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Computer-controlled ultrasonic instrumentation

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article image Logarithmic signal in a system with four ultrasonic channels.

NTS Ultrasonics has recently developed a computer-controlled ultrasonic instrumentation system suitable for fixed and portable (battery operated) applications in non-destructive testing and other measurement areas that use ultrasound.

The instrumentation communicates with a host computer via a full speed USB2.0 link and can be configured with up to eight independent ultrasonic channels capable of being run in parallel for high speed testing or complicated probe arrangements. The host computer can be a laptop, an embedded PC or a desktop PC.

Two different ultrasonic transmitter/receiver types are available, a conventional one suitable for most applications, and a high power version for ultrasonic inspection of highly attenuating materials, such as rubber, which produces transmit pulses up to -1000V dc. Both transmitter types offer single pulse and burst modes.

The receiver amplifiers are very sensitive but with the use of input attenuators can be made to operate with similar sensitivity to other commercial ultrasonic flaw detectors.

In addition to unrectified and full wave rectified outputs, the receivers offer logarithmically compressed outputs with compression up to 80dB. 10-bit digitisation of the analogue signals is used.

The USB-linked, computer-controlled, ultrasonic instrumentation system comes with software drivers for LabWindows CVI (National Instruments). NTS Ultrasonics can write and customise software to suit individual applications with data displays in any of the common NDT formats.

Application areas could include remote NDT (eg. underwater), railway industry applications, in-line inspection systems, and B-scan and C-scan applications requiring mechanical or manual scanners.

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