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TECHNOFOUR

1. TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION OF THE SYSTEM


Flawmark-EC is an eddy current test system suitable for non-
destructive inspection of ferromagnetic, non-ferrous or austenitic
tubes from 3mm to 350 mm OD. Defects such as cracks, pin holes,
open welds, voids, inclusions, concentrated porosity, weld defects,
mechanical damages, slivers, opened-up skin laminations, deep pitting
etc. are reliably detected by the system. The inspection can be carried
out as per any relevant standard specification like API, ASTM, BS,
DIN, ETTC, JIS etc.

Flawmark-EC incorporates unique parallel processor architecture


centered around embedded Pentium processor. Supporting peripherals
such as keyboard and LCD display are used to alter the parameters
and see the results on the screen respectively. The system gives audio-
visual indication of defects. It can provide a permanent record of the
condition of tubes, which can be stored on a disk or printed on a
printer. Paint Marker marks the location of defect on the tube. Print
out of all parameters which are set for inspection can be obtained
using printer.

Provision of different test frequencies enables inspection of a wide


variety of metals & alloys.

Extensive data acquisition and data analysis software, wide range of


test frequencies, various modes available for evaluation, the user
friendly software justifies FLAWMARK-EC as a paragon in eddy
current based test equipments

Readers seeking more information are referred to two valuable


resources:

"Nondestructive Testing Handbook" by Robert C McMaster


(American Society for Non-destructive Testing), and

"Introduction to Electromagnetic Nondestructive Test Methods"


by Hugo L Libby. This one is more for the mathematically
inclined.

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TECHNOFOUR

THE SYSTEM
The Flawmark-EC system consists of the following units

• Flawmark-EC Electronic Console


• Saturation Power Supply
• Saturation Coil
• Demagnetizing Unit
• Test Head
• Feeding Unit
• Paint Markers
• Rotary Encoder

1.1 Flawmark-EC Electronic Console

The cabinet contains:

Flawmark-EC main unit:

It is the main Electronic Unit and all other peripherals are


connected to it. The system software is installed on this
unit. It contains signal-processing circuits. It gives the
audio/video indication depending upon the status of the
tube. It has an RS232C serial interface as standard for
communication with another computer. One can connect
a serial mouse on COM1 connector. A Deskjet printer
can be connected to parallel port. The Flawmark–EC
main Electronic Unit is also called as FTS-EC.

Printer Unit : The printer unit is a pullout tray that houses


a Deskjet data printer which is PCL compatible parallel
port printer. This printer can be used to take print outs of
various reports. and a Strip Chart of eddy current signal
of the tube.

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TECHNOFOUR

Auto Sort Console : The external outputs from the


Flawmark-EC main unit are taken out for activating the
solenoids and relays through this console. It also consists
of Alarm circuits.

Line Conditioner : The reliability of electronic test


systems depends on several factors. Two of the main
factors are the ambient and electrical environment. To
provide the system with a healthy supply, which leads to
longevity of electronics unit, an isolation transformer is
provided with the system. It is located at the bottom of
the FTS-EC-Console.

1.2 Saturation Power Supply

Ferromagnetic materials need to be magnetically saturated


while they are tested by eddy currents to eliminate effects due
to permeability variations. This improves the signal-to-noise
ratio. The magnetic Saturation Power Supply supplies the DC
current to the Saturation Coil that houses the eddy current Test
Heads.

The saturation supply is housed in the FTS EC cabinet. The


display shows the current and voltage given to saturation
supply.

1.3 Saturation Coil

Magnetic saturation is needed when ferromagnetic material is


tested with eddy currents. Saturation is a DC magnetic field that
magnetically saturates the part of the ferromagnetic tube
when it passes through the Test Head. The DC current needed
for this is provided by the Saturation Power Supply. The Test
Heads are fitted inside the Saturation Coil. Saturation unit
polarizes the tube in a particular direction.

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TECHNOFOUR

1.4 Demagnetizing Coils ( Demag Coils )

Most magnetized ferromagnetic tubes need to be demagnetized


to get rid of remanent magnetism. The demagnetizing coil is
used for this purpose. This coil is usually fitted at a distance
from the test head. The supply for these coils comes from the
electronic cabinet.

Caution : Use only 50 Hz 230V (+10%) supply (only sine


wave) for Demag Coil. Other frequencies or
voltages will permanently damage the Demag Coil
AC Unit.

1.5 Test Head

This is where it all begins. The test head is an encircling test


coil used for tubes from 6mm to 30mm dia. If ferromagnetic
material is being tested, the test coil is situated inside a
magnetic Saturation Coil. For non-ferrous materials, magnetic
saturation is not needed. The test head is connected to the
electronic unit via a hose – called Test Hose.

1.6 Feeding Unit

Feeding Unit T-65NF has been provided to :

• Receive the tube smoothly.


• Feed the tube centrally (without vibrations) through
the transmitter system i.e. Saturation Coil T-30 where
the tube is inspected for surface defects.
• Transport the tested tube on the Roller Bed.

V-Rollers and Pressure Rollers are used to transport the tube


through a Test Head. Clearly, at fixed V-roller RPM, the linear
speed of the tube will depend on the tube diameter. Two
proximities are placed on either side of Saturation Coil to detect
the presence of tube in the Test Head.

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TECHNOFOUR

1.7 Paint Markers

Two Paint Markers (Marker 1, Marker 2 and Abs Marker) are


used in the system to mark the defective tubes. The markers are
placed at some distance from the Test Head and they are
activated through Flawmark-EC main unit with proper delays.
Yellow Paint Marker is for reject defects and white Paint
Marker is for salvage defects. The user can use the color of his
choice. Defects are marked circumferentially as exact angular
location of the defect can not be detected.

1.8 Rotary Encoder

The rotary encoder is used to provide an input to the system


regarding the speed at which the tube is transported through the
Test Head. The all system delays such as marker delays can be
represented in terms of distance units rather than as time units.
This effectively makes the delays speed-independent. Encoder
is fitted on a V-roller of the transport system. It is connected to
the electronic unit through a cable provided for this purpose.

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TECHNOFOUR

2. SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

2.1 PRECAUTIONS FOR SYSTEM

Earthing should be proper as per IS 3043 1966.

Keep the Electronic Unit free of dust & humidity.

Straightness of tube should be better than 1.5mm per meter. It is


better to remove excess dust, rust and grease as well as loose
scales as it may accumulate in the mechanical system.

If any printed circuit board is removed, it must be replaced


in the same polarity and position. If the PCB is reversed or
interchanged, the damage to circuits will be certain and
permanent.

When changing to higher diameter, ensure that the tube


will not hit Test Head or Proximity Switches, Paint
Markers.

The user has to ensure that system should not be switch off
without quitting from system software unless there is any
emergency condition.

The user should not plug/unplug the connections of Printer,


if system is ON. This will permanently damage the printer.

PCBs are prone to electrostatic damages, so only authorized


persons should touch the PCBs with proper care of grounding
himself.

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TECHNOFOUR

2.2 PRECAUTIONS FOR SOFTWARE

The software is a legal copyright of TECHNOFOUR and is


only supplied to be used with Flawmark-EC unit sold to you.
Copying the software for purposes other than back-up is
forbidden.

Software is written in such a manner that it does not allow


altering the drive or directory.

Do not delete current files or folders from the operating system.


Use Delete menu item from the Flawmark – EC menu system to
delete the result or parameter files.

Do not exceed the file name more than 8 characters. This is


applicable for any type of file creation.

Do not run the System Software from Windows DOS Box.

2.3 PRECAUTION FOR THE TESTING OF THE TUBE

Worn out guide bushes beyond the stated tolerance may


degrade the eddy current inspection.

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TECHNOFOUR

3. OPERATION
3.0 Operating Basics

The system consists of the Flawmark EC electronic unit, the


Feeding Unit T65NF for guiding the tubes through a Test Head
(if bought from Technofour), a Saturation unit for magnetization
of ferromagnetic tubes & a Demag unit for demagnetizing the
tubes.

The tube to be tested is passed through the test head mounted


inside the saturation coil. Saturation is turned on while testing a
batch of ferro-magnetic tubes and a Demag coil demagnetizes
the tube afterwards.

The principle of testing involves excitation of primary coil


winding in the Test Head with single frequency. Whenever a
defect on the tube passes through the Test Head the secondary
winding picks up the signal. The detected signal is processed
and then displayed on the screen If the system detects a defect
on the tube, the Paint Markers are activated to mark its location
on the tube. The test data for each tube can be stored on a built-
in hard disk. The user can save eddy current data of all
inspected tubes, as a record file. The user can also have a
printout of each tested tube on the supplied printer. Digital
outputs are available for use with a PLC for system automation
and sorting of tubes into different bins.

The user needs to set to various parameters like frequency,


phase, gain, filters, evaluation modes and thresholds for testing
the tubes. A set of parameters can be saved as Parameter files
for easy recall later.

We need to understand several concepts before we can master


the system operation. They include :

i) Setting Eddy current parameters


ii) Signal-to-noise ratio
iii) Thresholds and evaluation modes
iv) Signal gating
v) Synchronizing Paint Markers

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TECHNOFOUR

i) SETTING EDDY CURRENT PARAMETERS

Important eddy current parameters include the test frequency,


signal gain, signal phase and filters. These parameters can be
adjusted from a “parameter panel” which occupies the extreme
right area of the main display screen. The parameters can be
changed in a consistent manner, which is described in detail in
the section on control software.

Let us first understand the significance of each eddy current


parameter.

Frequency

The test head needs to be excited by alternating current at single


frequency. The custom practice is setting the frequency lower in
order to detect defects closer towards ID of the tube. One of the
FAQs explains how to set the Frequency of testing. In Eddy
current tests, frequency of testing is inversely proportional to
the square root of depth of penetration. Greater the frequency
lesser will be depth of penetration and hence only the defect at
the surface are likely to get detected. To begin with a user can
set a nominal frequency of 5KHz and 10 KHz for carbon steel
Material.

Phase

Phase is the angle through which the eddy current signal from
the coil is rotated. Thus, it is not really a fundamental physical
entity, but a process performed on the raw signal. By varying
the phase, a signal which is originally essentially vertical can
even be rotated to the horizontal. The purpose of this will be
apparent while discussing evaluation modes.

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Gain

Gain and preamp switches decide the amplitude of the defect


signal. This setting actually changes the amplification in
electronic circuits. Thus, by increasing gain, the amplitude of
the same defect signal can be increased to meet certain
requirements (e.g. the signal should cross the threshold, or that
a signal should appear to be half of full-scale.)

Filters

Both Highpass and Lowpass filters filter out noise. Additional


low pass filter for absolute channel. The main purpose of these
filters is to increase the signal-to-noise ratio.

ii) UNDERSTANDING SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO

Signal-to-noise ratio is simply the ratio of amplitude of signal


(due to a defect) to the amplitude of noise (due to several
sources other than the defect). It is important to maximize the
signal-to-noise ratio for any eddy current test. Three tools are
available for improving the signal-to-noise ratio in Flawmark-
EC test system. They are: Filters, phase sensitive detection and,
in case of ferromagnetic tubes, magnetic saturation.

Please refer to a FAQ on Signal-to-Noise Ratio for further


background.

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TECHNOFOUR

iii) THRESHOLDS & EVALUATION MODES

Thresholds

At the most basic level, Flawmark-EC is, like all eddy current
systems, a comparator. It establishes a threshold for comparison
using a standard defect made on a tube. It then uses this
threshold to compare signals occurring on other tubes.
Whenever you get a signal greater than this threshold, the tube
is deemed to be rejected.

In practice, two decision-making thresholds are available with


Flawmark-EC. The user are requested to set Threshold 1 for
Reject and threshold 2 for Salvage. Any signal crossing
Threshold 1 are due to Reject , and any signals crossing
Threshold 2 are due to Salvage. Paint markers can be adjusted
to paint the corresponding location on the tube by Yellow and
White paint.

The appearance of the thresholds depends on the evaluation


mode selected, which is the topic for the next section.
Depending on the evaluation mode, the thresholds can appear as
straight lines, circles or segments on the display.

Evaluation modes

As seen above, three kinds of thresholds are possible. The


concept of evaluation modes combines these thresholds with
the ability to change phase of the signal to form a powerful tool
for eddy current inspection.

The three kinds of thresholds correspond with the three


evaluation modes. They are: Amplitude mode, Phase-sensitive
mode and Sector (also called Amplitude + Phase) mode.

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TECHNOFOUR

Amplitude Mode

The amplitude mode is the easiest to use. The thresholds are in


the form of concentric circles. Setting the thresholds is nothing
but adjusting the radii of these two concentric circles.

Each and every signal crossing the circles is detected. Phase is


immaterial. Thus, both the signals shown above, one horizontal
and the other mainly vertical, cross the circular thresholds.
Phase rotation has no significance at all in this mode.

Phase Sensitive

In this mode the thresholds are straight lines parallel to x-axis.


