Automated Inspection of Challenging Components using Novel Kelpie Designs

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Electronic and Electrical Engineering


This project will explore the alignment of this emerging technology with automated inspection of challenging industrial inspections. This can take the form of components with complex geometries or restricted access to the entire component surface. Importantly, in many such scenarios, radiography is used for inspection, necessitating clearance of personnel from the vicinity and radiation exposure risks to the inspector. Hence, a move towards ultrasonic techniques would be advantageous from a health and safety perspective. However, such inspection conditions are challenging for standard ultrasonic inspection techniques and the Kelpie sensor approach offers a potential solution for such industrial inspection needs.
The project will consider customised Kelpie array configurations for a number of appropriate industrial components. Simulation will be used to investigate a range of array designs, with close collaboration with Novosound required to align with manufacturing constraints. Extensive characterisation and evaluation of the arrays will be undertaken at the University of Strathclyde to ensure the sensor performance is applicable for NDE inspection applications.
A key objective of the project will be to integrate the Kelpie designs into an automated inspection system capable of operating in areas of restricted access. This task will develop bespoke mechanical systems to manipulate the sensor to ensure full area coverage and subsequently acquire high fidelity ultrasonic data from the component. The final stage will be to investigate post-processing algorithms to produce 3D images of the component under inspection, which will fuse data from the scanning and ultrasonic systems.
The researcher working on this project will gain expertise across a wide range of transferrable skills including system modelling, sensor fabrication, mechanical system design and signal/image processing. In addition to the core technical skills development, the successful FUSE researcher working on this project will collaborate with an emerging and ambitious company, with opportunities to develop appropriate business and marketing skills.

Planned Impact

FUSE has been designed to maximise impact in partnership with industry, international academics, and other organisations such as NPL and the NHS. It includes funded mechanisms to deal with opportunities in equality, diversity and integration (EDI) and in realisation of impactful outcomes.

EDI is aimed at realising the full potential of the talented individuals that join FUSE. Funding mechanisms include support for ten undergraduate internships to prime the pipeline into FUSE research studentships; part-time studentships reserved for people with specific needs to access this route; and talent scholarships for people from Widening Participation backgrounds. Additionally, cultural issues will be addressed through funded support for work life-balance activities and for workshops exploring the enhancement of research creativity and inventiveness through diversity.

People: As a community, FUSE will contribute to impact principally through its excellent training of outstanding people. At least 54 EngD and PhD graduates will emerge with very high value skills from the experience FUSE will provide in ultrasonics and through highly relevant professional skills. This will position them perfectly as future leaders in ultrasonics in the types of organisation represented by the partners.

Knowledge: FUSE will also create significant knowledge which will be captured in many different forms including industrial know-how, patents and processes, designs, and academic papers. Management of this knowledge will be integrated into the students' training, including data management and archival, and will be communicated effectively to those in positions to exploit it.

Economic Gain: In turn, the people and knowledge will lead to the economic impact that FUSE is ultimately designed to generate. The close interaction between the FUSE academics, its research students and industry partners will make it particularly efficient and, since FUSE includes both suppliers and customers, the transition from knowledge creation to exploitation will be accelerated.

Societal Benefit: FUSE is well placed to deliver a number of societal benefits which will reinforce our researcher training and external partner impacts. This activity encompasses new consumer products; improved public safety through advanced inspection across many industrial sectors; and new modalities for medical surgery and therapy. In addition, FUSE will provide engaging demonstrators to promote education in science, technology, engineering and maths, helping replenish the FUSE pipeline and supporting growth of the FUSE community far beyond its immediate members.

Impactful outcomes will gain from several specific funding mechanisms: horizon scanning workshops will focus on specific ultrasonic engineering application areas with industrial and other external participation; all FUSE students will have external partners and both industrial and international academic secondments will be arranged, as well as EngD studentships primarily in industry; and industry case studies will be considered. There will also be STEM promotion activity, funding ultrasonic technology demonstrators to support school outreach and public science and engineering events.


10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S023879/1 01/07/2019 31/12/2027
2602985 Studentship EP/S023879/1 13/09/2021 13/09/2025 Elmergue Germano