Laser ultrasound inspection at industrial process speeds

B Dutton, J Whicker and W Vesga  

Inspection of industrial processes such as welding usually rely on post-process non-destructive testing (NDT), which adds time and cost. Therefore, these inspections would be better placed during the processes. Other processes, such as additive manufacturing (AM), are ideal to apply such an approach due to their unique bead-by-bead or layer-by-layer method. An optimal place to verify the part quality is after a bead or layer, with the potential advantage to reduce or eliminate the need to inspect after the full build or after machining. Due to the nature of these processes, for example elevated temperature, conventional NDT methods are not applicable. Laser ultrasonic testing is an ideal NDT method since its non-contact method allows it to work at the elevated temperatures of these processes. This paper explores the capability of this technique for AM and provides demonstrated results on laser welding inspection at welding process speed