Here only the y-component of a signal is considered for
comparison and the x-component is totally ignored. This mode
is a powerful tool for improving the signal-to-noise ratio. Any
‘noise’ such as due to tube vibration or transport jerks can be
adjusted by using phase rotation, and made to appear largely
horizontal. Only the y-component of this noise is considered for
acceptance, and it is very small. This results in a higher
effective signal-to-noise ratio. (also refer to a FAQ on
evaluation modes for further details).

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TECHNOFOUR

In first figure , though defect signal amplitude is larger than


thresholds it will not be detected by the system.

Sector mode (Phase + Amplitude)

The sector mode is a combination of amplitude and phase


sensitive modes. Thresholds are in the form of sectors as shown
in the figure. Only those signals that cross the visible thresholds
(i.e. those within the sectors) are considered for comparison
with the thresholds. Any signals appearing outside the sector
are ignored.

The figure at left shows a signal outside the sector. Though the
amplitude is large, it is not ‘detected’, while the smaller signal
in the figure at right is. Along with the amplitudes of these
thresholds, the extents are also adjustable.

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TECHNOFOUR

iv) SIGNAL GATING

When the front end of a tube enters a test head windings or the
rear end leaves the test head, it gives rise to a huge signal. This
signal needs to be suppressed otherwise each tube would land
up in reject bin. The mechanism to ignore these signals is called
signal gating. Two kinds of signal gating are available on
Flawmark-EC: Static gating and Dynamic gating.

Static Gating

The simplest way of suppressing the signals due to ends


involves use of two photo switches on either end of saturation
coil. If a tube front end passes clean through the saturation coil
both the photo switches (px1 and px2, the one at the entry being
px1) are actuated. This allows threshold circuits to compare
signal against the set thresholds. When the rear end of the tube
leaves px1, threshold circuits are disabled. For the duration of
valid testing, the test ‘lamp’ in the on-screen display glows and
when the threshold circuits are disabled, the test ‘lamp’ is
switched off.

This simple method of gating (another term for enabling


thresholds) is called as static gating. It certainly suppresses
signals due to ends and no tube will be rejected with to this
approach because of entry / exit signals.

However the length of tube between the two photo switches is


quite substantial because they need to be placed outside the
saturation coil. Gating starts only after the front end of the tube
appears next to px2. At this point a substantial length of tube
has already passed through the actual test head. There could
have been defects in this length of tube but they all are ignored
by the system. This in effect become the length of untested

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TECHNOFOUR

tube. Similarly when the rear end of the tube leaves px1, the
gating turns off. There is however substantial length of tube
which has still not yet passed through the test head and any
signals occurring in this length are ignored by the system. This
particular length is untested rear end. In most cases the length
of untested front and rear ends due to static gating is
unacceptable. Dynamic gating allows us to minimize the length
of untested ends to practically reasonable values.

Dynamic Gating

To minimize the untested portion of the tube, the concept of


dynamic gating is implemented. In this case two delays delay
front (DF) and delay rear (DR) are utilized. A front delay is
initiated as the tube crosses px1. After this delay (DF),
threshold circuits are enabled. The test ‘lamp’ lights up. tube
testing starts. A rear delay (DR) is initiated when px1 is
switched off due to rear end of the tube leaving it. After this
delay DR, threshold circuits are disabled. The test ‘lamp’ turns
off. DF should be just sufficient to suppress the tube front end
signal. Similarly, DR should be adjusted in such a way that the
signal due to the rear end is suppressed. In Dynamic Gating,
PX2 status is not important.

The ‘delay’ can have two sources. It can either be time-based,


describing the delays in terms of milliseconds, or it can be
distance-based with delays in terms of centimeters, taking its
reference from the encoder fitted on feeding unit. The time-
based delays are used only for diagnostic purposes, or as a fall-
back if the encoder is damaged or out of service. The source of
the delays is selected from the parameter panel by means of the
“Pulse Source” entry, which has two values: Int Clk (for
internal clock) for the time-based delays and Ext Enc (for
External Encoder) for the distance-based delays.

These two kinds of delays are also used in synchronizing paint


markers. Note that you should always prefer distance-based
delays as this essentially makes the settings speed independent.

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v) SYNCHRONIZING PAINT MARKERS

Paint Markers mark the location of a defect on the tube. Yellow


paint indicates reject defects signals crossing Threshold 1 and
white indicates reject defect signals crossing Threshold 2. Note
that the paint marker will mark at a particular angular direction
on the circumference of the tube as has no way of knowing the
exact angular location of the defect. Thus a paint mark can
appear at 3 o’clock position on the tube when the defect could
be at say 8 o’ clock position. Paint Markers are situated at the
end of Feeding Unit after the Test Head. Therefore there needs
to be some delay between the detection of the defect and the
actuation of paint markers, as the section of the tube with the
defect takes some time to reach the Paint Marker location
before it is sprayed. The user can fill these values in the
parameters mark delays.

Again, the delays, like the dynamic gating delays, can be either
time-based or distance-based. The latter is the default, as it is
essentially speed-independent. Note, however, that these delays
depend on the encoder. If there is any slip between the tube and
the roller (on which the encoder is mounted) the paint mark
location can go off the actual. There is no solution to this other
than making sure the feeding unit rollers are correctly adjusted
and the tubes pass through the test head smoothly without
hindrance.

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TECHNOFOUR

3.1 OPERATING PROCEDURE

3.1.1 Switching on the system

After having a brief knowledge about operating basics


we can begin the operating procedure. Press the Green
push button on the system panel on the right corner
below the printer .This switches on the supply for the
Flawmark-EC electronic unit and the printer. The system
boots up and you enter the world of Flawmark-EC.

Warning : This assumes that the system is correctly


installed & wired by Technofour engineers.

3.1.2 Operating procedure

When the system is switched on a splash screen


welcomes the user.

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TECHNOFOUR

Press a key to continue.

i. Now the software will ask you to enter the


password for the security level you need to start
with.

Enter security level password for level 1 for


logging in the system as you need to set the
parameters.

ii. Confirm the material size (tube length and


diameter) and fill this information in the system
menu : Config -> Material Size.

iii. Switch on the saturation power supply using the


push button located on the pendant of the control
panel.

iv. Switch on the supply to the Feeding Unit so that


the rollers rotate at the required speed. The line
speed is indicated at the bottom of the parameter
panel.

v. Read the calibration procedure chapter 6, carefully


and implement it.

vi. Now the user will need to set the marker delays.
There are two methods to set the marker delays:

• Use auto delay menu item from the Config


menu. As the name suggests the system will
automatically set the delays for you. This
menu item is illustrated further, later in this
chapter.

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• In the method 2, the user needs to measure


the actual distances of the paint markers
from the center of the test head. These
distances, measured in centimeters should be
set as the marker delays for the Mrk1, Mrk2
parameters on the page 2.

Now the user needs to fine tune the delays a bit.


For the accept mark a fixed delay is used and the
tube is marked when px2 is off after that delay.
The above is applicable if the system is running
with the external encoder.

vii. Turn dynamic gate on and set front and rear


delays. Measure the distance of px1 from the
center of the test head and fill the basic values of
the delay front and delay rear. The user can take
help of ALT-F2 hotkeys and adjust the delays
minutely.

viii. Set alarm on.

ix. Finally, Demag supply should be switched On


using the pushbutton on the Pendant of Control
Panel for demagnetising the tested tubes.

x. Configure the print headers using the menu


Config>Set print format.

xi. Save the parameter set to a file with the


meaningful name. Take the print out of the
parameter for the documentation. Take the print
out of the signal data of the standard tube ( F2 -
ALT F2 hotkeys) for reference.

Now system is ready to test a batch of tubes.

Current results can be directly sent to printer. The user


can now enable result log to record the eddy current data
of the tested tubes to the recorder file.

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Ensure making Log results-Off after the testing has


been completed.

This file can be viewed and printed after the testing is


over.

Once calibrated, any tube with eddy current amplitude


greater than the upper threshold are marked and rejected.
Any tube with the signal amplitudes less than the
thresholds are accepted. It is important to note that if you
drill holes smaller than the standard defects, it would
result in the signal amplitudes less than the set upper
threshold and the tube will not be rejected.

After a set interval of time, run the standard tube again


and verify the calibration. If, all defects on the standard
tube are not detected, the user needs to perform
calibration again and retest the whole batch of tubes
tested after last calibration.

3.1.3 Recording The Tested Data

X and Y components of eddy current signal from any


tube can be saved to the hard disk in a record file which
contains digital signals from the all tubes in a batch. For
this purpose you need to enable logging of results, which
is disabled by default.

Select Record menu -> Log results—on menu item. You


are asked to enter or select the record file name. A
meaningful file name up to 8 characters must be chosen.
The user should asked for a serial no. if not previously
filled. Then the user is asked to fill the print headers.
Typical print header format would look like this.

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The system will save the data of the tested tubes in this
file.

3.1.4 Replay of the recorded data

The eddy current signal data, recorded in a record file can


be viewed in text format as well as in the graphics
format. Select Replay menu for this.

The menu item “view result” shows status record of each


recorded tube with the serial no., date and status of the
tube (Accept/Reject).

The menu item “Replay signal” displays an eddy current


data graphically. The complete signal data for each tube
is displayed in the compressed format one by one. (use
PGUP and PGDN).

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3.1.5 Printing reports

The Flawmark-EC software prints a variety of reports for


the documentation.

The current parameter set can be printed with Param


menu -> print Menu item.

Live results can be printed by selecting live print


result from the Record menu. Result information is
sent to the Printer as the result arrives.

Live eddy current signals can be printed by an option


in Record menu. The signal is captured when the test
lamp is on and it is sent to the printer.

Pre-recorded result file can be printed in text format


by Replay menu Print record menu item and in
graphics format by Replay menu Print signal menu
item.

Current status of the testing can be printed through the


Record menu Result Summary option.

Screen can be captured and sent to the printer any


time F4 hotkey or by display menu -> print screen
option.

The standard tube , compressed data can be printed in


F2-ALT F2 hotkeys ( Replay -> Show last tube)

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3.2 HOW TO OPTIMIZE SIGNAL TO NOISE RATIO?

Signal to noise ratio needs to be atleast 3. But typically you


should be able to get much higher. 3 tools are available for
optimization of signal to noise ratio.

3.2.1 Magnetizing using the Saturation Unit

Permeability variations due to random orientation of


magnetic domains cause severe noise which can even
swamp the eddy current signals. This noise can be
minimized by saturating the tube.

In Flawmark-EC System saturation can be adjusted in 2


steps: Normal and Boost with a switch mounted on
Saturation Coil. Generally thinner/lower diameter tube
will require `normal’ position and the thicker / high
diameter tubes will need `boost’ setting.

3.2.2 Phase sensitive Detection

In cases where production line vibrations or transport


mechanisms induce a lot of liftoff signal, it is a simple
matter to adjust phase such that this noise is all horizontal
with little vertical component. At this phase, even the
basic signal's projection on y axis reduces, because the
phase difference between liftoff and crack signals is
never 90 degrees. However, signal-to-noise ratio
certainly increases, and that's what counts.

3.2.3 Filters

By passing the eddy current signal through a band-pass


filter (realized in Flawmark-EC as separate high-pass and
low-pass filters for added flexibility) noise due to many
sources such as slow conductivity variations in tube,
gradual wall changes etc are reduced significantly.

Refer FAQ 9.1 and 9.4 for the detailed information.

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3.3 INTRODUCTION TO SECURITY LEVELS

When you run the system software program, you are asked for a
password. Depending on the password entered, you are allowed
into the system at the appropriate security level. Security Level
1 has the highest privileges, and Level 3 has the lowest.

At Security Level 1 you can change any system parameter or


configuration. You can also change passwords for all levels
from level 1. The system does not prevent you from changing
anything at this level. Thus, this level confers total power.

Security Level 2 has a limited access to the system. At this


level you cannot change major system parameters such as
frequency, gain, phase, evaluation mode, thresholds etc.
However, you can change various delays such as paint mark
delays etc. You are also allowed to log results and record
signals to disk and/or printer.

Security Level 3 restricts the user to merely viewing pre-


recorded data and print out parameters etc. NO parameters can
be changed at this level.

There are only three passwords in the system at any given time,
one for each security level. If one is changed, the old password
is overwritten. Make sure you do not forget your password at
least at level 1!

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3.4 OTHER IMPORTANT FEATURES

3.4.1 Auto/ Visual setting of the signal

Visual set and Auto set options can be used to set Gain
and phase for the testing. Auto setting automatically
adjusts the signal with reference to set thresholds. In
visual set, the user can set phase and gain of the signal.

3.4.2 Different types of Displays

Display option provides the user to view testing process


in composite display form where status of Proximity
Switches, sorting signals can be viewed. Graticule can be
switched either On /Off depending on the user whether
he wishes to have a scaled grid or not. Parameters and
XY display can be Zoomed too!

