Developments from the BINDT Full Matrix Capture User Group


The Full Matrix Capture (FMC) User Group is the first of a number of user groups set up by the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing (BINDT) to bring international specialists together to increase the rate at which a technology develops into commercial use, as well as smoothing its transition.

FMC is a technique for capturing all possible ultrasonic data from a phased array probe. Each element is fired in turn and the received signal is recorded at each of the other elements for each firing. FMC collects the complete dataset of time-domain signals from every transmitter-receiver pair combination of elements in the array. This means that all of the information exists to undertake subsequent post-processing operations, including the forming of images.

FMC is maturing as a technique, though there is little standardisation between researchers, equipment manufacturers and end users, and there have been several requests from within BINDT for a panel to produce a guide to best practice along with a list of FMC terminology.

The FMC User Group currently has representation from 28 organisations, including nine equipment manufacturers, three universities, three technology development centres and end users from a variety of industrial backgrounds. The aim of the FMC User Group is to promote and advance FMC and associated techniques by using standardisation as appropriate and recommending best practice, with objectives including:
  • The production of a guide to agreed terminology
  • A review of existing techniques for calibration for FMC inspection and recommendation of best practice
  • The development of an FMC common file format for raw data
  • The development of a common file format for the reconstructed data, with links to the raw data format
  • The production of a best practice guide for FMC-based inspection
  • Highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of FMC and when it is appropriate to use it in place of other techniques
  • Recommending best practice for data storage.

The FMC User Group agreed that writing a standard is currently beyond its means, but it is hoped that amongst the group there will be agreement on procedures with a view to publication on the BINDT website, as well as other company websites, making the information openly accessible.

It is anticipated that the benefits of the FMC User Group will be the standardisation of terminology and advice on best practice for the acquisition, processing, analysis and storage of the data, to reach agreement where there is no standard or procedure, resulting in the production of documents recording such procedures and promotion to the technical community.

Current priorities of the FMC User Group are the terminology, calibration and work on the multi-frame matrix capture file format (MFMC-CFF), which allows the transfer of experimental data between organisations.

The FMC User Group Chair, Martin Mienczakowski, has initiated work on the MFMC-CFF at the University of Bristol, but the FMC User Group has now assumed responsibility for directing further development. As this technology matures, it requires more work on technical specifications and standardisation to maximise its take-up.

The FMC User Group has generated good levels of interest and is already formulating positive outcomes. Membership of this group will help to shape and influence decisions and everyone is encouraged to have their say. The group has been adopted as a Special Interest Group under the umbrella of ICNDT.

“The FMC User Group has expanded dramatically since its formation in 2015. This reflects the worldwide interest in a technique that has significant potential to improve inspection. We are actively searching for more members to help contribute to our work,” said Martin Mienczakowski.

Anyone wishing to get involved as a volunteer does not need to be a member of the Institute or even reside in the UK, but must have an interest in the speciality subject of FMC. Meetings are held via teleconference and at a time to suit all participants, no matter where in the world they are located. For more information, contact the Committee Secretary, Karen Hickman, by telephone: +44 (0)1604 89 3811 or email: