Jet Testing Method Brings Inspectors to the Cloud
GE – It could happen anywhere. An airline is about to send a jet to the gate, when a mechanic detects a possible crack in the fuselage during a routine check.
Bob Ward, a general manager at GE Inspection Technologies, whose specialty is electromagnetic eddy current testing, and his team recently developed a portable system connected to the Industrial Internet that allows mechanics to test parts and tap the wisdom of the crowd to analyze them.
“We saw that there was a need in the marketplace to lower the learning curve for young inspectors and transfer knowledge to them from older workers.”
The system records testing data, matches it with inspection guidelines developed by experienced inspectors, and displays the results on a tablet-like device. It also ditigizes the paper trail.
Technicians can use it to communicate with their peers around the world. “The customer can feel confident the data inspectors are getting when they need to decide whether a plane should fly,” Ward says.
Like other non-destructive diagnostic tools, the system uses eddy-current to detect tiny cracks inside parts or under layers of paint. The probe generates a complimentary magnetic field that induces eddy current in parts made from conductive materials. Defects change the flow of the current and alter the magnetic field.
Reading the signals, however, is a complex task that often requires years of expertise with the instrument. Even experts frequently rely on thick field manuals to read the data and compare notes with colleagues to interpret the results.
The best inspectors are not getting younger. Some 40 percent of them are 56 years old or older.
“There’s a problem with the pipeline of technicians.” more> http://tinyurl.com/k98wso9