3.4.3 Auto setting of Delays

The auto delay option (config menu->material size-


>Material size) helps the user to set the delays for the
paint markers. The user has to enter the outer diameter
and the length of the tube. The system then calculates the
delays for the paint markers. Delays calculated are for
marker 1 and marker 2 only. Accept marker has a fixed
delay. Also this menu item sets front and rear delays for
the tube front and rear end suppression.

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3.4.4 Absolute Channel

The Absolute Channel is required to check open weld


defects of the tube. This Channel works on the frequency
same as Differential Channel. The user can set gain, gain
type ,filter and phase for this channel. The Absolute
Channel always works in Amplitude mode. The user has
to balance the channel on the good portion of the tube.
The channel output is displayed as a bar graph on the
screen. Special threshold (Threshold ABS) and Marker
(Mark ABS) are provided for this channel. Smart balance
technique is used to balance the channel automatically
against the drift.

3.4.5 F2 & ALT-F2: (Shows the signal of last tube tested)

Last Tube Display (F2)

Use F2 and Alt F2 tool before testing the batch of the


tubes. These are the help tools for the calibration and
setting the dynamic gate delays.

The YT display shows the eddy current signal data of full


tube in a compressed format. The Differential Channel is

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shown in Golden Yellow colour and Absolute channel is


shown in Aqua Blue colour.

Thresholds are drawn and their actual % values and


amplitudes both are displayed to make the comparison
easy. This display helps the user is checking the
repeatability, checking S/N ratio and deciding the gain
parameter. The signal to be viewed can be selected by
moving the blue cursor lines. The selected signal
amplitude is written at the bottom of the cursor line.

If the display is phase sensitive, Y component of signal is


shown on YT display and in other display modes,
amplitude of signal is shown. The XY display shows the
actual XY location of the selected signal data. The angle,
amplitude and distance from the start of tube is also
displayed on the screen. The FWD and BS arrow keys
are use for fine movement of the cursor lines and UP/DN
keys for course movement.

Last Tube Display (Alt-F2)

In ALT-F2 hotkeys, additionally two Red lines are drawn


which indicate the end suppression. The threshold
circuits are enabled only for the portion between the two

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red lines. The first red line from left denotes DF and end
red line denotes DR. Any signals before the start red line
and the signals after the end red lines are not taken into
consideration for the tube detection. The user can finely
tune DF and DR with the help of this tool.

The distance of the defect along the length of the tube


from the start can be viewed using these hot keys.

If these hot keys are used, a print of standard tube data


used for the calibration can be taken. The data of the
standard tube becomes very important in verifying the
correctness major parameter set for testing. Following
above procedures will definitely make you feel confident
for testing the tubes using Flawmark EC.

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3.4.6 Saved record Information

When the user sets record log on ie he starts record file,


saved record indication appears at the bottom of the
parameter area. The user can cross-check the record file
generation by this facility. The user should take
corrective action if this indication does not match with
the serial number. See the bitmap below...

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4. CONTROL SOFTWARE AND HARDWARE


CONTROLS
4.1 FLAWMARK-EC ELECTRONIC UNIT FRONT PANEL

Front panel consists of :

4.1.1 Color LCD MONITOR FOR Display

Color LCD MONITOR is provided to display various


parameters as well as defect signals in XY, YT mode
alongwith set thresholds.

4.1.2 Keyboard

A keyboard is provided to select, edit, enter various


parameters.

4.1.3 Floppy Disk drive

1.44MB floppy disk drive is provided to obtain back up


of files (Result/Parameter/Bitmap) generated while
testing.

4.1.4 Key lock switch

This is a hardware key lock switch provided for avoiding


un-authorized access to the system in addition to
password security level

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4.2 FLAWMARK-EC ELECTRONIC UNIT BACK PANEL

Back panel consists of :

4.2.1 Connectors

INPUT/OUTPUT D-50 connector : This connector


deals with various consoles such as proximity switches,
paint markers, encoder, solenoids etc.

COM1 (D-9) COM2 (D-25) : Two serial communication


ports are provided. Mouse should be connected to
COM1.

VGA D-15 Connector : External VGA monitor can be


connected via this connector.

MCB : A Miniature Circuit Breaker (MCB) is mounted


on the back panel. It trips off when the current drawn by
the Electronic Unit exceeds the threshold.

AC Mains Socket is also present on the back panel

M.S. 7 pin Test Hose Connector : Test head is


connected to this connector with help of Test Hose.

Printer Port : Printer can be connected at this port.

Connector names are engraved on back panel.

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4.3 AUTO SORT CONSOLE BACK PANEL

4.3.1 50 Pin Male Connector

This is 50 Pin D Type Connector between Auto Sort


Console and Flawmark-EC Electronic Unit.

4.3.2 24 Pin RPC Connector

Signal outputs for the solenoids are taken out through this
connector.

4.3.3 8 Pin RPC Connector

This connector contains potential free open collector


outputs.

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4.4 CONTROL SOFTWARE

4.4.1 Menu System Basics

The screen is divided into 5 work areas.

i) Top menu bar


ii) Parameter area
iii) Status area
iv) Bottom help line
v) Signal area.

Top Menu Bar

The top line in the display is the Menu Bar. When the
system starts the cursor is in the parameter panel. Press
F10 to activate the menu bar. Menu cursor is dark blue.
Press Enter to select the menu and menu window opens
disclosing the sub options of the menu. Here white cursor
is used to select the menu item. Press enter to execute the
selected menu item. Bottom lines brief the function of the

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selected menu item. Date is displayed on the right corner


of the menu bar.

Parameter area

The dark blue area on the right is the Parameter Panel.


The user can set system parameters through this panel.
The yellow color of the parameter denotes selected
parameter or parameter cursor. Serial no. , Linear speed
and parameter file name is displayed at the bottom of the
parameter area. Offline keypad is also displayed in this
area. There are three screen type parameter1 , parameter2
and offline key pad. When result log is switched on,
result file name is displayed along with the “result save”
indication.

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Status Area

The blue area next to it is status area. Test lamp is


displayed on the top. Indications for defect and marker
lamps are below the test lamp. Status of last tested tube is
shown by last lamp. If a tube is set in standard mode the
standard lamp (AQUA) glows below the last lamp. The
live result printing switch on is denoted by a printer
bitmap in the status area.

Bottom Help Line

The white line at the bottom is the prompt line that shows
help hints and message lines.

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Signal Area

The gray area of the screen is the slate where all graphics
is displayed. The real time eddy current signals from the
test head for differential as well as Absolute Channel are
displayed in XY and YT modes. Thresholds are drawn
with respect to the selected evaluation mode according to
their amplitudes. Thresholds 1 and 2 are applicable for
the differential channel and they are drawn in WHITE
color. Threshold 3 is drawn in AQUA color on
differential channel signal area. The absolute threshold
Thr Abs is drawn in WHITE color in absolute channel
signal area and Thr Abs1 which is smart balance
threshold is drawn in AQUA color in absolute channel
signal area. When the user selects from various types of
displays all of them are displayed in this signal area.
Replay or text view of the pre-recorded result file is
shown in this signal area.

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For such an advanced and powerful equipment,


FLAWMARK-EC is surprisingly the user friendly in
operation. The credit goes in no small measure to
carefully designed graphical user interface and the
thoughtfully designed menu system.

4.4.2 Keyboard basics

The keyboard is the sole means of textual communication


with the system.

Arrow keys are extensively used in menu navigation and


in dialog operation. UP and DN arrow keys move cursor
in UP/DN direction. FWD and BS arrow keys are used
on menu bar to select the desired menu option.
PGUP/PGDN keys are used to change parameter page in
the parameter panel.

How to change the parameter value ?

In parameter area cursor is denoted by LYELLOW color


of the parameter. The user can edit the current parameter
value. The parameters are divided in to two types:
Numeric parameters and logical parameters. To edit the
numeric parameters:

The user can directly fill the numeric values.

The user can press Enter. A green cursor at numeric


value field is displayed. The user can now use Arrow
keys to modify the value or feed new value. Values
increased or decreased with the UP/DN arrow keys take
immediate effect and system is modified immediately.

The user cannot discard the value set by UP/DN


arrow keys.

When the user presses Enter, the new value is accepted.


If he needs to discard the value, ESC should be pressed.
ESC retains the original value.

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Logical parameters are the parameters who has values


other than numeric values. They have legends in the
value field. To edit such parameters, select the required
parameter. Press enter. A green cursor will be displayed.
Use UP/DN arrow keys to modify the legend. Press ESC
or Enter when done.

For certain windows cursor is displayed by Red Dot. It is


moved by UP/DN arrow keys . The user needs to select
the required item. Now you can modify that item by
directly entering numeric values.

Always refer the Bottom Help Lines if problem


occurs.

Enter key also plays an important role in certain dialogs.

Esc key lets you backtrack from most situations.

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Hot keys

Also the system contains some special function keys,


the system Hot Keys:

F1 : Help

Opens the online help manual for the relevant topic.

F2 – ALT F2 hotkeys
F2 : Show Last Tube

Selects menu option Show Last Tube. The user can


view/print the eddy current signal data of the last tube
tested in the compressed format. Refer operating basics
to know more details.

ALT-F2 : Show Last Tube (Dynamic gate on)

The user can view/print the eddy current signal data of


the last tube with the tube start and tube end signals. The
data is displayed in the compressed format. Refer
operating basics to know more details.

F3 : Capture Screen

Current screen is captured and written to the user


specified file in bitmap format

F4 : Print Screen

Current screen is printed on Deskjet printer.

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F5 :Standard Tube off

This toggles std tube test on/off. On is indicated by an


aqua lamp. This option should be enabled while testing
standard tube. If this is enabled, standard tube testing
does not affect result totals. The status of the tube is
indicated as “Standard “ in current result display. The
result is not sent to the printer or not stored in the record
file.

C : Clear Signal screen

It is operative in storage mode. Clears XY signal screen


when storage mode is on.

F10 : Select Menu Area

Cursors moves to menu area and the user can select


different menus. After pressing ESC, he can switch to
parameter panel again.

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4.4.3 Pull down menus and description

Configure menu

The Config Menu has the following pop-up options :

Security allows you to change security access levels and


passwords.

The user can modify the passwords or change the current


security level by this option.

Steps to change the security level :

• Select this menu item


• Enter level 1 password.
• Enter the new level that you wish to set.
• Press ‘n’ for change password question.

Steps to change the password for some level –

Select this menu item.


Enter level 1 password
Enter the level of which the password is to be
changed
Press ‘y’ for change password ? option
Enter the old password
Enter the new password
Reconfirm the correct new password.

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The system will set this new password.

Illustration :

Suppose Level 1 password is “ABC”. Level 2 password


is “GUI” and the user wants to set the new password
“Friend”.

Press enter to select this option A window will popup


asking for a password.

The user must be a security supervisor means the security


level person to change password or security level. Here
the user must enter Level 1 password. Enter the
password “ABC”.

If the password is verified, you are asked to specify the


new security level or a level for which the user needs to
change the password.

Enter the desired level. Enter 2 to choose level 2.

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The option asks you if you want to change the password


for that level.

Now press Y to this question and proceed to change the


password.

It asks you the previous password, Enter the password


“GUI”.

Then the system will prompt for new password and re-
confirmation of new password.

Now enter the new password “Friend” correctly

New password “Friend “ will be set for the level 2. The


software will work in Level 2.

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After you finish doing this, you are back in the Config
popup menu, with the new security level showing in the
menu.

The set/changed security level is valid for that session.


Once the user shuts off the system , the system is
configured again for the security level set by the initial
password entered at the startup.

Print Format makes it possible to customize header


information in all printed parameter reports.

The opening field of the print format is crest line. As the


name suggests this line will serve the purpose of heading
for the ports. The user can divide his information into
four tags and fill the tag names after the crest line. These
tags will be saved. While creating a result file or printing
a parameter file , the information related to tags should
be filled. This information is also saved to hard-disk. A
typical print format will be like this

When this option is displayed the user is prompted to fill


the tag names/print headers one by one Previous print
head is displayed in gray color for the user reference.
ESC key is used to discard the changes in the filed. Enter
key after filling the information sets the new print head.
The user can press ESC even if he does not wish to
modify the specific field.

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Change Path : This option sets dos path. Parameter /


Result files are stored to or retrieved from the path set by
this option. If the user copies EC software to some other
directory or on newhard-disk, it is necessary to change
the path.

Material size enables the user to set the length of the


tube and the outer diameter of the tube. Also the marker
delays can be set automatically through this mode.

The user must know about Site configuration before


using this option. Site-configuration is the help tool for
the user. You can refer control software Site-
Configuration section. The user needs to fill information
in site-configuration. With the help of constants from site
configuration and tube length and diameter, marker
delays and front - rear end delays (DF/DR) are calculated
automatically. By moving cursor, the user can fill tube
length and diameter. Take the cursor to Auto Delay
question and press Y to set marker delays automatically.
Refer Bottom Help Line.

