of waves is a phenomenon in which waves spread out at the edges
when they pass through an aperture or round a small obstacle.

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1.1 Mechanism
Diffraction is a resultant of wave displacement at edges
and superposition of waves along the plane of
Propagation.
This is described by the Huygens-Fresnel principle.
1.2 Effects of Diffraction
No change in frequency, wavelength and velocity
of the waves.
But a change in the direction and amplitude of the
waves upon diffraction.

1.3 Ultrasonic diffraction

When an ultrasonic wave interacts with a crack-like flaw it results in


diffracted waves from the crack tips, in addition to specular reected
waves from the surface of the crack.

This diffracted wave from the tip of the crack is used to accurately size the
depth of the crack from the ID or the OD.

The diffracted Waves are much weaker than specularly reected waves
used for conventional ultrasonic inspection, but they radiate from the tips
in all directions along the same plane as the incident ultrasonic waves.

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THE DIFFRACTION PHENOMENON

Important Points Diffraction

Modification in direction or deflection of sound beam


Ends of defect become point sources
Not related to orientation of defect
Much weaker signal than reflected signals
Sharp defects provide best emitters
Tips signals are located accurately
Time of flight of tip signals used for sizing

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Between 45 degree and


80 degree the signal
response within 6dB
variation for both top and
bottom tips of the crack .
The response is maximum
at 65 degree for both top
and bottom tips.
Lesser than 45 degree
gives poor
amplitude
response.

Amplitude in dB

Variation of Diffraction signals with angle

Angle in degrees

DISCUSSIONS

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CHAPTER 4
FUNDAMENTALS OF TOFD

Basic Setup
2 probes (transmitter, receiver) in pitch catch
arrangement.
Wide weld volume coverage
Longitudinal waves
Probes symmetrical to the weld center
Amplifier at receiver side

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TOFD Signals
Signals received
Lateral wave (LW), subsurface
Back-wall echo(BW)
Mode converted ( shear wave echo)
Diffracted signals from defects

Receiver

Transmitter

Lateral wave
Upper tip

Mode
converted
shear wave

Lower tip

Back-wall reflection

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The Lateral wave:


A sub / near-surface longitudinal wave generated
from the wide beam of the transducer.
The lateral wave is not a surface wave.
Takes the path of least time/distance between two
points - Fermats principle.
The frequency of the lateral wave tends to be
lower than the waves at the centre of the beam
and hence has a wider beam spread.
Since, lateral waves are weak waves, the
amplitude would decay
exponentially with
distance from the inspection surface.
For large probe separation distance, lateral waves
and may not even be seen.
For a curved surface it will travel straight across
the metal between the two probes.

Back wall Signal


A large and strong longitudinal wave reflected from the back wall.

The back wall is observed after the lateral wave because of the greater distance travelled.

Diffracted wave - Defect signals


If any crack is present in the weld, diffraction occurs at the top and bottom tips of
the defect and are seen between the lateral wave and the back wall.
These signals are generally weaker than the back wall signal but stronger
than the lateral wave.
For small defects (small height) the signals from the top and bottom may not be
clearly resolvable and are more subjective.
It is sometimes easiest to concentrate on the two or three most
predominant cycles.

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Mode converted shear signals


Appears after the back wall signal is a much larger signal.
Mode converted shear waves at a defect are generally observed between the
longitudinal back wall and the mode converted shear back wall.
Mode converted signals takes a longer time to arrive at the receiver.

Importance of having mode converted shear waves

Because of the basic pitch-catch probe arrangement the signals from the
near surface region are very compressed in time and these signals may be
hidden beneath the lateral.
Thus the importance of a minimum number of cycles in the signals in
order to improve the resolution of the signals from the top and bottom
of small defects.
lt is often very useful to collect signals in this region since genuine defect
signals are repeated at longer times and near surface defect signals may
be clearer since they are spread out in time more for the shear waves.

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Phase - Relationship between waves


Whenever a signal is reected at an interface due to higher acoustic
impedance a phase change of 180 degrees occurs.
For example, if the lateral wave starts with a positive cycle before it hits
the tip of the defect, then the diffracted wave will start with a negative
cycle after reection.
In a few cases the top and bottom diffraction signals may not have a phase
change of 180 degrees.
The recognition of phase change depends on the amplitude of the signals,
and it is generally difficult if the signal is saturated.

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Transmitter

Receiver
Lateral wave

Back-wall reflection
BW

LW

Upper tip

Lower tip

ToFD Data Visualization (A-Scan to B-Scan)


Image (B-Scan) is a collection of large amount of A-Scan data.
The image is in gray scale which consists of Phase information of signals (unrectified A-Scan)

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A-Scan to B-Scan
A-Scan

B-Scan

B-Scan image - ToFD

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An Example for Phase reversal


Detection and sizing of a lack of fusion by TOFD - phase
reversal of upper and lower defect edges is displayed in gray
levels.

