Using NI LabVIEW and NI ELVIS to Create a Computerized Ultrasonic Test System

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"Using LabVIEW and NI ELVIS, we created a unique, compact, and economical product to benefit several industries and research units. CUTE is the first of its kind in the field of ultrasonic nondestructive testing and evaluation."

- M Dushyanth, Anand Institute of Higher Technology

The Challenge:
Developing an instrument for automated ultrasonic nondestructive test that performs several advanced testing practices on a common, integrated platform.

The Solution:
Using NI LabVIEW, the NI Educational Laboratory Virtual Instrumentation Suite (NI ELVIS), a computer-driven transducer motion controller, and a signal processing module to create a virtual instrument for ultrasonic imaging.

Author(s):
M Dushyanth - Anand Institute of Higher Technology
M Swathi - Anand Institute of Higher Technology
R Shalyma - Anand Institute of Higher Technology

Ultrasonic testing (UT) is a widely used, nondestructive inspection method to evaluate engineering structures and materials based on their inherent characteristics and to predict their lifetimes. Each of the several UT techniques is specialized for a certain class of test objects. In practice, separate and dedicated instruments implement these techniques under one roof, making advanced testing expensive. We wanted to create a single, integrated virtual instrument with specific functionalities to solve this problem.

System Design

To provide an economical, integrated platform for UT techniques, we developed a computerized ultrasonic test equipment (CUTE) system. CUTE is a virtual instrument for UT, built with LabVIEW, which replicates traditional instruments and can be installed on any compatible computer.

LabVIEW helps us perform two conventional UT techniques: contact-type pulse-echo testing and immersion testing. CUTE facilitates ultrasonic imaging (B-scan and C-scan) apart from traditional amplitude-time signal representation (A-scan). Ultrasonic imaging requires great care and expertise while manually performing scans, so it automates these tests better. For this purpose, CUTE provides an option for automated testing using a computer-controlled motion frame with simultaneous data-logging capability.

We used NI ELVIS for data acquisition and motion control. An oscilloscope channel provides high-speed digitization. We built driver circuits for motors on the prototyping board of NI ELVIS and used the 12 integrated instruments in NI ELVIS for tests and measurements. We developed software modules for denoising signals using the LabVIEW Advanced Signal Processing Toolkit to improve signal-to-noise ratio of received signals.

Conclusion

Building this complete system was complex: We originally required accessories for signal presentation (including an advanced cathode ray tube) and a time-base generator, clock, or timer unit. However, the graph indicators in LabVIEW completely eliminated the need for such hardware, reducing expenses and making the testing system compact.

Using LabVIEW and NI ELVIS, we created a unique, compact, and economical product to benefit several industries and research units. CUTE is the first of its kind in the field of ultrasonic nondestructive testing and evaluation.

Author Information:
M Dushyanth
Anand Institute of Higher Technology
Dept. of Electronics and Instrumentation,Anand Institute of Higher Technology,Kalasalingam Nagar, IT Corridor, Old Mahabalipuram Road, Kazhipattur,
Chennai 603103
India
Tel: 044-27471320

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