Auto set / Visual set helps user to set phase and gain of
the system. It is the powerful feature of Flawmark - EC.

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The system can automatically set testing parameters for a


given batch of tubes. This feature is especially valuable
in online testing where generally a standard defect (a
hole) is introduced in the strip to be welded, and
parameters such as gain and phase are set depending on
signal obtained for this defect. Prior to Flawmark-EC this
setting used to be a guess due to the fact that passing
such standard defects repetitively to ensure correct
setting of parameters was impractical as it was
uneconomical. After all a tube, which begets the hole has
to be rejected!

The Auto Setting option takes all the guesswork out of


the setting.

All you need to do is start off with an educated guess, or


a ballpark setting of parameters. Use a frequency
appropriate to the application, drill a single standard hole
in the tube. Press enter and pass the tube through the test
head. Check signal of hole on screen and press enter
again. At this point stop sampling and you are done. The
system automatically decides what gain and phase is to
be used for this lot.

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Visual Set is an extremely convenient method of


adjusting gain and phase at one go without entering
actual values on keyboard. The procedure in doing so is
extremely easy:

Choose the Visual Setting option from Config popup


menu. A window will popup showing two labels: Start
sampling and Stop sampling. A highlight will appear on
the Start sampling label. Now press enter key to start
sampling signal. Pass the tube through test head. The
display changes to storage mode and all signals appear
stored on screen.

When you have a right kind of signal - one which you


might want to appear at a different amplitude and phase-
press enter again to stop sampling. This procedure is
same as auto setting.

Now a red cross cursor will appear at the tip of the signal
on screen (typically this occurs for the biggest signal).
Move the cursor to a location where you want this
particular signal to be. Press enter again.

The Red cross is moved with Arrow keys in four


Directions. Use PGUP/PGDN for course movement in
the selected direction.

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Illustration:

That is all. You will find that the gain and phase have
changed so that the next time you pass the same tube that
particular signal will now appear at the designated place.

Set std tube off (F5) A facility provided to test a


standard tube without its effect on the total result. It
allows the user to test and confirm the calibration of the
system without the need to close the result file. On is
indicated by an aqua lamp.

When the user sets this option , in the current results


screen , status of the tube is "Standard Tube". The serial
no. is not incremented. The result is not logged to the
printer.

But F2- Alt -F2 hot key ties can be used to view or print
standard tube data.

Smart Bal On..Off This option enables or disables smart


balance feature for the absolute channel. When it is off ..
the system will not run smart balance feature.

The absolute channel has a tendency to drift with the


temperature. A special threshold is provided (Thr ABS 1)
for this feature. When this option is set on , the system
monitors absolute channel output. When it crosses the
smart balance threshold and it is less than half of main
absolute reject threshold , the system warns the user to
check the balance of the absolute channel.

Quit allows the user to Quit the program.

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Parameter Menu

The Parameter Menu has the following popup options:

Load option brings up a list box from where you select


one of the parameter files shown. The selection is carried
out by pressing up/down arrow keys and if necessary
PGUP /PGDN keys if the required file is not on the list
shown. Once the highlight is on the required filename,
press enter to load it in current set of parameters. All
loaded parameters take effect immediately.

If you change mind while navigating the selection list


box, press Esc key to get back to the Param popup menu

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Create enables the user to create a new parameter file.


You are asked for a filename for the new file which you
input in a dialog box. A new parameter file is then
created with default set of parameters. It is best to go
through all parameters and edit them to desired values.

Write To option is useful when you change a set of


parameters for a particular application and then wish to
save the changes as a new parameter file, rather than the
original.

Save This option allows to saves the results and the


parameters.

Print prints the current set of parameters

A printer header window appears on the screen. The user


is asked to fill information of the tag. He can just press
ESC to retain the previously filled information.

Delete deletes the saved parameter file from hard disk.

Prohibition of deletion of current files is done


automatically. So selecting this option for house-keeping
may be a wise decision.

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Record Menu

The record menu has following pop up options:

Serial Number allows you to set the current serial


number for testing.

Previous serial no. displayed for the user convenience.


When the user creates a result file he can change the
serial no. even at that time. When a new serial no. is set,
all the totals are reset to zero.

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Log Results on/off option lets you log the results that
come in to disk. It will ask for a filename to store the
results to. The list of file names is displayed. The user
can select from the list or can enter a meaningful name
upto 8 characters without an extension.

The user can set the serial no. for the testing. He will be
automatically prompted for the serial no. entry if serial
no. is not set previously. The user is prompted to fill
printer header information and it is saved to the result file
for future reference. The indication of saved result in
displayed on the screen as a n additional check at the
bottom of the parameter panel.

If a previously recorded file is chosen , then it will let


you decide whether to overwrite the file or append new
results to the existing file.

Press O to overwrite the original file or A to append to


the file. The user should be careful while appending to
result file The user can append records if and only if the
last saved serial no. matches with the current serial no.

Do not use the floppy disk drive to log results.

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Live Printing result option sends current results (text


format) to the printer. In general, switch on the printer
before turning this option on when current results are
expected and switch the printer off only after turning the
option off.

Printer LOGO indicates that the either current signal or


result printing is selected.

Deskjet printer technology collects information to be


printed in a buffer and when buffer is full or it received
Eject command, starts printing the data. So in case of live
printing, data is printed after buffer is filled with data
details of sufficient tubes. The user cannot view instant
printing.

Live print signal option sends the eddy current signals in


the form of strip chart recorder to the printer. Signal
bytes are send only when tube testing is in process i.e.
test lamp is ON.

Printer LOGO indicates that the either current signal or


result printing is selected.

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Current Results

This option shows the current results on screen in the


display area as they arrive. When this option is
operational, each result is displayed on screen with tube
status and serial number. To get back to normal display,
press Esc.

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Result Summary Using this option we come to total


number of tubes in accepted, rejected or salvaged lot. The
user can print summary report any time by pressing 'P'
from the keyboard.

Replay Menu

Show Last Tube (Hot key F2) allows the user to see the
signal over the entire length of the last tested tube in
compressed form. This tool is explained in operating
procedure. The printouts are very important to
compare previous S/N ratios and correctness of
settings.

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The YT display shows the compressed eddy current


signal data with the blue cursor for Absolute &
Differential Channels. Signal amplitude, distance XY
location is displayed on the screen. The print outs are
also important to use as a record for the future
reference.

Last Tube Display (F2)

If the user needs to see front and rear delays, use Alt F2.

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A pre – recorded result file can be viewed or printed


in either text or in graphics format by the following
options. The user needs to select a file from the shown
directory.

View result allows the user to see the saved result file in
text format.

At the start of view, result header is displayed and the


user can read information about tested lot of tubes.

Major parameters at the time of testing are displayed on


parameter area.

The whole batch of the tubes can be viewed with serial


no. and status. In case of reject tubes, no. of defects are
also displayed. The file is viewed with the time stamps.

Press PGUP /PGDN to view the whole batch.

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Result summary is displayed at the end of the selected


result file.

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Replay signal

When the user logs on the result file, test data is saved
into record file. This option allows the user to view tube
data in compressed format. XY and YT displays are
available with amplitude and angle information. Start is
with result headers describing the tested lot. The user can
view defect signals and analyze them. Major parameters
are also displayed on the parameter area of the screen.
The user can print the current tube with 'P' option or can
print the entire screen.

At the start of view, replay header is displayed and the


user can read information about tested lot of tubes.

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Data from previously recorded file can be printed in


text format or in graphics format.

Print result allows the user to print the previously


logged file data in text format. The user is asked to select
the result file. Start & end serial nos. are asked after file
selection. The cover page print is optional. The user can
selectively print only reject records or required no. of
records.

Print Record allows the user to print the signal in


compress format for each saved tube. The procedure is
same as of print result. The user has to give the file name,
start record no. and end record no. Cover page is also
same as print result.

Illustration :

Select the previously recorded data file

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The cover page prints saved header information in the


beginning. The pre-recorded result file name is printed
along with the parameter set. The summary of the whole
batch is printed at the end of the cover page.

If print only reject is selected by pressing ‘Y’, only the


reject tube records are printed.

Delete Record option lets the user to delete the stored


recorder output file for housekeeping.

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TECHNOFOUR

Display Menu

The display menu has following pop up options :

Zoomed Parameter Display The main parameters can


be displayed in large characters on the screen. This is
sometimes useful as the values can be read from a fair
distance. An inspector, for example, can keep an eye on
the parameters without being right next to the system. Of
course, he might as well change security level to achieve
the same peace of mind.

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TECHNOFOUR

OFFLINE KEY PAD can be called from menu bar by


this option. When the user is in the parameter panel, he
can PGUP/PGDN and select the offline keypad. The
main parameters are displayed after offline keypad.

This offline keypad is not applicable if the user have


full automation system.

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TECHNOFOUR

Storage Display is useful when you need to "store" the


signal as you would on a storage oscilloscope. Only the
XY portion of the display is stored. The upper portion
still mimics a recorder (which, of course, can be stored to
disk or printed on paper). The 'c' key can be used to clear
the display.

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TECHNOFOUR

Animation Various configurations of the system (online,


offline, inline and continuous) are represented in this
display as animated diagrams. In online systems, the
animation is in the form of a flying saw and paint
markers. For offline/inline systems the animation shows
tubes being fed into feeding unit, passed through the test
coil and sorted into accept/reject/salvage bins as per the
test results. The animation attempts to stay as close to the
actual progress of a tube in the real system as possible.
The basic purpose of this display is in diagnostics, as it
shows the status of each proximity switch and solenoid

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TECHNOFOUR

Composite This is a diagnostic display allowing the user


to view the status of switches, parameters and totals.

Capture Screen and print screen facilities can be used


with all types of displays.

Capture Screen asks the user filename and the current


screen is saved in bitmap file format .

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TECHNOFOUR

4.5 SETTING THE PARAMETERS

The switching over from menus to parameter is done using the


F10 & ESC keys. Following parameter display is visible on the
right side of the screen. The key parameters are explained in
‘Operation’ chapter in detail.

Frequency allows the user to enter the frequency for testing.


Allowable range is from 1Khz to 1Mhz.Generally higher
frequencies are employed for lower conductivity metals and
lower frequencies for higher conductivity metals. A typical
values of the frequencies are is 5KHZ and 10KHz for the steel.

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TECHNOFOUR

Phase allows the user to rotate the phase of the displayed signal
from 0 to 360 degrees. It is important in phase sensitive and
sector modes.

The phase can also be set automatically using two unique


features of FLAWMARK-EC. You can use the Visual Setting
from the Parameter popup menu, or use the Automatic Setting
from the same menu to capture signal from a standard defect
made on the tube and automatically or visually set the gain and
the phase of testing. Phase rotation is especially important in
phase sensitive detection mode and in phase + amplitude mode.

Phase is useful in maximizing signal/noise ratio. When a range


of phase angles is to be rejected or considered for the detection
Phase + Amplitude mode is selected. Threshold sector setting
decides sector angle. All the signals that fall out of sectors are
not considered for the detection in spite of their amplitude. In
some cases dents have no particular consequences and signals
due to dent must be left out of decision-making. In such cases it
is possible to adjust the phase so that signals due to dent are
largely horizontal or atleast beyond the sector.

Gain allows the user to alter the amplification of the signal.


Range is 20.0 dB to 79.9 dB.

Preamp has three switches – Buck, Boost & Normal. Setting


the gain to normal keep the amplification to entered value of
gain. when set to boosted the entered value of gain is doubled.
When Buck option is selected the entered value of gain is
halved.

Filter High Pass & Filter Low Pass sets High pass and Low
pass filters. Adjust the filters according to signal frequency and
speed of testing to get good S/N ratio. HP Filter range is 1 Hz –
256 Hz and LP Filter range is 1 Hz – 512 Hz.

FiltA This sets low pass filter for absolute channel.

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TECHNOFOUR

FiltSig sets filter on the server board. Set this with respect to
signal amplitude and the speed of testing. If the speed of the
testing is very low you may need to modify this option . Else
keep the option on “Low”. The switches are Low, Medium,
High for this parameter.

Evaluation mode Selects one of the following evaluation mode :

Phase Sensitive : Y Threshold


Amplitude : Circular thresholds
Phase + Amplitude: Sector

The modes are explained in `Operation’ chapter.

Sele YT This option selects YT display in the display area. The


user can select absolute or differential channels individually or
simultaneously.

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TECHNOFOUR

Parameter Screen 2

Threshold 1 and 2 sets rejection threshold for rejecting tubes.


Range is 1% to 100% for threshold setting. Threshold 1 can act
as reject threshold and threshold 2 can act as salvage threshold if
they are selected simultaneously.

Threshold 3 is third threshold used to monitor noise level in


bar/tube. The information plays no role in sorting but can be
used as a feedback for production his sets threshold for absolute
defects

Threshold Sector sets sector angle of phase and amplitude


detection. Range is 20 deg. to 80 deg. The signals that are
outside the sector angle are rejected.

