The Impact of New Sensing Technology on U.K. Industry

The introduction of a new sensing technology has the potential to bring a revolutionary change to the manufacturing industry in the U.K. This technology, developed by researchers from the University of Bristol, aims to assess the quality of components used in additive manufacturing (3D printing) of metallic materials. The traditional methods of quality assessment currently in use are not sufficient to meet the safety and quality standards required by industries. The key breakthrough in this new technology lies in the use of ultrasonic array sensors, similar to those used in medical imaging, but with the added advantage of not requiring direct contact with the material.

The researchers have developed a mathematical model that incorporates the physics of ultrasonic waves propagating through additively manufactured metallic materials. This model takes into account the variability that exists between each manufactured component. By considering design parameters associated with the ultrasonic laser and the nature of the material, the researchers have created a formula that can measure the information produced by the sensor. This information is crucial for assessing the mechanical integrity of the components and ensuring they meet safety standards.

The discovery of this new sensing technology is expected to accelerate the design and deployment of quality assessment solutions in the manufacturing sector. By working closely with industry partners, the researchers aim to develop a means of assessing the mechanical integrity of safety-critical components at the manufacturing stage. This could lead to the adoption of new designs that take full advantage of 3D printing technology, resulting in quicker and more cost-effective production processes. Ultimately, this technology could provide significant commercial and economic advantages to the U.K. manufacturing industry.

Implementation and Future Plans

Moving forward, the research team plans to collaborate with experimental partners to design and build laser-based ultrasonic arrays. These sensors will be deployed in controlled additive manufacturing environments by robotic arms. The goal is to maximize the information content in the data produced by the sensor and develop imaging algorithms to generate tomographic images of the interior of components. Destructive means will be used to assess the quality of the tomographic images produced. This approach not only ensures the quality of components but also opens up new possibilities for 3D printing in manufacturing safety-critical components in industries like aerospace.

The lack of a reliable means to assess the mechanical integrity of components has been a major obstacle in utilizing 3D printing for safety-critical components. The new sensing technology developed by the University of Bristol researchers has the potential to overcome this challenge and provide significant commercial advantages to the U.K. manufacturing industry. By leveraging mathematical modeling and ultrasonic array sensors, this technology could revolutionize manufacturing processes and lead to innovative designs, cost-effective production, and enhanced quality assurance measures.

Technology

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