Published on 31-Jan-2022

Phased Array Inspection for Mining

Phased Array Inspection for Mining

Mines sites are rife with critical components that directly impact performance and profitability. The dependence of these critical components means if failure does occur, considerable, costly impacts will undoubtedly occur in response.

Given these challenges, mine engineers and inspection partners are challenged to efficiently and effectively assess the condition of these critical assets. For ALS, this means elevating our inspection program with advanced inspection capabilities. One of which advancement has been in the inspection of critical shafts using tailored Phased Array Ultrasonic testing (PAUT).

Critical shafts exist in a variety of geometries with varying access requirements. Given this variability, bespoke inspection methods need to ensure all areas of the shaft with potentially critical defects are adequately inspected, and the inspection method minimizes downtime and associate costs.

Phased Array Ultrasonic testing coupled with custom designed scanning equipment and experienced phased array technicians offers:

  • Significant flexibility to manage unique shaft geometries.
  • In-situ inspection to allow comprehensive coverage of critical regions without disassembly cost and extensive downtime.
  • Relatively high-speed inspection method, which further minimizes downtime.
  • High probability of detection of critical defects, particularly for developing cracks.

As with any advanced inspection method adopted by ALS, our bespoke PAUT solutions have been rigorously tested to ensure we continue to provide the most advanced, efficient and effective inspection methods available and give customers superior customer value.

IN THE FIELD: Inspection of Bucket Wheel Shafts

ALS has been conducting PAUT inspections across Australia for a number of years which has meant varied and comprehensive experience, exposure and knowledge has been accumulated by our team. One in field example of PAUT comes from the inspection of bucket wheel shafts during a shutdown at a mine site.

The asset had no standard inspection equipment capable of providing satisfactory examination of the shaft’s condition whilst in-situ. Given this, the client required the inspection of critical areas, such as changes in shaft sections, along with an examination for possible forging defects originating from the shaft manufacture.

With this requirements, ALS developed a bespoke PAUT procedure for this shaft, utilising phased array with both shear wave and longitudinal sound waves. For the inspection a purpose-built scanning spindle was created and a raster scanning technique deployed.

The resultant inspection was able to provide full surface and volumetric coverage of the critical shafts without the need to remove them from the machine.

Ultimately, defects of a critical nature were detected, down to as little as 1mm by 10mm long in certain regions.

Source: https://www.alsglobal.com/en/news/articles/2021/02/asset-care-phased-array-inspection-for-mining



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