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TECHNOFOUR

Threshold Abs sets rejection threshold for Absolute Channel.


Range is 1% to 100% for threshold setting.

Threshold Abs 1 sets smart balance threshold for Absolute


Channel. When output of Absolute Channel exceeds this
threshold, a warning message is displayed for balancing Absolute
Channel if the smart balance feature from configuration menu is
on. Thr ABS1 cant exceed Threshold ABS /2.

Marker 1 refers to the marker delay associated with upper


threshold when the pulsing source is External Encoder (The
recommended and default state) the delay is in terms of
centimeters. For INT CLK option of pulsing source the delays
are in milliseconds. Range is from 10 cm – 900 cm.

Marker 2 This refers to the marker delay associated with lower


threshold. When the pulsing source is External Encoder (The
recommended and default state) the delay is in terms of
centimeters. For INT CLK option of pulsing source the delays
are in milliseconds. Range is from 10 cm – 900 cm.

Marker A refers to the marker delay associated with Absolute


Channel when the pulsing source is External Encoder (The
recommended and default state) the delay is in terms of
centimeters. For INT CLK option of pulsing source the delays
are in milliseconds. Range is from 10 cm – 900 cm.

Delay Front is operational when dynamic gate is on and meant


for front end suppression. Range is from 10 cm - 900 cm.

Delay Rear operational when dynamic gate is on and meant for


rear end suppression. Range is from 10 cm – 900 cm.

Pulse Source enables the user to test the tube either using the
internal clock of the system or by the external pulses of
encoder.

Alarm Switching it to ON /FF enables/disables the audio


indication.

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TECHNOFOUR

Dynamic Gate When the tube enters the test head larger
change in the permeability occurs in the vicinity of the coil.
Due to which a large signal is captured. This would be
interpreted as defect. When Dynamic gate is made ON the test
lamp turns on after particular time delay, when PX1 switches
On. This is Delay front .The testing starts after leaving some
front end portion of the tube. When the tube leaves PX1 the test
lamp is off after certain time delay (Delay Rear). Keeping the
Dynamic gate off makes Test lamp On only when PX1 and PX2
are On.

MF Out is useful if Multifect-Test system is coupled with


Flawmark Test System.

Offline Keypad

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TECHNOFOUR

The offline key pad allows the user to actually control the
automatic testing process of bar or tubes. The key can be
selected using arrow keys. The selected key is shown in Bright
yellow color. When Enter key is pressed the selected key is
operative. The main parameters are displayed for the user
reference.

The key pad includes :

STOP : Allows the user to stop the V rollers and stop


automation cycles.

FWD : Governs forward motion of tubes or bars.

REV : Governs reverse motion of tubes or bars.

AUTO : Mode allows the user to put the machine in auto


testing mode.

CHG : Activates the charging solenoid so that tube/bar is


placed on V rollers from the stand.

STD : This option is enabled through F5.

SNGL : Allows testing of single tube.

BENT : Allows to sort the bent tube. Here if PRX1 is ON


and PRX2 is off indicating that the tube, is bent is
sorted after reversing it and then sorting it in bent
bin.

SORT : Activates the sorting solenoids.

The key LEDS are shown by rectangles in left


most corner of the key. Activation is indicated by
Bright Red color.

The offline keypad is useful for the users who use fully
automatic system.

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TECHNOFOUR

5. SIZE CHANGE

• Remove the tube from the Feeding Unit.

• Switch off the Saturation Supply, Demag Supply by off push


button on the Pendant.

• Switch off FTS-EC Electronic Unit. Make sure to Quit from the
system before switching off the system.

• Lift all Pressure Rollers by UP push button.

• Loose both Front and Rear Guide Plates provided for locking
the horizontal movement.

• Loose the 4 pillar guide.

• Move the Saturation Coil in forward direction till it stops, by


forward push button.

• Move the Saturation Coil in up direction by UP push button.

• Unlock both Front and Back Guide Bush Clamp Lever.

• Remove the Test Hose Cable from the Test Head.

• Remove Front and Back Guide Bush by slowly moving Bush in


anti-clock wise direction.

• Remove the Test Head from the Saturation Coil.

• Insert appropriate size Test Head, Front and Back Bush


Adapter. (Sizes are written on bushes).

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TECHNOFOUR

• Insert Front and Back Bushes properly so that bush will


perfectly guide the head.

• Now clamp the front and back bushes.

• Move the coil platform in UP/DN/FWD/BS direction and align


the tube perfectly.

• Switch on the Saturation Power Supply. Pass the tube. Confirm


that tube is passing smoothly.

• Tighten 4 Pillar Guide.

• Tighten Front and Rear Guide Plate.

• Follow the calibration procedure.

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TECHNOFOUR

6. CALIBRATING FOR A TUBE DIAMETER


Choose the correct Test Head for this tube diameter and insert the
head into the saturation coil as described under the section on Size
Change. Carry out other required mechanical adjustments as well
using the correct standard tube. Connect the test hose cable to the test
head via the connector provided. Make sure the test head is very
concentric with the standard tube.

6.1 Set Flawmark-EC parameters:

If you have previously tested this size of tube, you can load the
same set of parameters from disk as a starting set of values.
Otherwise proceed as follows :

i) Choose a test frequency. For ferromagnetic tubes 5 KHz


is a good starting value. You can use higher frequencies
for thin walled tubes, but frequencies more than 10 KHz
are rarely needed.
ii) Select a starting gain value. 30 dB is a decent value for
the frequency channel.

iii) Set the evaluation mode to Phase Sensitive.

iv) Select initial Filter values. Set high pass filter to 10 Hz


and low pass filter to 100 Hz.

v) Select a starting phase value. Simply set it to 0 degrees.

vi) Set threshold values. You can start with both high and
low threshold values of 50%.

vii) Set Dynamic Gate to off.

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TECHNOFOUR

Switch on the saturation supply.

Pass the standard tube through the test head at a constant test
speed with the standard hole pointing upwards (12 o’clock
position). After the tube leaves the test head, press ‘F2’ key on
the keyboard. This will cause a ‘strip chart’ to appear on the
LCD screen, with signals corresponding with standard defects.
Arrow keys (Right and Left arrow) can be used to move a
cursor along the strip chart shown. Position the cursor to the
first standard defect. On the x-y display shown below the strip
chart, the signal vector corresponding with the cursor location
is displayed, and the amplitude and angle readout shown next to
the vector display. Note this angle. Ideally, the vector should
appear vertical on the display. If it does not appear vertical,
change the phase setting of the instrument by the difference of
the shown vector and the vertical .

Repeat step 4 if you need to change the phase above. Finally the
signal due to the standard defect appears vertical at the correct
phase setting. Also note the amplitude of the signal. Adjust
differential gain setting of the instrument and repeat step 4 as
many times as required so that the signal due to the standard
defect appears vertical and its amplitude just crosses the set
threshold for that channel.

Any “grass” (to borrow a term from ultrasonic testing) you see
around the signals due to the standard defects, and which you
cannot attribute to small defects, is noise. You can measure the
amplitude of the noise by moving the cursor to such a location.
Thus, you can calculate the signal-to-noise ratio at this set of
parameters for this standard tube: Simply divide the signal
amplitude by the noise amplitude.

Optimize the signal-to-noise ratio by changing the high-pass


and the low-pass filter values, and repeating step 4 as many
times as required.

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TECHNOFOUR

You will get extreme noise if saturation remains off by mistake.


Again, step 4 will be required as often as necessary to arrive at
final setting.

All of the procedure above was for the standard defect passed in
one orientation (e.g. hole at 12 o’clock position on tube). You
must ensure concentricity of test head with respect to the tube
by also passing the tube in three other orientations: holes held at
3o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock. Each time measure the signal
due to the standard defect. If there is too much of variation (say
more than 15%) between them, attempt to adjust the coil
platform suitably by very small movements (typically 0.1mm to
0.2mm each time), and run tube in four orientations again. Keep
doing this by trial and error till you arrive at an acceptable
difference. There is little point in going below 10% in most
applications.

This completes the core set of parameters. Except the safety


factor. We now increase the gain by 2 dB . As a result, the
signal amplitude for the standard defect is a little more than the
set threshold value. This gives us improved confidence in
subsequent testing. (Refer to the FAQs on Signal-to-noise ratio
as well as Test repeatability).

Two more steps need to be taken before you can begin testing a
new lot of tubes: Adjusting paint marker delays and adjusting
end suppress settings after changing gating to ‘Dynamic Gate
on’. You might also want to start logging test data to disk
before you begin testing a batch of tubes. These steps are
described in subsequent sections.

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TECHNOFOUR

7. TROUBLE SHOOTING
7.1 SOFTWARE ERRORS

NOTE :

The user can select displays , view help , log result on-off , pre-
view files only when he is in default display mode. The opening
display of the system is the default display. All most all
operations are carried with that display. The user can not quit
from the system if he is not in the default display screen.
Parameter modification, directly ( by editing the values) or
indirectly (by loading file , auto set etc) is prohibited if the user
is not in the default display screen. ESC key leads the user
towards the default display screen. The user can print one report
at a time. If live signal or live print is on, he can not print
parameters or screen.

Hardware Error 01

Press ‘G’. The user would hear 2 beeps. Press ‘H’. Certain
information would be displayed. The user should note them
down. conform the counts with the Technofour and conform
whether hardware error in ADC card has occurred and it needs
a replacement.

Hardware error 02

System is hanged and needs to be restarted

Hardware error 01

Replace the coil

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TECHNOFOUR

Result printing ON :
Recorder printing ON :
Printer is busy :
Signal printing ON :
Recorder log enabled :

The user can print either signal or results. The user can print
pre-recorded data if there is no data logging or no live printing.
Pre-recorded data can be viewed or printed if only if tube
testing is off. The user also cannot print the current file or file
in use.

File already exist

The user cannot 'create' a new file of the same name. In case of
parameter set the user can load pre recorded set. In case of
result and recorder user can print/view/replay the pre- recorded
files.

No specified directory exists.


No .xxx files in the folder
Directory folder is empty. The user can change the folder or can
create new file in the folder with default values.

Cannot view Current File


The user can view only prerecorded files.

Error opening file


Error saving the file
File creation error
System is unable to read from or write to a file. Check hard disk
space.

Error opening config file


Error saving config file

Error in system configuration file. Reload epcconf.cfg in the


current program directory from backup floppy disk.

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TECHNOFOUR

Can’t delete current file


The user cannot delete file in use.

Error opening default par set


Bitmap data file missing
Header data files are missing. Copy all .dat files from backup
floppy into current program directory.

File Allocation error


System error. If possible reboot the system. Close all the
opened files and save parameter set if needed.

Recorder file is blank


Cannot view blank result/recorder files.

Data logging prohibited

The user cannot create recorder or result files when Test lamp is
on i.e. tube testing is in process.

Serial no. change prohibited


Frequency / Eval mode change prohibited.
The user cannot change serial no. if data logging is on or when
test lamp is on. The user cant change test frequency or
evaluation mode when data logging is enabled.

Frequency change prohibited


The user cannot change frequency if data logging is enabled.

Parameter entry prohibited.


File creation prohibited at this level
Screen capture prohibited at this level
Security level should be checked.

Improper signal
Do auto setting and visual setting again.

No data logged
No data is saved so cant view last tube.

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TECHNOFOUR

7.2 HARDWARE ERRORS

No defect signal on tube detected inspite of confirmation by


visual inspection or cold testing of Test Head (Refer Test
Head checking procedure).

The first attack should be done on Test Hose. Properly connect


the test hose to test head and unit. Refer Test Hose details and
verify whether all the connections are proper. If they are found
to be correct then some problem has cropped from the machine.
Check the drive to coil. Conform that a sine wave of 15V (p-p)
appears between A and B terminals of test hose using the
oscilloscope.

If sine wave is not seen than the Drive box or FTS_S card needs
to be replaced. Change the card or drive box as per clauses
mention under precautionary measures while replacing the
PCB.

Defect is detected, alarm is heard but Paint Markers are not


working

The paint markers work on 230V AC supply. They are driven


by SSR`s located in interface box.. Check the connections to
paint markers from interface box as per system configuration
details. If they are found OK .Check the SSR. A lamp on SSR
glows indicating its activation. Check this Lamp. If it glows
than SSR is operating properly and some fault has occurred in
Paint Marker. Remove connections of paint marker from
junction box and replace it. It has two wires. One is connected
to the neutral in Junction Box No.3 and other wire is connected
to live (L), in Junction Box No.3 , which gets connected when
SSR turns ON. If still problems persists than some problem is
there in system. Check the wiring within the cabinet as per
cabinet details. The last thing to do is replace Allout PCB in
Auto sort console unit or EC_I/O in FTS-EC Electronic Unit.

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TECHNOFOUR

Test lamp does not glow inspite of rotation of the encoder


wheel.