TOFD Dead Zones

TOFD dead zones due to lateral waves and backwall. Dead zone size depends on
frequency, pulse length, probe center separation, material thickness, and velocity.
Errors can occur with TOFD if the defect is not symmetrically placed between the two
probes.

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ToFD Probe angle


Longitudinal wave in gerneral is used.
Depends on the desired focus depth.
Depends on the needed weld volume.
Transducer size
Depends on the desired focus depth.
Depends on the needed weld volume.
Influences the beam spread.
Probe frequency
Depends on the probe characteristics.
Depends on needed focus depth and needed coverage area.

MATHEMATICAL CALCULATIONS - TYPICAL TOFD SETUP


PCS
S

PCS - Probe-Centre Separation


t Thickness of the material
S Distance between weld centerline and probe index

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Time of Arrival calculation


1. The first arrival time from the lateral wave signal to the receiver:
tL = 2S/V
2. The second arrival time from the top tip diffracted signal
to the receiver:
t1 =(L1+L2)/V (i.e distance / Velocity)
L2 = (d2 + S2)1/2
t1 = 2 [(d2 + S2)1/2 ] / V {assuming L1 = L2)
3. The third arrival time from the bottom tip diffracted
signal to the receiver:
t2 =(L3+L4)/V (i.e distance / Velocity)
L3 = {(d+h)2 + S2}1/2
t2 = 2 [{(d+h)2 + S2}1/2 ] / V {assuming L3 = L4)
4. The fourth signal is Bac kwall
tbw = 2 [(T2 + S2)1/2 ] / V

Note:
V- speed for the longitudinal wave in
steel
L1, L2 Half of the path of the
diffracted signal so it takes time t1/2
S Half distance of the probes
separation.
t1 The arrival time of the top tip
diffracted signal

Time of Arrival calculation with Probe Delay


1. tL = 2S/V + 2 t0
2. t1 = 2 [(d2 + S2)1/2 ] / V + 2 t0
3. t2 = 2 [{(d+h)2 + S2}1/2 ] / V + 2 t0
4. tbw = 2 [(T2 + S2)1/2 ] / V + 2 t0
Note:
V- speed for the longitudinal wave in steel
L1, L2 Half of the path of the diffracted signal so it takes time t 1/2
S Half distance of the probes separation.
t1 The arrival time of the top tip diffracted signal
t0 - Probe delay

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DISCUSSION

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TIME OF FLIGHT DIFFRACTION

CHAPTER 5
EQUIPEMENT SETUP
AND PARAMETERS
SELECTION

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Probe
Transducers / probe that are used for TOFD are different from the
conventional manual ultrasonic testing. The various properties of TOFD
probe, the effect of change in frequency , diameters and PCS will be discussed
in the following slides.
Parameter to be considered before selection of a probes:

To achieve wider beam coverage low frequency and small diameters


probe can be used . But as the frequency of the probe decreases the
test sensitivity will also be decreased .
High frequency probes are used in ToFD as it gives better sensitivity
and resolution.

Use of the high frequency probes for testing is a compromise on the wider
beam coverage.

Beam spread
Higher the bream spread more volume on the test material can be covered.
High dampened and broad band probes are generally used in ToFD to get
wider beam coverage ( larger volume coverage).
Effect of increase in frequency and diameters on the beam spread is
discussed in following slides.

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Calculate the beam spread using different frequency and diameter and see
the changes in beam spread.
Sample calculation to find the beam spread:
Sample1: Use the following data for solving the problems
Formulae to find beam spread: Sin = [K x( v / f)]/ D
K = 0.7, D = 6mm, f = 5MHz
Perspex velocity is 2760 m/s
Carbon steel velocity is 5960 m/s

Use Snell's law to find the incident angle of Perspex, for 5 MHz probe with refracted
angle is 600 in steel is used to carry out ToFD :

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1.Calculate the beam spread in steel for longitudinal wave and shear wave
for the following probes :
i.450
ii.600
iii.70

Given:
Velocity in Perspex = 2760 m/s
Velocity in steel = 5960 m/s(longitudinal wave)
Velocity in steel = 3240 m/s(shear wave)
Frequency of the probe = 5 MHz
Diameter of the probe = 6mm

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Difference in beam spread with respect to frequency


Increase in frequency reduces the beam spread
5MHz, 6mm, 60

10MHz, 6mm, 60

Probe frequency
Higher the frequency, resolution will be better, however with increase in
frequency attenuation will also increase.

The following information act as a guide for different thickness :

Less than 10mm 10 - 15 MHz


10mm to 30mm 5 to 10 MHz
30mm to 70mm 2 to 5 MHz

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Probe angle

Choice of probe angle depends on the material thickness and the


component geometry.
Choice of probe angle also depends on the technique and scan plan i.e
whether the volume is covered in one pass or multiple passes.
70 degree probe will have wider coverage and 45 degree probe will have
the smallest beam coverage.
70 degree probe will have the least time spread and will have poor
resolution.
45 degree probe will have the maximum time spread and will have good
resolution.
60 degree probe is considered as a good choice considering the volume
coverage and time spread.

