Magnetic Particle Inspection
6000 Amps controlled using microelectronics
|Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
||Instruments and appliances for measuring, checking,
Johnson & Allen Ltd, located in Sheffield and established in
1938, has expertise in Non-destructive Testing (NDT) techniques. The company
designs and manufactures standard and bespoke Magnetic Particle Inspection
Equipment for the Aerospace, Petrochemical, Automotive, Offshore and other
Industries. Electronic work was subcontracted. Direct employees total
25, non have microelectronic experience. Annual sales turnover is 1.5MEur.
The Industrial Sector is 3320: Instruments and Appliances for testing.
Magnetic Crack Detection requires the control of large currents, typically
up to 6000Amps AC RMS. This is achieved by controlling the primary windings
of purpose built transformers using two Thyristors for larger units above
1500Amps or a Triac for smaller units below 1500Amps. The two circuit
boards used in the existing equipment were designed by the sub-contractor
and have been used for approximately 10 years. They operate similar to
an AC Motor Controller. A low voltage is applied in bursts to the Thyristor
or Triac to make it 'fire'. The current is then controlled by chopping
The project was to replace the existing product with an integrated electronic
testing machine that had an improved performance, functionality, flexibility
The new product, which uses microelectronics, is individually programmed
to give a choice of either automatic or semi-automatic testing of a broad
spectrum of components A magnetic field in the test component is set up
by a known and accurate current waveform to identify imperfections. The
precise regulation of magnetising forces is achieved with a feedback loop
that monitors the current. Monitoring of the current uses back to back
Hall Effect Probes to enable highly accurate calibration and ensure test
integrity and repeatability. A non-volatile memory is used to enable relevant
test parameters for individual components to be retrievable and eliminate
manual set up.
The project started August 1997, took 13 months and cost 45KEuros. The
payback on this investment is 12 months and return on investment is conservatively
estimated to be 10-fold over the life of the product. 325 words.
Johnson and Allen Ltd.
Sheffield, S3 7AR
|You can also benefit from microelectronics
Microcontroller technology provided Johnson and Allen Ltd. with the means
of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also
achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology
and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get
help from FUSE to realise this.
FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.
FUSE provides you with:
- Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
- Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.
Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.
||Guiding Technology Transfer Node
|For further information and support regarding this case study, please contact a Technology Transfer Node (TTN) in your region.
Bolton Institute of Higher Education
Technology Development Unit
BL3 5AB Bolton