Here problem may arise due to faulty Encoder or Proximity


Switches. Conform the Linear speed on the screen. If it is not
correct than some problem exists with Encoder. Check
connectivity between Encoder and Interface Box. Check +24 V
supply to Encoder. Also check connection of Encoder wire
from interface box to FTS-EC. If all these connections are
found correct .than Encoder needs to be replaced. Remove the
encoder Hose before replacing the Encoder. Cable details are
written on Encoder.

White wire : Ground


Brown wire : +24V DC
Green wire : Encoder Output

If Proximity needs to be changed, wiring details of Proximity


Switches are as follows :

Brown wire : +24V DC


Black wire : Output of Proximity
Blue wire : Ground

No sound from Speaker

Check Speaker connections. If found correct then either ALM-


REC-M or EC_I/O card has problems and need to be replaced.

Saturation Coil lamp is ON inspite of water-cooling the coil

Saturation coil lamp will turn on if PTC connection on. Elmex


connector remain unconnected or motor protection relay for
Saturation Coil is tripped. Check the PTC connections with
reference to control panel details and respective PTC on
Saturation Coil

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TECHNOFOUR

Test Lamp does not glow Even if Linear speed is found OK.

The Test Lamp turns On only after the Two proximities turn
On. If either of the two proximities do not turn ON then testing
is Impossible. Check proximities connections at junction Box.
Confirm +24 V supply. Also check connectivity between FTS-
EC Electronic Console and interface box. Further confirm the
relays in interface box are operating properly. If Proximity are
needed to be replaced than first remove the Proximity
connections at junction box .

It is observed that loose fitting of PCB's, connectors; IC's on


sockets often create problems. Hence while replacing PCB
be careful about fitting of PCB and their connectors.

Following is a list of common faults and corrective action.

No amplification of defect signal :

Tighten 25 Pin D Female Connector to PCB INSIS-EC-ADC


and to PCB INSIS-BACK. If still not working properly replace
PCB FTS-S Card.

No defect lamp indication or defect detection is seen though


defect signal displayed on LCD crosses Threshold :

Confirm TEST lamp is ON.


Replace PCB EC-IO2

Defect lamp indication OK with standard tube but display


(XY,YT) on LCD not displayed :

Tighten 25 Pin D Female Connector and 9 Pin D Female


Connector. Replace PCB INSIS-ADC.

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TECHNOFOUR

Serial No. not incremented :

Check Encoder Pulse Source working by observing Linear


speed display on LCD. If not check Encoder is working. If
Encoder is OK, then replace PCB EC-IO.

Printer not printing :

Check connection of Printer cable.


Check Printer operation with its self-check printing.
Replace PCB PCA-6751.

No display (Power ON display/Splash Screen) on LCD after


Power ON :

Connect SVGA monitor to D-15 connector EC back of


Flawmark-EC and confirm that display on Monitor is OK. If so,
check FRC cable connecting LCD and PCA-6751. Replace if
faulty.

Check supply going to LCD Inverter. Contact TECHNOFOUR


if LCD is faulty for further guidance.

Serial No not incrementing and Linear speed display on


LCD showing zero though shaft of Encoder rotating :

Replace Encoder.
Check Encoder cable.
Replace PCB EC-IO.

Pressure Roller does not operate in UP/DOWN direction

Refer position of limit switches. For UP movement LS1 should


be NC (normally closed) and for DOWN movement LS2 and
LS3 should be NC. Check respective contacts of the switches at
the Control Elmex of control panel. Refer Control- Elmex detail
diagram.

Switch off the system while checking limit switch contacts.

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TECHNOFOUR

Coil does not operate in UP/DOWN or FWD/BACK


position

Refer position of limit switches. For FWD movement Home LS


should be NC (normally closed) and for BACK movement End
LS should be NO(normally open).For UP movement UP LS
should be NC and for DN movement DN LS should be NO.
Check respective contacts of the switches at the Control Elmex
of Control Panel .Refer Control-Elmex detail diagram.

Switch off the system while checking limit switch contacts.

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TECHNOFOUR

7.3 MESSAGES AND EXPLANATION

Interlock Off
This message can be used to detect trip of saturation or Demag.
If any of them trips , the message is displayed on the screen.

No Charge
The charging mechanism is not activated properly. Time out in
charging a tube.

Stopped
Auto/Single cycle is stopped or system is stopped by a stop key.

ERROR M1-M2
The tube is stuck into M1 and M2. It has left M1 but could not
reach M2. Check tube position.

ERROR M2-P1
The tube is stuck into M2and P1. It has left M2 but could not
reach P1. Check tube position.

ERROR P2–M3
The tube is stuck into P2 and M3. It has left P2 but could not
reach M3. Check tube position.

ERROR M3-M4
The tube is stuck into M3 and M4. It has left M3 but could not
reach M4. Check tube position.

ERROR Bent

The tube is Bent and can not pass through the test head. The
user has to take the tube back by reversing the direction.

Data Buffer Full !

Check Test Lamp Status. The signals after this message can not
be saved to the disk. The buffer resets when the Test Lamp is
Off.

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TECHNOFOUR

7.4 HOW TO REPLACE A PCB

7.4.1 Introduction Of PCBs

FLAWMARK-EC ELECTRONIC UNIT

FTS-EC Electronic Unit is the brain of the whole system.


It generates eddy current test frequency for exciting the
test head, processes the signals from the test head and
displays the same on the screen. It gives signals to paint
markers, alarm, etc.

The FTS-EC Electronic Unit consists of :

• Power Supply
• PCA 6751 Motherboard
• PCB INSIS-ADC
• PCB EC-IO
• PC Back Plane
• PCB INSIS BACK
• PCB DR-PA
• PCB FTS-S
• Drive Box
• Floppy Disk Drive
• Hard Disk Drive

• Power Supply :

This is a Switch Mode Power Supply (SMPS) which


generates DC voltage required as supply for various
electronic components and PCBs in the Electronic Unit.
It has 230V 50 Hz AC mains as input. It gives regulated
+5V, -5V, +12V and -12V DC Supply. These voltage are
taken out from the 10 Pin MS connector. From the
connector it is terminated on a Lug Strip. From the Lug
Strip it is distributed to the PCB in the Electronic Unit.

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TECHNOFOUR

Details are as follows :

10 Pin MS Wire Color Description


Connector
A Violet -5V
C Red +5V
E Blue -12V
G White Ground
I Yellow +12V

• PCA 6751 Motherboard

The PCA-6751 Series is a half-size ISA-bus CPU card


designed with an onboard Intel ® Pentium ® MMX
CPU. The PCA-6751 Series is equipped with Intel's new
embedded Pentium® MMX CPU at 166 MHz and 266
MHz. The CPU provides high performance with low
power consumption and better thermal management,
which is ideal for industrial and embedded applications.

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TECHNOFOUR

The following table lists the connectors on the PCA-6751


Series.

Number Function
CN1 FDD connector
CN2 Parallel port connector
CN3 Keyboard lock, LED connector
CN4 USB connector
CN5 24-bit LCD display connector
CN6 36-bit LCD display connector
CN7 LCD inverter connector
CN8 IR connector
CN9 External speaker connector
CN10 Reserved
CN11 VGA connector
CN12 PC/104 connector
CN13 Ethernet connector
CN14 COM2 RS-422/485 connector
CN15 COM2 RS-232 connector
CN16 COM1 RS-232 connector
CN17 External keyboard connector
CN18 ATX power connector
CN19 Reserved
CN20 AT power connector
CN21 Keyboard and PS/2 mouse connector
CN22 ISA gold finger connector
CN23 ISA gold finger connector
CN24 Compact Flash™ card connector
CN25 HDD LED connector
CN26 System reset switch connector
CN27 ATX power button
CN28 Enhanced IDE connector

• PCB INSIS-ADC :

The PCB has the circuitry to convert analogue signals to


digital. This PCB has 3 connector. The 64 Pin FRC
connector is not used. Through the 25 pin D type female
connector analog signals are given to ADC card. The 9
pin D type female connector is used to transmit control
signals from the ADC to the PCB INSIS-BACK.

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• PCB EC-IO :

Optical Isolation of external and internal signals is done


on this PCB. This PCB has 50 PIN FRC connector and is
connected to D-50 connector at the back side of the FTS-
EC Electronic Unit through a Flat Cable.

• PC Back Plane :

This PCB has 4 ISA slots. The motherboard, INSIS-ADC


and EC-IO PCBs are plugged in these slots. These 4 slots
are exactly similar and the cards can be interchanged in
any slot. This PCB has 4 red colored LEDs which
indicate the status of the power supply +5V, -5V, +12V, -
12V. Supply voltage is applied through 12 pin power
connector to the PC Back Plane.

• PCB INSIS-BACK :

This PCB has 9 connectors namely :

D-15 pin male 1no.


10 pin power connector 1no.
64 pin EURO connector 5 no.
D-9 pin male 1no.
D-25 pin male 1no.

PCB DR-PA fits in the 64 pin EURO connector named


DR-PA. PCB FTS-S is plugged in the 64 pin EURO
connector named ECTS-1.

NOTE : Both the 64 pin EURO connectors are NOT


interchangeable. +5V AND -5V DC power is supplied to
the PCBs ON INSIS-BACK through the 10 pin power
connector. The 15 pin D type connector connects with
the 7 pin MS connector on the back side of the FTS-EC
Electronic Unit. The 9 pin D type male connector and the
25 pin D type male connector connects with the 9 pin D
type female and 25 pin D type female connectors on the
INSIS -ADC, via suitable cables, respectively

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• PCB DR-PA :

This PCB has twin functions. It acts as a buffer for the


test frequency generated on the PCB FTS-S. The
Instrumentation Amplifier on the same board amplifies
the low level signal received from the test head.

• PCB FTS-S :

This PCB generates the test frequency. It also houses the


signal processing circuitry.

• Drive Box :

Drive Box has a power amplifier circuit which is used to


drive the test head. It has a 14 pin MS connecter.

• Floppy Disk Drive :

This drive has a power connector and a FRC connector,


which connects to the connector CN1 of the
motherboard.

• Hard Disk Drive :

Similar to Floppy Disk Drive, the Hard Disk Drive has a


power connector and a FRC connector, which connects to
the CN28 connector of the motherboard via FRC cables.

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FLAWMARK-EC AUTO SORT CONSOLE

The Auto Sort Console Unit of FTS-EC is mounted inside the


FTS-EC cabinet.

It consists of following components:

Relays 4 No.
PCB Allout 2 No.
PCB Alarm Rec 1 No.
50 Pin Male Connector 1 No.
24 Pin RPC Connector 1 No.
8 Pin RPC Connector 1 No.
3 Pin MS Connector 1 No.

• Relays :

Output (Accept Reject, Salvage and Transport Stop) are


given to PCB Allout. From this PCB relays are driven.
Potential free normally open contacts are taken out.

• PCB Allout :

Relay Driver circuitry is mounted on this PCB. TTL


outputs from the Electronic Unit is converted to +24V
signals. These +24V signals drive the relays.

• PCB Alarm Rec :

This PCB is used as a driver for Alarm Output.

• 50 Pin Male Connector :

This 50 Pin D type male connector is used to make a


connection between Auto Sort Console and FTS-EC
Electronic Unit.

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• 24 Pin RPC Connector :

Outputs (paint marker, etc) are taken out.

• 8 Pin RPC Connector :

Potential Free normally open contact outputs are on this


connector

• MS Connector :

Audio amplifier output to speaker is taken out from this


connector.

PCB's of Flawmark-EC are all plug in type thus even in


case of PCB failure downtime is low.

7.4.2 Steps given below for replacing PCB :

• Remove all plugs in connectors of Flawmark-EC,


as Flawmark-EC unit will have to be taken out of
cabinet.

• Remove 4 screws from side of Flawmark-EC used


for fixing unit to cabinet.

• Pull out Flawmark-EC unit from cabinet and put it


on flat surface preferably on table in clean, dust free
room.

• Remove top cover of Flawmark-EC unit.

• Remove PCB clamps, which are provided for


keeping PCB's in proper place.

• After identifying faulty PCB with help of Fault


Diagnostic Guidelines, remove FRC cable/PC
connector (if any) of that PCB.

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• Note down orientation/polarity of PCB and pull out


PCB from edge connector by pulling PCB
vertically by taking proper care so that
PCB/Components/Cables are not damaged.

• Take out corresponding PCB from Spare Kit and fit


it in the same slot with same orientation/polarity as
that of faulty PCB.

• Re-connect removed cables, if any and confirm


proper connections of all cables.

• Put back PCB clamps in proper way so as to keep


PCB's in proper position.

• Close Flawmark-EC unit with top cover.

• Put Flawmark-EC unit back in the cabinet, fix unit


to cabinet with side screws.

• Re-connect all plug-in connectors removed in step-


1, taking proper care. All connectors normally have
polarity. Never force any connector in wrong
polarity.