Probe angle
To achieve a satisfactory data many scans may be required with different
probe angles and different PCS.

Effect of change in PCS & beam angle for same


frequency and diameter size of probe in 20mm
plate.

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Recommended Probe selection parameters for thickness up to 70mm

Probe-Centre Separation (PCS):


Distance between index point of transmitter and receiver in TOFD setup.
For curved objects it is the shortest distance between the index points.
This is generally based on focusing point in the examining material (or a typical weld)
PCS
Equal to 2S
PCS
Depends on the focus depth
PCS
Depends on the probe angle
For the initial scan, 2/3T rule is used for PCS using the following formula :
PCS (2S) = 2x t x Tan x 2/3
Or
PCS (2S) = 1.33 x t x Tan
If the focus is other than 2/3T, PCS should be calculated based on depth (d) :
PCS (2S) = 2x d x Tan

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Probe-Centre Separation
Change in PCS will effect the focus and the coverage of the volume.
Following figures shows the effect on depth of focus for increase and
decrease in PCS.

PCS 76 mm for depth of focus at 76 % of


thickness.

PCS increased to 98mm

PCS decreased to 36 mm

When PCS is increased weld coverage increases, if all other parameters are
remains the same.
Low PCS gives a very good near surface resolution.

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Settings
Gain setting
Setting gain (dB) in TOFD is difficult as its works on the principle of
diffraction, the diffracted signals received are quite weak as compared to
the reflected signals.
Amplitude of the defects in TOFD cannot be used to decide the size of the
defect and for its evaluation.
Time window settings
For full-thickness testing using only one set-up, the time window recorded
should start at least 1seconds prior to the time of arrival of the lateral
wave, and should where possible extend up to the rst mode converted
back wall signal.
For more than one set-up used, the time windows shall overlap at least
10 % of the depth-range.
The start and extent of the time windows have to be verified on the test
object.

Time-to-depth conversion (Screen Calibration)


For a given PCS, setting of time-to-depth conversion is best carried out using the
lateral wave signal and the back wall signal with a known material velocity and
thickness (usually V1 block).
For curved components geometrical corrections may be necessary.

Sensitivity settings
For all examination levels the sensitivity shall be set on the test object.
The amplitude of the lateral wave shall be between 40% and 80 % full screen
height (FSH).

Note Any change of the TOFD set-up, e,g. probe centre separation (PCS),
thickness requires a new setting.

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Calibration
The following parameters shall be set based on the thickness of the item being
tested :
Type of Scan : Non Parallel / Parallel
Type of Ultrasonic Wave :Voltage :
Pulse Width :
PRF :
Filters :
Averaging :
Sizing curves :
Measurement cursors etc.

Thickness of the item :


PCS :
Probe Angle :
Probe Frequency :
Wedge :
Material Velocity :

Set the lateral wave, back wall and the mode converted signals on the screen using
the reference block and verify the timing of lateral wave and the back wall signals
against the manually calculated timings. Range start and range (parameters in the
equipment) shall be used to set the screen.

Calibration
Pre inspection and post inspection calibration shall be carried out using A2
/ V1 blocks or other blocks similar in thickness as the object being tested.
Scan area of 0 to 50mm shall be selected.
1mm or 2mm thickness tolerance may be allowed depending on the
thickness of the object being used, if the readings exceeds the tolerance
then check the system and the accessories and repeat the process.
This is the system performance check to ensure the equipment (its
software) as well as accessories like probe, wedges, preamplifier (if used),
encoder, cables etc. are functioning properly.

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Scanning
Longitudinal scan - Non-Parallel
or D-scan or line scan
Scan direction is Perpendicular to
the probe beam direction.
Most frequently used for weld
inspection.
Detection Initial sizing.
High speed inspection.

Weld

Limitations
Defect depth only accurate when
the probes are symmetrically
positioned with regard to the
defect.
Defect lateral position is unknown.

Parallel scan - Lateral, transverse


or B-scan
Weld
Movement of probes is parallel
to the probe beam direction.
Precise sizing and positioning
Time will be minimum when
probes are symmetrically
positioned over the defect.
Limitation
Weld inspection: weld cap often
reduces or makes impossible
the extend of the scan.

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Mechanical Scanner
Very simple to use.
Magnetic wheels.
Manual (or motorized).
One axis position encoding.
Basically 2 probes, must be able
to hold more (PE).
Easy and precise adjustment of
probe separation is needed.

Scan Resolution (Sampling Interval)

In manual as well as mechanical scanning the quality of the scan depends


on scan resolution (sampling interval). The latest equipments offer a
choice of as low as 0.1mm scan resolution, this means one A-scan is
collected at an interval of 0.1mm, this will result in size of the data file too
big and the scanning speed will be reduced which may lead to missing
data .
Scan resolution of 1mm is considered to be good in terms of ToFD scans to
get information about the discontinuities.
Scan resolution has to be decided together with other factors like
averaging, PRF, length of the weld etc.
Data amount per scan depends on:
Length of the scan, Resolution of scan.
Length of the gate [s] (function of wall thickness).
Sample rate (digitization rate).

