A process for the non-destructive testing of components produced via metal Additive Manufacturing is now being used by German engineering company Toolcraft. The system offers the opportunity to check components using a non-destructive method for cracks, overlaps, folds, pores and binding errors in the surface.
Precision parts and high-tech components are wetted with a fluorescent penetrant, thereby making even the smallest cracks visible under UVA light. The process is predominantly used on metallic materials, although it can also be applied to other materials such as ceramics, assuming the surface is suitable for testing with penetrants.
Each testing process starts with preliminary cleaning of the components in an alkaline bath.
Following this, the alkali is washed off in a three-stage bath cascade using demineralised water. To protect the environment an activated charcoal filter continuously filters the process water and prepares it for further cleaning processes. Toolcraft has also installed an additional water treatment plant that filters the water required for the process so it can be reused in further test procedures.
Once the fluorescent penetrant has been applied by an electrostatic method, the component undergoes intermediate cleaning. Following this, it is immersed in an emulsifier bath in order to partially dissolve the penetrant. Immersion in the water stop bath is used for finishing the process.
The testers apply a dry developer before assessing the component. This picks up the penetrant remaining in the defects and shows it up under UVA light.
Even microscopically small cracks, which can have a decisive effect in aerospace applications, are revealed in the evaluation cabin.
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