• Power ON the system and confirm proper working


of system.

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7.5 GENERAL MAINTENANCE

Temperature of tubes should not exceed 50 degree Celsius.

The electronic unit as well as the test head must be kept


covered when not in use.

There should be no vibrations at the electronic unit.

If any printed circuit board is removed, it must be replaced


in the same polarity and position. If the PCB are reversed or
interchanged, the damage to circuits will be certain and
permanent.

All connectors used in the system have polarity pins. DO


NOT attempt to mate a connector wrong way. At best it
will damage the connector, at worst burn out something
just when you need it most.

Keep the Test Head clean. Special attention should be given


to remove the dust, carbon particles, scale etc. that is
accumulated in the Test Head, near saturation coil.

Check firm contacts of 440 VAC / 230 VAC supply wires to


the system. Supply should be preferably provided from main
station to avoid interference of other machines.

AC mains supply should be clean and without fluctuations.

All back panel connectors of electronic cabinet should be


firmly connected to the units. Special attention should be
given to power cords of units.

All of the above checks will reduce unnecessary


complications and wastage of time in solving problem.

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8. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


8.1 WHAT ARE EVALUATION MODES?

When the tube passes through the test head at testing speeds,
essentially two adjacent cross sections of the tube are compared
against one another and the difference is processed by
electronic circuits. The resultant signal has all the information
needed for evaluating the tube against a standard reference such
as a signal due to a drilled hole. In a nutshell, a threshold is set
up as a reference denoting the standard defect. Any signals
crossing this threshold are deemed to be detrimental, and the
tube with such signals is unacceptable.

In Flawmark-EC, three thresholds are available instead of one.


The ‘upper’ threshold is the one referring to ‘reject’ criteria. A
‘lower’ threshold can be set to a lower amplitude than the upper
threshold. Any tubes with signals crossing the lower threshold
but not crossing the upper threshold are treated as salvageable,
and a subsequent automatic sorting system can sort them out
into a different (‘Salvage’) bin. A third threshold is also shown,
but it is intended to be used for feedback to process control
computer with online eddy current inspection. The thresholds
can be implemented in three different ways. These specific
ways are the three evaluation modes.

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The simplest evaluation mode is amplitude evaluation.


Irrespective of the phase in which a signal occurs, if it crosses a
certain amplitude, it is flagged as a defect. This is implemented
by means of circular thresholds. This is displayed as illustrated
below.

The outermost circle is the upper threshold, the middle circle is


lower threshold. The innermost circle is simply called third
threshold. Its purpose is to provide a visual noise estimate, and
can be used to dynamically control production process during
online inspection if signals start crossing the threshold too
often. The upper threshold is used as a rejection threshold and
the lower threshold as a salvage marker.

The second evaluation mode is phase sensitive evaluation.


Here only the y component of the signal is of interest. The x-
component is totally ignored. This mode results in the best
signal to noise ratio.

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In phase sensitive evaluation, the thresholds are represented by


horizontal straight lines. Note that they are mirrored in x-axis.
Thus no matter whether the signals peak towards the top or the
bottom, they still cross the threshold.

In cases where production line vibrations or transport


mechanisms induce a lot of lift-off signal, it is a simple matter
to adjust phase such that this noise is all horizontal with little
vertical component. At this phase, even the basic signal's
projection on y axis reduces, because the phase difference
between liftoff and crack signals is never 90 degrees. However,
signal-to-noise ratio certainly increases, and that's what counts.

The screenshots above show the vector (x-y) and Strip Chart
representation of two signals. One signal (the first from left in
the strip chart) is due to a defect. The other (a bunched group in
the strip chart to the right) is due to test piece wobble. The
amplitudes of these two are comparable, and the signal-to-noise
ratio is close to 1.

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The same signal is now rotated in phase so that the lift-off (test
piece wobble) is essentially horizontal in the screenshot above
left. The y-component of that signal is nearly zero. The
projection of the defect signal on y-axis is reduced somewhat
due to the angle of the signal with x-axis. However, the loss in
y-amplitude is more than offset by the dramatic improvement in
signal-to-noise ratio.

The third evaluation mode is Sector evaluation. This is in


effect a combination of the above two.

Here the three thresholds shown in white trigger when the


signals are within a certain angle with amplitudes within that
angle large enough to cross those thresholds. This mode is quite
useful in tests of thin-walled tubes where there exists a phase
difference between signals due to defects on the OD and those
on the ID. The sector angle can encompass this angular
difference and still ignore signals in other phases which can be
due to test piece wobble or dents.

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Which of the three evaluation modes should be used is


generally a matter of agreement between the customer and the
supplier. A customer would naturally prefer amplitude mode,
but in certain situations either phase sensitive or sector modes
would have to be used for improvement in signal to noise ratio
or to ignore signals due to dents if acceptable for a given
application.

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8.2 HOW SHOULD A STANDARD TUBE BE PREPARED?

Most eddy current standards will specify a drilled hole of a


certain diameter depending on the tube OD. The simpler of the
standards will specify one single hole drilled in a tube. Other
standards may specify three holes spaced a certain distance
apart longitudinally, and at 120° spacing circumferentially. Yet
other standards talk about four holes likewise 90° apart.

It is best to visually inspect a tube before taking it as a standard


tube and select a good candidate. Ideally the tube should be
from the same lot as the tubes being inspected. At least the
material should be metallurgical as close as possible to the
material of the tubes to be tested. The diameter and wall
thickness should certainly be the same. It is absolutely essential
that the tube is as straight as possible. Although the system can
take bends up to 1.5 mm per meter, choose a tube with
straightness far better than this.

Before drilling a hole, make sure the mechanical handling


system is properly adjusted for this diameter and a test head
inserted into the saturation coil along with the correct guide
bushes. You need to pre-inspect the tube to make sure it has an
acceptably low noise along its length. Connect the test head to
the test hose and switch on the system. If you have previously
used a similar tube (similar material, diameter and wall
thickness), you can recall that parameter set for this pre-
inspection. Otherwise you can default to a reasonable set (such
as 5KHz frequency for ferromagnetic tube, 30 dB gain,
5Hz/450Hz high- and low-pass filters, amplitude-evaluation
mode, 50% thresholds etc) of parameters. Pass the tube and
press ‘F2’ key to obtain an end-to-end strip chart on the screen.
Don’t forget the saturation for ferromagnetic tube. You should
have a reasonably low noise throughout. You can test more than
one suitable candidate and select the best.

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It may so happen that many tubes show quite a lot of noise at


default setting. It is not yet time to worry. We may be using a
high gain value at this point. Simply choose the best candidate.
Mark suitable locations on the tube for the standard holes. Take
it to a radial drilling machine and drill the holes using the
appropriate mechanical practice. Under no circumstances
should anyone use a center punch and hammer to mark the
location for drilling. It can cause unacceptable deformation in
the tube, which can give rise to freak eddy current signals (such
as large amplitude/phase changes when passed in the two
orientations).

The tube should then be passed through the system again and
another strip chart obtained on the screen. If the signals are too
high, you can reduce the gain (and vice-a-versa). Finally you
should be able to achieve a high signal-to-noise ratio. Although
S/N of 3 is considered the bare minimum for eddy current tests,
it is good to have a ratio of at least 5 in case of standard tube.

The tube is liable to be passed often through the system.


Generally it is passed at least once every 8 hours, or even more
often, to ensure that calibration has remained valid. This wear
and tear can cause the holes to be rolled over or deformed a
little because of pinch rollers of mechanical handling system.
This can cause significant changes in eddy current signal. It
may be necessary to make fresh standard tubes if this is the
case. The tube also needs to be protected well so that no dents
or mechanical damage occurs.

There is one peculiar problem with standard tube with multiple


holes, such as three holes 120° apart. Most tubes will have a
small bend, and therefore the holes appear at varying distance
from the test head winding. This results in differences in signal
amplitudes and also phases. The idea behind multiple holes in
one tube is that the test head positioning can be verified in one
single pass. This is possible if and only if the tube is perfectly
straight. In most practical cases, it is better to use one single
hole and pass it in three or four equally spaced orientations and
take those three or four signal amplitude readings for judging
coil concentricity.

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8.3 WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF LIFT-OFF VARIATION?

Eddy current tests are based on electromagnetic fields. The


electromagnetic coupling is high if the fill factor of a concentric
test head and a test tube is high. Therefore, a close test head
(with little gap between the windings and the tube) has a higher
sensitivity. It also means that you need a low gain value to get
a certain amplitude for a standard defect. If another tube with a
slightly smaller diameter is passed through the coil, and it
passes concentrically, all it will mean is that the coupling is
lower and you will need a higher gain setting to get the same
amplitude for a standard defect.

The problem begins when the tube does not pass concentrically.
A hole in a tube passing through the test head at say 12 o’clock
position might pass at a higher distance from the test head
winding immediately next to it compared with the hole passing
at 6 o’clock position. This means that for the same standard
hole, we can get widely varying amplitudes when the tube is
passed in different orientations. Of course this happens only
when the tube passes eccentrically. Which is why some test
standards force you to drill three holes at 120° apart or four hole
90° apart.

Thus, if such a tube (with say three standard defects as above)


is passed through a test head which is not quite concentric, you
will get varying amplitudes for (signals due to) the three holes.
This difference in amplitude is a measure of eccentricity. It
should be your aim to minimize the difference by adjusting the
test head mounted on the mechanical handling system. At the
properly adjusted condition there should be no significant
difference in the holes. Note that the three holes may never be
identical as far as eddy currents are concerned. They appear at
different locations, where whatever differences occur in local
metallurgy (conductivity and permeability wise) would
contribute to the signals. For this reason it is rarely possible to
obtain exactly the same values for the three holes, and typically
a 2dB variation is taken as acceptable.

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On some standard tubes holes are also drilled close to ends to


verify that the system can test holes at a certain distance from
the ends such as 150mm. In some cases signals due to such
holes can appear at some phase difference compared to the
signals due to inland holes. This can happen due to peculiar
metallurgy at the ends or due to fringing of magnetic saturation
fields at the ends. If this is the case, you can opt for amplitude
evaluation mode and detect the holes close to the ends easily.

Another factor causing troublesome liftoffs is bend in the tube.


If there is a defect on the convex side, it passes close to the coil
winding, and because of tighter electromagnetic coupling
produce a larger signal compared to a signal due to a defect on
concave side. A bent tube sits differently on the V-rollers of a
transport system, and the way it will pass through the coil
depends on the orientation of the tube. Therefore things quickly
get very complex regarding repeatable signals with a bent tube.

Bends also contribute to problems with multiple standard holes


in a tube. If three holes are drilled 120 degrees apart, the signals
due to them will vary significantly if the tube has some bend. It
will further aggravate if the tube is then passed in four
orientations. For this reason, it is better to use one single hole to
determine circularity of test head for the purpose of positioning
of coil platform.

Concentricity (or lack of it) is also a major factor affecting


repeatability. If a tube does not pass concentrically, signals can
vary significantly if the tube is passed in different orientations.
This results in a markedly lower repeatability. Care should
therefore be taken that the test head remains concentric during
testing.

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8.4 WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO?

Put simply, any signal which arises due to a parameter - other


than the one you are interested in - is noise. For example, if you
are trying to measure electrical conductivity, any signal due to
changes in lift-off (the probe-to-sample distance) is unwanted,
and therefore termed as noise in the context of this application.
The same ‘noise’ becomes your signal when you are trying to
measure coating thickness instead. And within that context the
signals due to conductivity variations appear as the noise.

In the context of tube inspection for defects, typical noise


sources are manifold. We are interested only in signals due to
discontinuities. Other eddy current ‘signals’ (which we will
have to call noise in this context) due to local conductivity
variations, magnetic permeability variations, tube wobble and
vibration inside the test head, tube diameter and wall thickness
variations within tolerance, tube surface roughness, tube
temperature variations etc have to be eliminated. Sources of
non-eddy current signals, which can potentially affect the final
data, include effects of ambient temperature variations, power
line voltage surges due to heavy load switching in factory
equipment, radiated EMI (electromagnetic interference) due to
other equipment (furnaces, cell phones, TV stations, computers,
fluorescent lights etc), conducted EMI due to other equipment,
effects of common mode ground signals, changes in the Earth’s
magnetic field.

Careful design of Flawmark-EC system takes care of most


extraneous sources. Further immunity is provided by taking
precautions during installation (proper grounding, clean
independent power line sourcing etc). A well designed transport
system minimizes effects of jerks and vibrations of the tube as
it passes through the test head. This still leaves some sources of
eddy current ‘noise signals’ to deal with. Fortunately, several
tools are at hand to get rid of (or at least suppress to a large
extent) the noise.

