NDT Solutions, a long-established USA aerospace non-destructive Testing (NDT) service group, has teamed with innovative Invert Robotics company from Christchurch in a joint venture certain to change the process of aircraft inspection at the In-Service, OEM and Maintenance levels.
Invert’s remotely controlled robot employs a patented suction mechanism that adheres and traverses a range of aircraft surfaces made of aluminium, carbon or glass-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP and GFRP).
This unique process allows the technician to scan both the upper as well as the lower fuselage/wing surfaces from the remote location in both wet and dry environments.
Currently the robot is equipped with a high-resolution camera to visualise and document surface conditions by transmitting video images to a ground-based screen for analysis by the technician.
This process facilitates efficient inspections that can be shared immediately with an offsite engineering team.
NDT Solutions will extend the capabilities of the robot by adding NDT functionality such as Ultrasound, Eddy Current, Thermography and will continue research on other inspection modalities. These enhancements will reduce the labour, improve safety and minimise tedious inspection processes allowing the skilled aircraft technicians to focus on more complex tasks.
NDT Solution’s COO Larry Culbertson comments; “Our team is constantly looking for ways to improve inspection services and reduce the costs to our customers in this highly competitive industry. The unique technology that Invert brings is the ideal automated delivery platform for many of the NDT technologies already in use manually.
“Time savings mean cost savings and our aerospace customers will have their aircraft returned to service sooner utilizing this cost-effective inspection approach in a safer environment. Recording the state of an aircraft proves the quality of our work and allows more accurate scheduling of required maintenance. We are excited to be part of this partnership that we believe will have a significant effect in our industry.”
Invert Robotics originally established itself in the dairy industry in New Zealand, Europe and Australia carrying out inspections of large-scale dairy plants, dramatically reducing the time and improving the quality of inspections while avoiding the need for inspectors to work in confined spaces.
With current operations mainly in Europe, Invert has recently extended to the Petroleum and Energy Industries with a new base in Houston.
“The partnership with NDT Solutions and the technologies used across many industries creates an extraordinary opportunity to scale our presence in the aviation and petrochemical markets. The NDT capabilities of NDT Solutions are highly regarded beyond aviation and deliver to Invert a clear advantage as we expand our operation across new industry sectors. We are delighted to be working with a world class company like NDT Solutions to develop the benefits the robot will bring to both our businesses”, said Neil Fletcher, Managing Director of Invert Robotics.