When complex engineering products are created, manufacturers can easily measure physical parameters and check materials against product and safety specifications to ensure they are fit for purpose. Through material science and digital engineering, designers can verify the most complex systems will work intended.
A more challenging problem is how to then continue testing through a full product lifecycle to ensure that safety is not compromised by usage. Safety-critical products, such as aero engines, bridges or pipelines will have a regime of visual inspection, combined with non-destructive testing (NDT) to check the subsurface structural integrity.
Testing in situ using a variety of media, such as sound or electromagnetic radiation, is a well-established Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) process, and there are standard methods for interpreting the results, such as EN 1330 or the US ASTM E-1316 equivalent. But these methods are often expensive and time-consuming to accurately distinguish relevant and true indications - which require repair - from healthy measurements that require no further action.
This was the challenge faced by Inductosense, an ultrasonic sensor technology company that prides itself on the performance of its technology.