The integrity of gearbox pinion welds is a critical process in ensuring system quality. This is compounded by the demanding manufacturing lead times in this sector, which require the diagnosis of the inspection to be automated. In this case, the customer was faced with the obsolescence of the current installations and the need to carry out the retrofit in an urgent and robust manner.
Retrofitting an existing machine is always a challenge. Particular attention had to be paid to dimensional constraints and to covering the full range of pinion geometries and weld thicknesses. Weld evaluation had to be automatic so that the process could be monitored by operators who were not qualified in NDT.
A rotating ultrasonic (UT) inspection system was integrated into the customer’s production line to check the quality of the pinion welds while maintaining the established short cycle time. The development of software for autonomous evaluation and recording of the inspection was also included to provide a pass/fail answer at the end of the measurement and digital tracking of results.