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19th World Conference on Non-Destructive Testing 2016

The Implementation of the New Standard

EN ISO 18563 for Ultrasonic Phased-Array Systems
at the Manufacturer
GE Sensing & Inspection Technologies GmbH, Hürth, Germany
Udo Schlengermann, Germany

Contact e-mail:
johannes.buechler@ge.com; udo.schlengermann@t-online.de

The conformity of the ultrasonic testing system to a global standard is getting
required by the users to ensure the proper performance of the equipment as the
basis for reliable test results. It is the intention of the new standard EN ISO
18563 for ultrasonic phased array systems, which is published in 2015, to
provide the measurement procedures and the acceptance criteria for the
declaration of conformity. The standard will be used to verify the properties of
the array instrument, of the array probe and of the combined system.
Accordingly the standard is structured into three parts for the characterisation of
the phased-array test equipment covering the frequency range from 0,5 MHz to
10 MHz:
Part 1: Instruments
Part 2: Probes
Part 3: Combined systems
Part 1 and Part 3 are divided into two groups of tests separating the
measurements to be done once and those to be performed periodically. The
required measurements for the declaration of conformity of the instrument and
probe are extensive and time consuming due to the high number of channels and
array elements. A time and cost effective test can only be done using an
automated measuring system. The implementation of such a mobile, automated
measuring system at the manufacturer will be presented which complies with the
stipulations of the standard EN ISO 18563.
With the use of the automated test system and a related test procedure following
Part 1 and Part 2 of the standard, the specified acceptance criteria in the
manufacturing process and also within the lifetime of the array instrument and
probe ensure that the operator is using test equipment with verified properties.
Part 3 of the standard gives guidance for the operator to check the combined
system, instrument, probe and cables connected, for proper performance during
his work.
Additional tests for a particular application have to be defined by the person
responsible for the procedure of the application.

Keywords: phased-array ultrasonic testing (PAUT), phased-array test

equipment, standardization, automated measuring system

License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/ More info about this article: http://ndt.net/?id=19588
1. Introduction

The established use of ultrasonic phased-array technology with its equipment for industrial
applications required the need for standards in this area. These can be sorted into three

 Terminology,

 Test equipment,
 Applications.

Based on the existing European Standard EN 12668:2010 for the characterization and
verification of ultrasonic test equipment for conventional testing the new standard EN ISO
18563 for the characterization and verification of ultrasonic phased-array equipment was

 Part 1: Instruments,
created, which is also divided into the three parts:

 Part 2: Probes,
 Part 3: Complete systems.

Part 1 and 3 are released as EN ISO 18563-1 and EN ISO 18563-3 and part 2 as EN 16392-
2, all are in accordance with European Standard EN 16018:2011 which defines the phased-
array terminology.

2. The standard for phased-array equipment

2.1 Instruments, EN ISO 18563-1

Part 1 defines the methods for the measurements and verification of the phased-array
instrument within the frequency range of 0,5 MHz to 10 MHz including the acceptance
criteria. Parts of this test can be also used for phased-array instruments in automated test
systems, but then other tests may be needed to ensure a satisfying operation. The
acceptance criteria for the measurements may be modified by agreement of the parties

 Group 1: tests to be performed by the manufacturer on a representative sample;

The standard defines two groups of measurements:

 Group 2: tests to be performed on every instrument, prior to supply, after repair or

every twelve months by the manufacturer or a test laboratory.

Table 1: Instrument tests to be performed

Group 1 (once by manufacturer)

Battery operated instrument
Operating time
Stability against voltage variations
After warm-up
Against temperature
Time base error
Highest digitised frequency

Screen refresh rate for A-scan presentation
Pulse repetition frequency
Output impedance
Time delay resolution
Dead time after transmitter pulse
Dynamic range and maximum input voltage
Input impedance
Time corrected gain (TCG)
Temporal resolution
Time delay resolution
Linearity of vertical display over the extreme frequency ranges
Monitor gate
Linearity of monitor gate amplitude
Time-of-flight of monitor gate
Impedance of analogue output
Linearity of analogue output
Influence of the signal position within the gate
Rise time, fall time and hold time of analogue output
Beam forming Summation of 4 signals
Group 2 (on each instrument and every 12 months)
Visual inspection
Rise time
Duration (width)
Linearity of time delays
Frequency response
Channel gain variation
Equivalent input noise
Gain linearity
Linearity of vertical display
Linearity of time delays

2.2 Probes, EN 16392-2

Part 2 defines the measurements and verifications of the characteristics for linear phased-
array probes used in contact or in immersion technique within a frequency range from 0,5
MHz to 10 MHz including the acceptance criteria which have to be used to issue a
declaration of conformity for the probe after manufacturing.

This standard is published as EN 16392-2 and the request for getting it into an ISO standard
is started as ISO 18563-2. With this step the new revision will incorporate 2D arrays. When
this is completed it will be aligned with the EN ISO 18563 standard family.

