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Rate scalable NDT for AM

Qtr3 2017 – Qtr2 2019


The aim of RASCAL project was to develop a fast and economical inspection system for AM parts, possessing a comprehensive defect detectability by exploiting data fusion from two NDT methods (Thermography and Non-linear Acoustic), but depending on inspection needs RASCAL's modularity allows to upscale/downscale the system's capability. Sentencing the parts was performed in an automated manner by evaluation of user defined inspection requirements with NDT data.

Key activities

  • Organised and lead the Industrial Advisory Board (IAB)
  • Build and validate industrial parts with seeded defects
  • Develop and integrate a fully automated robotic cell
  • Perform a successful project demonstration with MTC members (A quote from Gregory Thompson from BAE Systems: “This demonstrator represents the perfect solution for me, where I can buy one…”)


The robotic cell demonstrator allows the automatic inspection of the integrity of AM parts using non-linear acoustics resonance and thermography inspection techniques, enabling the ability to discard the build AM parts that are out of tolerance or containing crack defects and delamination both at the surface and internally.

The novel hybrid development in an automated NDT inspection system can produce pass or fail automatically. In addition, automatically demonstrate defect recognition. Notches of up to 100 µm were detected in the build part using the thermography system.

The system has also shown the ability to perform inspection and make decisions with limited human input, and can be implemented as a new inspection method for AM right after the build before any post processing such as machining.

MTC role in project

The MTC organised and lead the Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) that included aerospace and medical industries, and manufactured all required parts geometries provided by IAB. These parts included defect free and seeded defects, by utilising Dr Ben Dutton leadership of ISO TC 261/ASTM F42 JG60 standard. Also, lead the validation of such parts through X-ray Computed Tomography. Additionally, lead the development and integrated a robotic sub-system to inspect post process AM parts using the NDT methods thermography and Non-Linear Acoustic (NLA). The MTC also provided management support to Theta Tech. Finally, the MTC lead the final project demonstration at the MTC and keeps the demonstration unit, for two years, for any partner to exhibit.

Other details

  • Project partners: Theta Technologies Ltd (Lead Participant:), Sonemat Limited, 3TRPD Limited, The Manufacturing Technology Centre Limited, Jetsoft Ltd
  • Funding body: IUK
  • Project budget: £519k
  • Grant to MTC: £257k
  • Link to Project website: https://gtr.ukri.org/projects?ref=103460