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The noise due to local magnetic permeability variations in


ferromagnetic tubes is quite substantial. At times, it can swamp
the signals due to discontinuities completely. To eliminate this
source of noise, heavy DC magnetization of tube is required to
magnetically saturate the tube cross section. Later, the tube
needs to be de-magnetized by passing it through DC and AC
demagnetizing coils. For convenience, the demagnetizing coils
are located immediately after the transport system. Sometimes,
to achieve lower levels of remanance, the demagnetizing coils
are so arranged that a tube is completely clear of saturation coil
before it enters the Demag coils.

The second tool for minimizing noise is filters. By passing the


eddy current signal through a band-pass filter (realized in
Flawmark-EC as separate high-pass and low-pass filters for
added flexibility) noise due to many sources such as slow
conductivity variations in tube, gradual wall changes etc are
reduced significantly.

Finally, phase sensitive detection of eddy current signals allows


a major reduction in noise, albeit with some loss of signal
magnitude. The resultant signal-to-noise ratio however is much
higher. The FAQ on evaluation modes deals with this aspect in
greater detail.

Improving signal-to-noise ratio has more significance to it than


is immediately apparent. The higher the signal-to-noise ratio,
better is the repeatability of the test. Some sources of noise such
as that due to transport are inherently random. Sometimes they
may add to the signal due to a defect, and the next time they
may subtract. Thus, if ‘S’ is the signal amplitude, and ‘N’ is the
noise amplitude, the signal due to the same defect during
several runs of the same tube through the test head at the same
set of parameters would vary between S-N and S+N. Clearly,
repeatability will be greatest (100%) when N is 0, or S/N (the
signal-to-noise ratio) is infinity. Both are unattainable. What
can certainly be achieved is an optimum signal-to-noise ratio by
exploiting all the tools available to you.

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As a corollary to above, since zero noise is only a dream and


never a reality, repeatability of an eddy current test (as with
most other techniques) will always be less than 100%. Of
course, this only means that you will not get an identical
amplitude of signal each time. You can still achieve 100%
results in go/no-go tests of a standard tube. For this purpose we
increase the gain (or drop the threshold) by say 20% (or about
2dB) more than what is required to just detect the standard
defect in one orientation. Thus, even with a signal-to-noise ratio
of 6 or so, we can get the standard defect detected ten times out
of ten, giving you a 100% repeatability of the test.
Understanding the fact that we could achieve this solely
because of the additional gain margin is a major step towards
mastering the eddy current technique.

It is generally acknowledged that for any meaningful eddy


current test, signal-to-noise ratio should be at least 3, otherwise
it results in poor repeatability.

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8.5 WHAT REPEATABILITY CAN BE EXPECTED IN


EDDY CURRENT TESTS?

Repeatability can mean different things to different people.


Eddy current test is a comparative test. Therefore, in the context
of eddy current tests, repeatability is taken to be the percentage
of repeating of results. For example, if a tube has one defect,
and the tube is passed through a Test Head 20 times. If the
defect is detected 20 times out of 20, the repeatability is said to
be 100%. If the defect is detected 17 times out of 20, the figure
comes out to 85%.

This is only one part of the story. If the signal to noise ratio for
an eddy current test is reasonably high, most of the time
repeatability can be shown to be close to 100% on a specific
tube such as a standard tube. (Also refer to the FAQ on signal
to noise ratio for a discussion about the relation between signal-
to-noise ratio and repeatability).

Repeatability on a discrete lot of tubes is a different ballgame


altogether. If a tube has a defect which gives signal close to the
threshold, several mechanisms come into play which can cause
havoc with repeatability. Even with respectable signal-to-noise
ratios, it is possible that the signal might cross the thresholds
during some runs (when noise adds up to signal) and not during
other runs (when the noise subtracts). Closer the signal is to the
threshold , poorer will be the repeatability. In a lot of tubes with
defect signals close to threshold, repeatability will be
statistically 50% in a single run. When you pass accepted tubes
from this lot again through the system, some of them will land
up in reject bin and others in accept bin. Similarly some of the
rejected tubes in the first run can subsequently go to accept bin
in the next run. If the tubes are not guided through the test head
exactly concentrically (which normally is the case), even worse
results can be expected. The situation is further complicated
when the tubes are bent. A bent tube (even within the
1.5mm/meter specification) will always cause poorer
repeatability when passed at different orientations. Without
sound knowledge of the genesis of signals and the concept of
threshold, this would be the appropriate time to panic.

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If a third-party inspection agency, not well versed in eddy


current technique, insists that you run all accepted tubes right in
front of them again through the system, and insist that all
should pass, there is a way out. This is where the salvage
threshold comes to your rescue. For such situations, you should
pre-test your lot with a salvage threshold setting of perhaps
20% lower than upper threshold (or even lower for poorer
signal-to-noise ratio scenarios). Then treat the tubes in accept
group (signals not crossing lower threshold) as the accepted
tubes. These tubes, run through the system with upper and
lower thresholds kept to the same value of upper threshold in
your pre-test, should stand a very good chance of 100% going
to accept. Of course this has its own cost. You have in effect
dropped your threshold in the pre-test, and as a result your yield
has in all likelihood dropped.

Most eddy current test standards, however, have a provision of


passing a ‘rejected’ tube again through the system. If it gets
accepted this time, it can be termed acceptable. This is done
specifically to take care of pseudo-rejection due to extraneous
noise spike or due to closeness of signals to the threshold.

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8.6 WHAT SHOULD BE THE LEVEL OF MAGNETIC


SATURATION?

We have seen that ferromagnetic tubes need to be magnetically


saturated to minimize noise due to permeability variations. One
would be tempted to use as high a saturation as possible for
each tube hoping to get the best signal to noise ratio. It does not
always work out like that.

Without magnetization, most tubes will have a very high


permeability noise, often swamping the signal itself. In other
words, signal-to-noise ratio can be less than one in such cases.
With some magnetization current, not yet capable of
magnetically saturating the tube, signals due to a standard hole
increases, and the permeability noise rapidly falls. The net
effect is significant rise in signal-to-noise ratio. If magnetic flux
density is further increased, permeability noise is further
reduced. However, beyond a point, the signal due to standard
hole itself starts to drop. Thus, there is a certain magnetization
level at which the signal-to-noise ratio is optimum. More is not
necessarily better.

It would be impractical to adjust the magnetization level too


accurately. Changes in ambient temperature, and effects of coil
heating due to copper loss also result in changes in magnetic
flux density. Flawmark-EC therefore provides a switch on the
saturation coil with two positions: Normal and Boost, which
prove adequate for all testing needs.

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8.7 WHY SOME DEMAGNETIZED TUBES SHOW


REMANANCE SOMETIME LATER?

Demagnetizing a magnetized ferromagnetic tube is a complex


phenomenon. In principle, if an alternating magnetic field of
magnetic field intensity greater than the remanance is applied to
a magnetized tube, and gradually reduced in intensity, the tube
material traces successively smaller B-H loops and eventually
ends close to zero.

When tubes need to be demagnetized to a low remanance (less


than 20 or 30 gauss), often two separate Demag coils are
required, especially if the demagnetization has to be done at
higher speeds or if the tube cross section is not very small. One
coil, the Demag Coil DC coil, provides a DC bias of magnetic
field, equal in strength, but opposite in direction to the
remanent field in the tube. This is followed by an AC
demagnetization coil with very strong magnetic fields usually at
power line frequency. This AC field has a constant strength
rather than the gradual diminishing field referred to in the last
paragraph. When a section of tube is at the center of the Demag
Coil Ac coil, it experiences the maximum field strength. As this
section is carried away from the center by the mechanical
transport system, it experiences a diminished field strength
because of the increasing distance from the coil, which is
exactly what is required for demagnetizing that section.

For convenience, it is customary to place demagnetizing coils a


couple of meters away from the saturation coils in the same
line. The main advantage in this scheme is space. It however
results in some portions of the tube being in the saturation coils
even as other portions are in the Demag coil. In some tubes this
can cause magnetic dipoles. When the tube comes out of the
Demag coils, it can show a low remanance on a gauss meter.
However, sometime later, due to a phenomenon not yet fully
understood by scientists, the opposing magnetic dipoles may
suddenly switch direction and begin to add up. This can cause
re-appearance of magnetic field in previously demagnetized
tube. Whether or when this will happen is not predictable.

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If it is found that some tube size and/or material consistently


presents this problem, it may be necessary to mount the
demagnetizing coils at a separate location, perhaps further
down the line, so that when the front end of the tube enters the
Demag coils, the rear end is completely out of the saturation
coil.

One further phenomenon needs to be understood. As


magnetized tubes are passed through the feeding unit, most
rollers of the transport system get magnetized. This can provide
a small bias to the gauss meter readings. For the same reason,
when the tube is taken off the line and placed elsewhere, such
as ground or a non-magnetized bin, the reading may be
different. Also, as a cumulative effect of all this, gauss meter
reading on both ends of the tube may defer by 10 or 20 gauss at
times.

The Demag Coil DC coil has a variable voltage supply, and this
needs to be adjusted by trial and error till an acceptable level of
remanance is achieved. It is possible to over-adjust or under-
adjust to counter effects of magnetization of transport system
rollers.

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8.8 I SEE A DEFECT WITH MY OWN EYES, BUT IT DOES


NOT GET MARKED..

One fact needs to be re-iterated. Flawmark-EC, like all eddy


current test equipment, is a comparator. It will compare signals
due to defects against a threshold, which is adjusted for a signal
due to a standard defect. Thus, if the signal due to a defect is
greater than the set threshold, (or in other words, greater than
the signal due to the standard defect), the defect is paint-
marked.

This also means that if the signal due to a defect is even slightly
lower than the set threshold, the defect will not be marked.
Thus, some defects, which are quite visible on the surface, are
simply not marked, wholly because the signal did not cross the
threshold.

There is another issue too. If the defect is too close to the ends,
the signal due to such a defect is ignored by the system even if
it is much higher than the threshold. (See section on end
suppression.)

As explained in the FAQ on test frequency selection, the system


can be made quite sensitive to surface defects by using higher
than optimum frequencies, due to the high eddy current
densities at surface at the higher frequencies. This, however, is
at the expense of much lower sensitivity for sub-surface and ID
defects, which is fairly low to start with.

However, for the curious, high frequencies can be used to get


higher signals for surface defects such that they cross the
threshold when they did not at lower frequencies.

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8.9 THE TUBE IS MARKED, BUT I SEE NO DEFECT.

This is the other side of the coin, if you just visited the FAQ on
“I see a defect.. but it is not marked”. Flawmark-EC compares
all eddy current signals against a set threshold. If the signal is
higher than the threshold, it is marked by the paint marker.

Eddy current tests are predominantly suited for surface defects,


which are what you will see with your own eyes. However, at
proper test frequencies, the test is not entirely blind to flaws
below the surface. If such a sub-surface flaw is large enough, it
will yield an eddy current signal large enough to cross the
threshold, and mark the spot.

There are such occasions when you do not see any evidence of
the defect on the surface, but sub-surface discontinuities are
severe enough to cause a paint mark. This is often borne out by
cutting the tube at the correct location. Then the cross section
tells the story. Note, however, that the paint mark can be off the
correct spot at times due to slip between a particular tube and
the driving rollers. Also, at high speeds the mark can stretch for
a larger area. Thus, several cuts may be required to get to the
right spot at times.

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8.10 WHAT FREQUENCY SHOULD BE USED FOR


TESTING TUBES?

Frequency of eddy currents is a key parameter, in fact, the first


one to be set. As the frequency increases, the depth of
penetration of eddy currents goes down, and eddy current
density at OD of the tube increases. While this increases the
sensitivity of testing for surface defects, the eddy current
density at a depth of well over one standard depth of
penetration rapidly decreases. This results in poor detection of
sub-surface defects in thick walled tubes. In any case, there is
no way to detect surface and sub-surface defects at one single
frequency at the same sensitivity with eddy current tests.
Whatever the frequency of excitation, the OD defects will
always have higher sensitivity of detection.

In other words, smaller defects on the OD will always result in


signals comparable with much larger defects further away from
OD. Which is why it is rightly said that eddy current testing is
ideally suited for surface defects, and is a poor choice for sub-
surface or ID defects, where ultrasonic inspection is much more
relevant.

If eddy current test frequency is kept too low, although the eddy
currents do penetrate deeper inside the wall, the signal
bandwidth goes down. This has an effect on testing speeds. At
low frequencies, the throughput speeds are low. Typically for
tests at high speeds such as 180 meters per minute, frequencies
below 3 KHz cannot be used. This arises from the requirement
that a typical cross section of tube under test coils should
remain almost static for a period of at least two complete cycles
of test frequency. Thus, although for thicker tubes one would be
tempted to use a lower frequency, it cannot be used at this
speed.

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It is customary to select a starting value of test frequency for


ferromagnetic tubes as 5 KHz. You can then test a standard tube
at two other values, such as 3 KHz and 10 KHz, and choose a
value that gives the best signal-to-noise ratio for the standard
hole. At high test speeds frequencies below 3 KHZ should not
be used even if standard eddy current depth of penetration
formula may suggest much lower frequencies.

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