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Parameters for a ToFD Scan

Based on the material and the thickness of the weld the following
parameters should be selected :
1.

Probes : Suitable probe frequency, size and the refracted angle


should be selected for coverage, resolution and penetration in the
material.

2.

Calculate the initial PCS focusing at 2/3T and subsequent PCS at the
required depth or coverage.

3.

Select the type of scan i.e parallel or non parallel scan. Initial scans
for welds are non parallel scans.

Parameters for a ToFD Scan Contd.,


4. The following parameters are selected from the equipment software :
a.

b.

c.

d.

Material Velocity : Initially the velocity is set, the actual velocity


against the thickness is verified when performing wedge
delay and velocity calibration.
Digitization frequency : The digitization frequency has to be at least 5
times of the probe frequency. Most of the ToFD equipments has
provisions of setting higher digitization frequencies thus improving
the sampling rate.
Pulse width : Pulse width helps in forming the shape of the signal. It
is taken for half of the period of the probe frequency. For 5 Mhz it is
100ns and for 10 Mhz it is 50ns.
Voltage : Set as per manufacturers recommendation or can start with
a lower value (50 V)

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Parameters for a ToFD Scan Contd.,


e. PRF : Set at optimum. PRF can be high for low thickness and set low
for high thickness.
f. Averaging : High averaging will give a good digitize signal, by
eliminating random electrical noise. However it has to be selected
keeping in mind the size of the data file.
g. Cursors / Sizing curves : These are important for measurement
and sizing.
h. Set the lateral wave, back wall and mode converted signal in the
screen by using range start and range (parameters in the
equipment). Setting the screen is important as our area of
interest is from lateral wave to back wall. Most of the times
mode converted signals also shows indications of the
discontinuities which are detected between the lateral wave and
back wall by the compression wave and sometimes it shows the
indications which are not detected by compression wave, this helps
to change the existing settings and detect the discontinuity which
was not covered by the compression waves.

Parameters for a ToFD Scan Contd.,


i.

Set the lateral wave amplitude as 50 to 60 % FSH by increasing or


decreasing the gain. This is for scanning without setting the gain by
the use of blocks as mentioned in BS EN 583 6

j.

Select the encoder and calibrate the encoder to record the position
of the probes. Defect locations may be wrong if encoder is not
calibrated properly. Verify the encoder resolution after calibration
with the resolution manufacturers given by the manufacturer.

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Geometric Consideration in TOFD


Single transducer diffraction (called back
method in Japan)

Diffraction or the tip echo

Twin transducer TOFD with both transducers on the same side of the
defect/weld.
Complex inspections, e.g. nozzles

Parameters to be considered in TOFD


Transducer size

Decreasing transducer diameter - decreases output


Decreasing transducer diameter - increases beam divergence
Decreasing transducer diameter - decreases near field length
Decreasing transducer diameter - decreases contact area, emission point
closer to front of probe wedge

Probe frequency

Decreasing frequency - increases wavelength


Decreasing frequency - decreases resolution
Decreasing frequency - increases time duration and intensity of
lateral wave
Decreasing frequency - increases beam divergence
Decreasing frequency - decreases near field length
Decreasing frequency - increases penetration
Decreasing frequency - decreases acoustic scatter

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DISCUSSIONS

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TIME OF FLIGHT DIFFRACTION

CHAPTER 6
ERRORS IN TOFD

OUTLINE
Errors in the timing
Near Surface errors
Dead zone errors
Resoultuion of top and bottom tips
Off-Axis depth error
PCS errors
Multiple arcs
Other errors

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Errors in Timing
Problem
All depth calculations are based on the assumption that the defects are
symmetrically(centrally) located to the two probes.
Depth error is high in near surface area as compared to the mid wall.
Solution

Un-symmetrical defect errors can be reduced by offset scan


To compensate the depth error to some extent
Lowering PCS - but weld coverage compromised, may require more scans.
Higher frequency probe minimizes ringing effect in other words increases
resolution.
Higher digitizing rate - availability.

Near Surface Problems


Problems

Presence of defects near to the surface are masked by lateral waves.

Small dimensional defects may be missed as the signal may go around the
defect.

Solutions

Lowering the PCS improves timing measurements.


Separate scan for near surface using high frequency probes.
Reducing the lateral wave rings ( number of cycles), using a highly damped
broad band probes.
Using software application to remove lateral wave subjective.

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Dead Zones Lateral wave and Back wall


dead zones
Problem

Defect signal is hidden beneath the


lateral wave signal.
Defect signal is masked by back wall
signal.

Solution

Using a smaller PCS will decrease the


dead zone.
Using a probe with short pulse length.

Dead Zone - Calculation

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Distance for dead zone = 1.2174 s x velocity


= (1.2174 x 10-6 ) x (5960 x 103 )
= 7.2mm

Calculate the dead zone for the lateral wave with 2 cycles, 10 MHz probe

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Resolution of top and bottom tip of defects


Problem
Some times it is difficult to resolve top and bottom tips for the defects particularly
for volumetric defects .
Solution
Decreasing PCS.
Decreasing pulse length.

Defect position uncertainty

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Off axis depth effect


Problem
Error in depth measurement due to defect not centrally located(Off-Axis) between
transmitter and receiver probes.
Related
The error will be higher when the defect is at the
boundary of the beam on the same ellipse.
The depth error can vary from almost zero to 60%
and greater. If the aws are only present in the
weld volume then the depth error is less than 1%
to 3%.
Solution
Parallel scan where the defect will be at the center of the probes for more
accurate information on depth.
Using a large PCS

In practice:
Maximum error on
absolute depth position
lies below 10%.
Error on height
estimation small defect
is negligible.

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Index point migration effects


The probes are not point sources. Due
to beam spread, the probe separation
(S) will vary accordingly to related
signals.
In the wedge and in the object, beam
will have main beam in the centre,
trailing and leading edge at the edges
of the beam.
This causes a shift in the index point
for near surface area (leading edge)
and the back wall area (trailing edge) this will lead to change in PCS and
result in negligible error.
The ultrasonic beam transmitted and received from the edges of wedge, behaves like
two transmitter and two receivers in the near field area and shows four separate arcs
(multiple arcs)in a parallel scan.

Effects due to couplant film thickness


Like conventional UT, in TOFD couplant is used to efficiently transmitter and receive
ultrasound.
This coupling film is so thin that its influence on the timing of the ultrasonic signals
is negligible.
However thick films of couplant lead to lateral wave being not straight (wavy) as
ultrasound may take more time to pass through the areas where the couplant film
is thick.

Effects due Probe wedges


The wedge causes a delay (probe delay). Probe delay is not constant and is
different for lateral wave, backwall echo, flaw tips etc., because of beam spread,
and angle. This adds to all arrival times.

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Inspection surface characteristics


Usually it is assumed that the inspection surface is flat plane. Minor departures
flatness will obviously degrade the accuracy somewhat as the probes will be
displaced up or down from the assumed positions. The depth error will be of the
same order as , or less than, the displacements of the probes.

Effects of velocity
For an uniform, homogeneous, isotropic material, the velocity accuracy is easily
met by timing the interval between back wall reflections for a beam normal to the
surface.
In more complex geometries or with material with less ideal properties, the
inaccuracy of velocity estimates may become significant source of error.
The error is reduced if the PCS is reduced. Independent calibration of the velocity
by measurement of the delay of the back wall echo, with a known wall thickness,
greatly reduces this error.

Overall effects

Overall effects will be all the effects (errors) discussed in this lesson, if all the
effects are added the overall depth effect may be derived. However some of
the major effects ( like timing effect) may contribute more than the other
effects which may be minor or negligible.
Other effects
using different transducers or changing transducers
changes in probe angle due to wear and tear of the wedge
changes in probe position
angle of diffractions
changes in angular velocity
attenuation in the material

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No Signals Common Faults

Probes not properly fixed or Fixed in opposite direction.


Damaged Cables.
No couplant or not enough couplant on the surface of examination.
Wedge is not in proper contact with the surface of examination.
Rough surface.
Preamplifier is switched off (if used).
Cable from the transmitter /receiver probe was not connected in right
socket in the equipment /preamplifier.

DISCUSSION

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CHAPTER 7
DIGITIZATION PRINCIPLES

Need for digitization

As analog signals cannot be stored, digitization is required before


storing the signals.
for a permanent record of data for re-analysis.
Compare the result with previous inspection which helps in
maintenance operations of life assessment of plant or equipment.
Images are digitized and stored in static form (freeze option in many
conventional instrument) or dynamic form (in real time as indications
are formed on the screen).
Sending results to far consultants to analysis and receive the advise /
consulting without having time and money to spend in travelling.

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Key Parameters of digitizer


Frequency (Digitizer)
Processor (no. of bits or amount of information
that can be handled)
Averaging
PRF
Acquisition Rate
Soft Gain

Digitization
Conversion of analogue A-scan (amplitude) to digital numbers (digits) by taking
samples of a signal at a regular interval.
Analog signals are continuous electrical signals; digital signals are non-continuous.
Digital information exists as one of two digits, either 0 or 1. These are known as bits
and the sequences of 0s and 1s that constitute information are called bytes.
Analog signal can be converted to digital signal by ADC. The reading of an analog
signal at regular time intervals (frequency), is the sampling value of the signal at
the point.
Each such reading is called a sample (a particular combination of 0s and 1s) and is
considered to contain exact information for that stage;

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Digitization Continued.,

The sampling frequency has to be greater than the


bandwidth of the signal being sampled.
Nyquist Sampling Theorem - for a correct representation of a
digitized signal, the sampling frequency has to be at least
twice as high as the bandwidth.
It is recommended that digitizer frequency (Ideal minimum
frequency) is at least 5 times the probe central frequency to
reduce the amplitude error to within 10%.

