Aviation Week Network this week announced its coveted Laureate Awards, and GE Aerospace was named a winner in the MRO category for multiple advanced inspection technologies it is bringing to improve the efficiency, accuracy, and quality of inspections. You might call them our advanced technology (AT) Inspectors, created by our GE Aerospace engineering and R&D teams.
Our AT Inspectors come in the form of highly intelligent, worm-shaped robots, artificial intelligence (AI), and ultrasonic systems that each share their knowledge, senses and insights to our expert service engineers in the shop to improve the inspection process.
Sensiworm (Soft ElectroNics Skin-Innervated Robotic Worm), is a highly intelligent, acutely sensitive soft robot resembling an inchworm that could serve as extra sets of eyes and ears for Aerospace service operators inside the engine.
Today, our operators use advanced inspection instruments like a video borescope that provide valuable inspection data but are limited in overall turbine coverage because of factors such as gravity, which can cause the tip to naturally settle when not braced against a structure within the engine.
Sensiworm could help inspect those sections of the engine that are more difficult to reach. It can move easily through the crevasses and curves of jet engine parts and is capable of detecting part defects, corrosion, and can even measure the thickness of thermal barrier coatings.
Still under development, Sensiworm’s virtually unfettered access inside the engine could enhance the future of on-wing inspections.
Similar to how artificial intelligence (AI) is used to help doctors review X-rays of patients to spot lung cancer, GE Aerospace’s AI-enabled Blade Inspection Tool (BIT) guides the selection of engine blade images for technicians to inspect in our MRO shops for faster, more accurate inspections.
Specifically, this tool enables the inspection of GEnx Stage 1 and 2 High Pressure Turbine Blades. Overall, using the BIT tool vs. the standard Borescope Inspection (BSI) reduces the processing time from 3 to 1.5 hours.
Advanced Ultrasonic Inspection
Some part defects and corrosion are impossible to see with the naked eye or even the best cameras. What to do? GE Aerospace service engineers can literally dial up another frequency – ultrasonic frequencies above the range of human hearing, similar to what dolphins and bats use to find food or avoid obstacles.
Our inspection experts essentially pulse high frequency sound waves through a material to identify any flaws or defects. This inspection process can be used for metal and composite parts.
GE Aerospace’s advanced technologyinspectors are indicative of a new era of advanced technologies emerging in AI, robotics, and imaging to drive a future of faster, more efficient, and accurate aircraft engine inspections.