UK-based Theta Technologies is an expert in non-destructive testing and specializes particularly in a new type of testing process called nonlinear acoustics (NLA). The technology uses audible and ultrasound frequencies to detect any inconsistencies or defects rapidly and cost-efficiently in 3D printed parts. Presently, the company is preparing to bring its first NLA product to market, the RD1-TT, and it’s giving AM manufacturers the opportunity to test out its new process.
The company has launched an exclusive campaign to give additive manufacturing users a first-hand look at its new testing process. As part of the campaign, Theta Technologies will test the most complex parts companies send them* to demonstrate how its RD1-TT machine is more accurate, efficient and affordable than conventional NDT processes. Click here to participate in the campaign.
What is Nonlinear Acoustic testing?
Theta Technologies’ patented NLA technology takes advantage of the fact that every printed part has a unique acoustic signature. The part’s material, size and geometry all play into what this signature is. NLA works by exposing the part to ultrasound frequencies and measuring the response. As Theta CTO James Watts explained to 3dpbm in a recent interview: “We exploit the fact that the acoustic signature of a flawed component changes as we change the excitation, whereas the signature of a flaw-free sample remains unchanged. We can thus detect the nonlinear response of a flaw in the sample.”
NLA is also designed to be easy to use. The upcoming system, for instance, can rapidly detect the presence of cracks, delamination and creep in a 3D printed part. “Theta Technologies delivers accurate pass/fail results in a matter of seconds, dramatically enhancing the efficiency of metal additive manufacturing production processes,” the company explains. “Our NDT solutions are so simple to operate that testing can take place without the presence of highly skilled operators; helping to reduce costs in the process.”
While the non-destructive testing method wasn’t specifically engineered for additive manufacturing, it does pair well with the process. This is because NLA remains consistently effective no matter how complex a part geometry is. It is also safer and easier to use than other NDT methods that work well for complex parts, like X-ray CT scans.
“We see that adoption of AM into critical manufacturing processes is hampered by the difficulty of validating the components before use. In some cases, we believe that components are even designed to look much like conventionally manufactured components simply to allow them to be inspected more easily. We see that the AM industry, coupled with fast and effective NDT, can answer these fears and enable AM to be used much more widely in applications where it would not previously have been considered.”
RD1-TT launching soon
Theta Technologies’ first commercial NLA system, the RD1-TT, will be launching imminently. To learn more about the technology and even test it out, sign up with Theta Technologies.
Theta Technologies will be presenting at the upcoming TCT 3Sixty exhibition at Birmingham HEC on June 8 and 9, 2022. Feel free to visit them at stand G12 to see the new NDT equipment first hand and find out how it can enhance your AM production workflow.
*Sample parts are subject to RD1-TT feasibility assessment prior to be accepted.