Analog to Digital Conversion (ADC)


An
analog-to-digital
converter (abbreviated
ADC, A/D or A to D) is a
device that converts a
continuous
physical
quantity
(usually
voltage) to a digital
number that represents
the
quantity's
amplitude.
The
conversion
involves
sampling of the of the
data, so it necessarily
introduces a small
amount of error.

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Ultrasonic features of TOFD


General

Pulser Receiver

Digitizer

Gain/ booster

Voltage

Digitizing frequency

Type of Wave

Pulse width

Averaging

Material Velocity

Rectification

Repetition rate (PRF)

Ultrasonic Start

Band-pass filters

Acquisition rate

Ultrasonic range

The feature might be found under different


tabs, depending on instrument and software
version.

Pulse Width
An ultrasonic probe consists of a piezoelectric material which when set into
vibration with a voltage pulse produces a
burst of ultrasound.
The use of different voltages ranging
dependents on the probe frequency and
the type of crystal element.
The pulse width helps to optimise the
shape of the received signal. The rst edge
of the rectangular pulse sets the crystal
element into oscillation.
The second edge of the rectangular pulse
also sets the crystal element into oscillation
again but the phase of the burst of
ultrasound is 180 degrees out of phase with
the rst set of oscillations.

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Pulse Width Continued.


The pulse width is generally set to 1 period of the wave frequency after which the
two signals will be out of phase and a smaller amplitude signal will be obtained.
This will reduce the ringing of the probes and have better resolution of signals from
the top and bottom tips of small defects.

Pulse Repetition Rate

The repetition rate (PRF , or pulse-repetition frequency) is the firing


frequency of the ultrasonic signal.

PRF depends on averaging, acquisition time, gate length, processing


time, and the update rate of the parameters.

In general, the PRF should be set as high as reasonable, ensuring that


any ghost echoes are out of the acquisition range.

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Effect of PRF

PRF is rate of voltage pulses transmitted from pulser to transducer


(remember this is not probe frequency!!!!!!!!).

Selecting low PRF results in loss of data or missing scan data which are
caused due to high scan speed, wide beam angles chosen, high resolution,
low communication speed.

Increasing PRF too high results in ghost or phantom signals.

Under sampling
Sub-sampled image:
Nyquist is not met
Amplitude error, phase shift,
distortion

Over sampling
A higher sampling rate will result in more data points, thus larger files.

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Aliasing Effect
An alias is a false lower frequency component that appears in sampled data
acquired at too low a sampling rate.
The Nyquist theorem states that a signal must be sampled at a rate greater than
twice the highest frequency component of the signal to accurately reconstruct the
waveform; otherwise, the high-frequency content will alias at a frequency inside
the spectrum of interest (passband).

The dotted line indicates the aliased signal recorded by the ADC and is sampled as a 1
MHz signal instead of a 5 MHz signal

For analog signal to digital by digitizing the amplitude


Signal amplitude is quantized into a
sequence of samples before signal
processing.
The precision of samples depends on no.
of bit levels.
As number of bit increases dynamic range
and file size increases .
The dynamic range of the 3-bit system is
approximately 18 dB, while that of the 8bit is 48dB. That means that if the signal of
interest is below that value it can never be
retrieved simply because it was never
sampled properly in the first place.

For Pulse Echo (FWRF), The 8 bit


digitizer steps are 0 to 255 and for RF
wave form -127 to +128

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dB relation to Processor bit


For an 8 bit digitizer, it is 28 digital numbers i.e 256 (0 to 255, ToFD in RF mode
-127 to +128)
For an 10 bit digitizer, it 210 digital numbers i.e 1024 (0 to 1023, ToFD in RF
mode -511 to + 512)
For ToFD data in the RF mode, how many dBs it takes to display the data for
an 8 bit digitizer :
dB = 20 x log A1 / A2
ToFD data is displayed as -127 to +128, we consider 1 to 128
dB = 20 x log 128 / 1 = 42dB

Signal Averaging

Averaging is the number of


samples (A-Scans) summed for
each acquisition step on each
A-Scan displayed.
Averaging increases the signal
to noise ratio by reducing
random noise.
High
averaging
reduces
acquisition speed.
Averaging does not affect file
size or amount of data
collected.

