Based on the name “ultrasonic instruments”, it is clear that these are devices that use ultrasound to perform their function. So, to give a good answer to the question “what are ultrasonic instruments?” it is better to start by describing what ultrasound is.
What is ultrasound?
Ultrasound makes reference to the principle of using sound waves at very high frequencies, usually higher than those the humans can hear. This means that ultrasound applies frequencies higher than 20 kilohertz with operating values reaching up to the gigahertz ranges depending on the ultrasonic instrument.
The word ultrasound is commonly heard in the health sector, where ultrasound imaging is commonplace.
Yet, when it comes to the engineering field, ultrasonic instruments are used for different purposes, such as non-destructive testing, measurement and quality control.
Ultrasonic instruments for non-destructive testing
Some ultrasonic instruments are used for non-destructive testing in order to identify and verify mechanical features while keeping the integrity of the part tested.
This type of ultrasonic instruments is especially useful for finished parts or products. They allow you to identify and test aspects such as:
- Flaws on the surface finish which may not be visible to the eye.
- Hardness of the material.
- Pipe fractures that may lead to leakage.
- Other invisible flaws.
Using ultrasonic instruments for non-destructive testing provides you with a series of advantages, for example:
- Both internal and external flaws can be detected.
- Both volumetric and crack like flaws can be detected no matter their orientation
- Some instruments take the exact same time to test pieces with different thickness.
- The radiation risk present with the radiography method of testing is eliminated.
Among the most common ultrasonic instruments used for non-destructive testing, we offer:
- Ultrasonic flaw detector – SAFD500
- Ultrasonic flaw detector – SAFD660
- Ultrasonic hardness tester UCI method – SA459C
Reference standards for non-destructive testing
Non-destructive testing is regulated by different standards which determine the verification methods to be applied according to the material, the thickness of the metal, the type of joint, etc.
S.A.M.A. Italia is associated with UNI Ente italiano di Normazione:
Being a Member allows you to participate personally in the definition of the rules, helping to define the rules of your sector of reference rather than subject them.
UNI allows members and not to consult the reference standards at any time, purchasing them online.
Ultrasonic instruments for measurement
Another group of ultrasonic instruments is formed by those used to measure parameters such as the thickness of a material or a coating with high precision.
This group uses a measuring method called “Ultrasonic Thickness Measurement” or UTM. Therefore, they are usually known as ultrasonic measuring gauges.
Ultrasonic measuring gauges are capable of measuring the thickness by using a probe that generates an ultrasound pulse and sends it through the thickness of the part being measured.
Then, the instrument calculates the thickness by a calculation that considers the time needed for that ultrasound pulse to go through, get reflected by the opposite surface of the piece and return to the probe.
With the values obtained by the instrument, it is possible to identify and verify:
- Thickness of the material for possible wear.
- Corrosion on the material.
- Possibility of splitting material.
- Accurate coating thickness.
Considered part of the non-destructive testing tools, ultrasonic instruments for measurement offer a variety of benefits, such as:
- Not damaging the measured sample.
- Access to both sides of the sample is not required.
- High precision achieved.
- Do not require laboratory like conditions to work.
- These instruments are cheap compared to other alternatives.
Some ultrasonic measurement instruments that you can get with us include:
- Precision ultrasonic thickness gauge – SAUT160
- Graphic ultrasonic thickness gauge – SAUT500D-SW
- High accuracy ultrasonic thickness gauge – SAUT350-SW
- Through coating ultrasonic thickness gauge – SAUT310D-SW
- Ultrasonic thickness gauge – SA8812
Watch the video we made on the graphic thickness gauge
Ultrasonic instruments for quality control
Both non-destructive testing and measurements are used to compare results with what is expected. If results match the specifications of the part or the product tested, it can be concluded that the part has the quality desired.
It is then obvious that ultrasonic instruments are an important asset for quality control. Most ultrasonic instruments provide information which is essential for quality assurance, such as:
- Roughness measure and control.
- Wall thickness.
- Coating thickness.
- Color and gloss differences measure.
- Hardness of the material.
Therefore, benefits for the quality control department include all the benefits mentioned above, plus the fact that some of these instruments can be applied directly in the production line without the need of taking samples to a laboratory.
Also, all the ultrasonic instruments mentioned above are useful for quality control activities, but we have more. Other instruments we offer and can come in handy for quality control are:
- Portable surface roughness testers.
- External probe surface roughness testers.
- Integrated probe digital coating thickness gauges.
- External probe digital coating thickness gauges.
And this is just a small list.
What materials can be tested?
At this point, you should already known what are ultrasonic instruments, how they work and their main applications.
However, it is also important to understand which are the materials that make ultrasonic instruments the right choice.
Fortunately, these instruments work with a wide range of materials, especially if they are high-quality instruments.
For example, our precision ultrasonic thickness gauge – SAUT160 can measure the thickness of ultrasonic conducting materials such as:
- Cast Iron
- Quartz Glass
- Gray Cast Iron
- Spheroidal Iron
It is clear that a short and accurate answer for the question “what are ultrasonic instruments?” could be “powerful measuring and testing tools”.
The fact that these instruments are capable of providing essential information to improve the quality of products and processes makes them a must have for any company, that takes their business seriously.
Keep in mind that ultrasonic instruments are not only for quality control, some of them are also very useful on the field to perform maintenance inspections on tanks, metal sheets, pipelines, under pressure containers, bulkheads, and other equipment where corrosion and other defects may be present.
If you are interested in acquiring any of our ultrasonic instruments, or you have any inquiries about these and any other of our products or services, do not hesitate to contact us. We are pleased to help you.