Table 2: Probe tests to be performed

Visual inspection
Each element
Pulse duration
Relative sensitivity variation
Probe sensitivity
Two elements
Inter-element cross-talk

2.3 Combined systems, EN ISO 18563-3

Part 3 is used for phased-array systems with linear phased-array probes in contact or
immersion testing within the frequency range from 0,5 MHz to 10 MHz. It specifies the
measurement procedures and acceptance criteria for the complete system consisting of the
instrument, probe and probe cable prior to the application test to ensure correct operation.
The measurement methods can be utilized on site or on shop floor, they are not intended to
prove the suitability of the system for particular applications.

The measurements are also, as in Part 1, divided into two groups, Group 1 for the test
which have to be done once and Group 2 tests which have to performed periodically if the
combined system was not changed. The measurements of Group 1 have to be documented
in the system record sheet and this will be updated during the Group 2 tests.

This part is not intended to be used for encircling arrays, series of apertures having different
number of elements, different settings for transmitting and receiving and post processing
signals going beyond delay law calculations.

Table 3: System tests to be performed

Group 1 (once)
Elements and channels
Channel assignment
Relative sensitivity of elements
Beam characterisation
Absence of saturation
Probe index point
Angle(s) of refraction
Sensitivity along the beam axis
Beam dimensions
Squint angle
Grating lobes (recommended)
Reflector positioning
-6dB spot size
Amplitude comparison
Group 2 (workshop or on site,
Visual inspection of equipment
Relative sensitivity of elements
Linearity of the amplification system
Absolute sensitivity of virtual probes
Relative sensitivity of virtual probes
Probe index points
Angle(s) of refraction
Squint angle

3. The implementation of the standard for phased-array instruments

The high number of channels of the phased-array instrument needs a huge amount of
measurements which will be very time consuming in case of a manual measurement.
Considering the manufacturer measurements required for each instrument and the
periodical annual measurements defined in group 2 of EN ISO 18563-1 they can only be
effectively performed by an automated test system. The used test system consists of a
signal generator, attenuator, oscilloscope and a control PC which drives the measurement
devices and loads the required data sets for the individual measurements into the
instrument. The control software runs automatically all tests and then the PC has to store all
the measured data to generate finally the declaration of conformity if all measurement
results are within the required tolerances.

For an instrument like the USM Vision which has 16 channels with a multiplexer to 128
channels about 500 measurements for group 1 tests and 2000 for group 2 tests need to be
performed. The high number of measurements in group 2 is driven by the gain linearity test
across the total gain range for each channel which is not multiplexed.

The number of measurements increases significantly with the number of channels if they
are not multiplexed. The USIP|xx testing machine is a scalable instrument platform
designed to provide high productivity and probability of detection for in-line ultrasonic
testing, which requires many high element probes [5]. The instrument is based on 64-
channel modules which are plugged into one rack, which can contain up to 12 modules
allowing 768 channels. To test the 64-channel module 6000 measurements are needed to
perform the group 2 tests.

For many automated testing machine applications multiple racks with 768 channels are
used. As an example, a full parallel 1400 channel instrument supporting multiple phased-
array probes would need 130.000 instrument measurements for the group 2 tests. Before
putting the testing machine into operation reference measurements will be performed to
define the required parameters of the instrument. The reference measurement values will
then be taken to define the tolerances for the periodical in-service tests. As an example the
measurement values of the transmitter characteristics will include the testing machine
configuration, like probe adapters. The automated test system allows an on-site instrument
verification, see Fig.1.

Fig. 1: Automated test system (red box) for on-site instrument verification

4. Conclusion

To make the measurement effort effective the measurements are categorized into groups
and done at different time intervals, see Table 4.

Table 4: Standards and their measurement intervals

I stru e ts Pro es Co i ed Syste s


Group : o e after a ufa turi g Group : o e

Group : periodi ally Group : periodi ally

The high number of measurements to qualify phased-array instruments and probes can only
be efficiently performed using automated test systems driving and measuring the device
under test and storing all data for traceability.

For phased-array testing machines using a very high number of channels even with an
automated test system the measurements to be performed according to the Part 1 Group 2
tests will be time consuming which will lead to system down time in case of re-
qualification. Therefore it is necessary to modify or reduce the required measurements in
agreement with the customer, and to plan additional application tests to ensure satisfying
system performance.

1. EN 16018, Non-destructive testing - Terminology - Terms used in ultrasonic testing with phased arrays;
Trilingual version
2. EN ISO 18563-1, Characterization and verification of ultrasonic phased-array equipment - Part 1:
3. EN 16392-2, Characterization and verification of ultrasonic phased-array equipment - Part 2: Probes
4. EN ISO 18563-3, Characterization and verification of ultrasonic phased-array equipment - Part 3:
Combined systems
5. Buechler, Johannes; Steinhoff, Norbert: High-End Ultrasonic Phased-Array System for Automatic
Inspections; 18th World Conference on Nondestructive Testing, 2012, Durban