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Date file size per scan depends on:


Length of the scan
Resolution of scan
Wall thickness of the material
Sample rate (digitization rate)

Sampling rate Calculation

If a digitization frequency is 25MHz


Which means 25 million samples per 1 sec
Or we can write as 25 samples per 1 micro sec
Or we can otherwise write as 1 sample per 0.04 micro sec

Now, please calculate the sampling rate for 45MHz,


70MHz and 150MHz

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Number of samples and data size


Consider an example:
A pair of TOFD probe with frequency of 1MHz and digitization frequency of
50MHz. If one A-Scan is collected every one mm of weld. What would be the
data size for 10m of weld

1 time period = 1/1MHz = 1 micro sec


Sampling rate = 1/50MHz = 0.02 micro sec
So for 1 A-Scan per mm, no. of samples = 1/0.02 = 50
For 10m (10000mm), No. of samples = 50 X 10000 = 500000 bytes =
0.5MB

Calculating number of samples

No. of samples depend on the time required for one wave length (i.e. we
call as no. of samples per one time period)
If you divide time period by sampling rate you will get no. of samples
Calculate the no. of samples for
Probe frequency of 5MHz at digitization rate of 50MHz, 75MHz and
125MHz
Probe frequency of 10MHz at digitization rate of 40MHz, 65MHz and
110MHz

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Effect of parameters on scanning speed

If collection rate is one A-scan per mm,


For 150mm/sec (scanning speed) = 150 pulses per second (minimum PRF)
If you use averaging of 16, then the no. of pulses increases by
16X150mm/sec = 2400 pulses per sec (minimum PRF)

So what should you do to avoid missing data :


Reduce averaging
Reduce scan speed

Signal Processing - Filters

A filter is a device or process that removes


from a signal some unwanted component
or feature.
The drawback of filtering is the loss of
information associated with it.

Low Pass Filter : Low pass filter will allow the


signals which are lower than the set
frequency.

Using the full band signal will increase noise level

High Pass Filter : High pass filter will allow


the signals which are higher than the set
frequency.
Band Pass Filter : Only frequencies in a
frequency band are passed

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Filters thumb rule :

High pass filter is set at 0.5 times of the probe center frequency

Low pass filter is set at 2.0 times or more of the probe center
frequency
Choosing according to probe center frequency

Actual choice depends on beam spread and attenuation and beam


path.
Best solution is to try different filters to optimize the image

DISCUSSION

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CHAPTER 8
INTEPRETATION,
ANALYSIS & SIZING

Transmitter

Receiver
Positive

Negative

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Top Tip
Bottom Tip

Interpretation and analysis of TOFD images


Interpretation and analysis of TOFD images is generally performed as follows:
Assessing the quality of the TOFD-image;
Identification of relevant indications and discrimination of non-relevant
indications;

Classification of relevant indications in terms of:


embedded (linear, point-like);
surface breaking;

Determination of location, length and height (sizing)

Evaluation against acceptance criteria.

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Assessing the quality of the TOFD image


A TOFD-testing has to be carried out such that satisfactory images are generated
which can be evaluated with confidence. Satisfactory images are defined by
appropriate:
coupling
sensitivity setting,
time-base setting.

Identification of relevant indications


TOFD can image discontinuities in the weld as well as geometric features of
the test object. To identify indications of geometric features, detailed
knowledge of the test object is necessary.
Indications are identified by patterns or disturbances within the TOFD image.
To decide whether an indication is relevant (caused by a discontinuity),
patterns or disturbances have to be evaluated considering shape and signal
amplitude relative to general noise level.

Classification of relevant indications


Consideration to be given on amplitude, phase, location, presence of mode
converted signals and pattern of relevant indications as it may contain information
on the type of discontinuity.
Relevant indications are classified as
surface-breaking indications
o disturbance of the lateral wave
o disturbance of the back wall reflection;

embedded discontinuities - indications between lateral wave and back wall


reflection.

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Surface breaking discontinuities

Scanning surface discontinuity:


This type shows up as an elongated pattern generated by the signal
emitted from the lower edge of the discontinuity and a weakening or
loss of the lateral wave (not always observed). The indication from the
lower edge can be hidden by the lateral wave, but generally a pattern
can be observed in the mode converted part of the image. For
a
small
discontinuities, only a small delay of the lateral wave may be observed.

Opposite surface discontinuity:


This type shows up as an elongated pattern generated by the signal emitted
from the upper edge of the discontinuity and a weakening, loss, or delay of
the back wall reflection (not always observed).

Through wall discontinuity:


This type shows up as a loss or weakening of both the lateral wave and the
back wall reflection accompanied by diffracted signals from both ends of the
discontinuity.

Embedded discontinuity indications


Point-like discontinuity:
This type shows up as a single hyperbolic shaped curve which may lie at any
depth.
Elongated discontinuity with no measurable height:
This type appears as an elongated pattern corresponding to an apparent
upper edge signal.
Elongated discontinuity with a measurable height:
This type appears as two elongated patterns located at different positions in
depth, corresponding to the lower and upper edges of the discontinuity. The
indication of the lower edge is usually in phase with the lateral wave. The
indication of the upper edge is usually in phase with the back wall reflection.
Indications of embedded discontinuities usually do not disturb the lateral
wave or the back-wall reflection.
Other indications that cannot be classified may require further testing and analysis.

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TOFD an example for good image


Time window
shall start at
least 1Sec
prior to Lateral
Wave.

Gain Settings

Low

High

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Missed Scan

Loss of Signal

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Effect of thick couplant layer


Causes uneven lateral wave making measurements difficult.

