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Tecnatom to Provide Non-Destructive Testing Knowledge to CleanSky Project

11 February 2014

The CleanSky project, led by Airbus, aims to meet European Union initiatives by manufacturing more efficient aircraft.

CleanSky is an aeronautical research project launched in Europe through public-private collaboration among a variety of enterprises and bodies. The goal of the project, to which Tecnatom will provide its knowledge in the area of non-destructive testing (NDT), is to manufacture more fuel efficient aircraft and create cleaner and less noisy skies.  

The programme is intended to unite the aerospace industry on the research of novel methods, materials and systems to be applied to future airlifter types; therefore they have less environmental impact than current airlifters. The project management function will be performed by Clean Sky Joint Undertaking (CSJU), which will deliver demonstrators in all segments of civil air transport, grouped into six technological areas called Integrated Technology Demonstrators(ITD).

Airbus, which is leading several ITDs, has awarded Tecnatom the part to develop novel inspection approaches and automated systems for monitoring composite damage on line. The Spanish company will provide its expertise in NDT and develop innovating inspection techniques such as thermography, shearography, air coupled ultrasounds and notably laser ultrasounds.

This collaboration will contribute to strengthen the relationship between Airbus and Tecnatom, who have already worked together on other initiatives such as TARGET and LusTeam.

Tecnatom says the structural tests on composite components within an aircraft usually require destructive testing during execution in order to measure resistance damage of panels under shear and compression in the course of the different stages of an aircraft within its operational life. Different types of defects are identified in the prove process so continuous technical assistance and monitoring of the evolution should be provided. Airbus is currently performing structural inspections manually so the evolution of test data can be neither monitored nor registered. In addition, inspections performed manually are also very slow and hence require human presence as test is running 24-hours per day.

This project, which will have a duration of two years, is intended to solve these deficiencies in the field of component inspection, dealing with the feasibility demonstration for a first phase, where suitable NDT technology and automation principles are going to be defined, identifying mechanical and software requirements of this kind of structural tests. This step will be followed by the verification phase, where a prototype will be manufactured and final probes executed. As a result of this joint effort, an inspection automated system to perform NDT during text execution and transmission of the results on-line will be available. The resulting demonstrator will provide many advantages for the manufacturing engineering process; quality, data recording, repeatability,  total test time reduction and the saving in hours of human presence, the possibility of a very early detection, because no human presence would be required and, hence, this fact enables a larger number of inspections with a significant cost increase.






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