Smaller, specialized companies also breed innovation, particularly in handling challenges like the evolving materials used in new aircraft. For example, DolphiTech has upgraded both hardware and software on its ultrasound camera for detecting defects in aircraft composites. The camera is optimized for carbon-fiber reinforced plastic, but it can also be used on glass fiber.
This is a small, hand-held device suited for examining small areas, such as those possibly damaged by a bird strike, truck dent or dropped tool, “when you know where to look,” CEO Jan Olav Endrerud explains. It is not designed for inspecting large areas.
The DolphiTech device has been accepted by Boeing and is under review by Airbus. Endrerud would like to have it accepted by major MRO providers. He says his technology yields high-resolution images, revealing defects down to 1 millimeter laterally and .03 mm in depth. It is easy to control on any Windows-based PC or touchscreen.
“It yields quicker inspections and better images and requires only a day or two of training,” Endrerud says. Eventually he would like to develop a remote-control version that could centrally manipulated to collect images centrally for inspections conducted all over the world.