To some extent lateral wave can be straightened using software options.

Screen Calibration

Identify the Phase of the lateral and back wall for screen calibration ( suggested to
keep the cursor on good portion prominently displaying phase information in the
D-scan and then go to from A-scan to place the blue and red cursors before
performing the screen calibration option).

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Lateral wave synchronization

Before

After

Lateral wave removal done to view masked defects by lateral wave. This
operation is not always completely successful.

Before

After

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Sizing Techniques
Location & Length measurements
Flaw length from a non-parallel scan( DScan), is measured from end to end of the
signal after compensating for beam spread.
If the flaw is curved, then it is difficult to
accurately measure the length and done
more often with errors.
Length of the flaw is defined by the
difference of the x-coordinates of the
extremities of the indication.

Diffracted flaw signal

Resultant flaw signal

Curved flaw

Height measurements

Uses the accurate time of arrival of the signal unlike the length
measurement technique.
The height is defined as the maximum difference of the z- coordinates.
For indications displaying varying z-coordinates along their length, the
height should be determined at the x-position where the difference of the
z-coordinates is greatest.
Another method is counting the number of rings when the resolution of
the tips is not seen.

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Synthetic Aperture Focusing Technique (SAFT)

A technique to measure length of a flaw on


the reconstructed TOFD D-scan signal using
the 6 dB drop method.

SAFT produces a collimated beam from


the transducer with a beam width of
approximately half the crystal diameter.

This greatly reduces the beam spread of a


normal transducer allowing accurate
measurements particularly for aws
smaller than the normal beam spread.

SAFT process also greatly improves signal


to noise ratio.

TOFD image of surface notch's

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TOFD image of opposite surface discontinuity

TOFD image of opposite surface discontinuity with a larger depth

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TOFD image of a through wall discontinuity

TOFD image of point like discontinuities

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TOFD image of a change in thickness

TOFD image of misaligned pipe joint

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TOFD image of a root corrosion

DISCUSSIONS

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CHAPTER 9
CODES & STANDARDS
- TOFD

Many national and International standards or European Standards are


available :EN, ASME, ASTM, AWS, ISO, etc.

European Standard EN 583-6, based on BS 7706 check for latest editions.


TOFD as a method for defect detection and sizing
CEN/TS 14751 (CEN Technical specification) - check for latest editions.
Welding Use of TOFD for examination of welds is replaced by BS EN
ISO 10863:2011
ASME V, Art. 4 & 5 Mandatory Appendices I & II
ASME XIII requires RT, Code Case 2235 lists conditions under which RT may
be replaced by UT

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Code Case 2235-9


Inquiry: Under what conditions and limitations may an ultrasonic
examination be used in lieu of radiography.
Requirements For and thicker materials.
Coverage of HAZ
Scan plan
Calibration/Validation block
Computer-based data acquisition required with data recording
Flaw sizing is required
Acceptance criteria

When ToFD is used to replace RT, then should also be used with an additional
surface technique.
Magnetic Particle Testing
Penetrant Testing
Manual UT

DISCUSSIONS

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CHAPTER 10
APPLICATIONS OF
TOFD

Applications

Inspection of complex geometries like


nozzle-shell, pipe-flange, reducer-pipe
etc.,
In more recent years this expertise has
been adapted for non nuclear
applications including vessels for the
chemical/process industries, complex
forgings and castings (eg turbine discs)
and nodal configurations on tubular
structures.
Detection cracks in service pipes,
pressure vessels etc.,
Monitoring of cracks during service Continuous Condition Monitoring

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TOFD scanning mechanisms


There are several types of scanning mechanisms:
Manual scanning
Semi-automatic
Mechanical scanning

Manual Scanning

Manual scanning is achieved by the use of jigs which has the probe
holders and it allows the probes to be moved (adjusted) horizontally to
set the PCS. Encoders are fixed to the jigs to record the position of the
probes.

In manual scanning we can mark the PCS and the edges of the probe so
that the inspector knows if he is deviating from the marked positions. Use
of guides (magnetic strips, rulers etc.) will also help to get the scan
straight. Always set the probes such that the weld axis is in the centre of
the two probes.

Manual scanning needs practice and experience to get a good scan as it is


not easy to maintain the constant movement and direction. However the
inspector can stop and restart the scan from the areas where the data is
not captured properly or if there is missing data.

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Mechanical Scanning

Mechanical scanning is achieved by the use of scanners, similar to manual


jigs it has the probe holders and it allows the probes to be moved
(adjusted) horizontally to set the PCS.
Encoders can be fixed to the scanner to record the position of the probes.
The positions are set and the inspector has to ensure the scanner is not
deviating from the marked location.
Mechanical scanning can be semi automatic where the inspectors uses
mechanical means to move the scanner like a handle or through the gear
mechanism.
It can be automatic where the scanner is operated using motor. Some of
the advance systems allows the motor to be operated from the equipment
itself, where the speed and its movements are controlled.

DISCUSSIONS

80