Ultrasonic Testing Technology to Ensure Highest-Quality Product is Given to the U.S. Army

12/07/2020

Photo: TechKnowServe

Happy Valley is known for its many outstanding medical and industrial ultrasound instrumentation manufacturers. Since 2002, TechKnowServ Corp (TKS) has supplied R&D, consulting, technical services and product development for more than 400 clients in the U.S. and internationally. Continuing in this vein, TKS was recently awarded a new contract to deliver advanced ultrasonic testing technology to the U.S. Army to support cannon, mortar and artillery weapon system production and maintenance.

TKS was commissioned to develop and deliver state-of-the-art ultrasonic testing technology to ensure the highest-quality product is given to the U.S. Army. Scheduled to be delivered in the summer of 2021, the fully automated robotic system will support the inspections of numerous weapons systems. 

Many of the weapons systems start off in one of the various Pennsylvania or New York forges, where they are formed into the required shape and rough dimensions for the target weapons system. After these initial forming processes, the product is shipped to one of the U.S. Army arsenals for the final machining and forming steps required for the weapons system. Ultrasonic testing is required at the forging and finish machined level at the arsenal. At the forging level, ultrasonic inspection is required to detect very small inclusions, or impurities, that form during the molten metal solidification process. Undetected inclusions may produce high stress concentrations, at which fatigue cracks initiate during combat, at serious risk to the affected soldiers. These weapon systems include 81 mm mortar tubes and 120 mm cannon tubes mounted on the Abrams tank. Interestingly, many of the legacy weapons from which this generation were derived may be observed outside the Boalsburg Military museum located in Happy Valley.

81 mm mortar tube

Earlier this year, TKS was commissioned to develop and deliver state-of-the-art ultrasonic testing technology to ensure the highest-quality product is given to the U.S. Army. Scheduled to be delivered in the summer of 2021, the fully automated robotic system will support the inspections of numerous weapons systems. The products will be fully immersed in a water tank and rotated at high speed during the inspection. While rotating, multi-channel ultrasonic instrumentation will direct ultrasonic waves in multiple directions, searching for material defects. Additionally, the latest phased array ultrasonic testing technology will be used to steer ultrasonic waves at different angles through the components to maximize the likelihood of detecting small hard-to-detect material flaws. While many people are familiar with medical ultrasonic diagnostic imaging, the same principles and technology are applied to metal and composite structures in the oil & gas, transportation, aerospace and power generation industries daily.

This signature project aligns with TKS's core expertise and innovation in the field of advanced ultrasonic testing technology, inspection automation, and customized software development for the private and military sectors.

120 mm cannon tube

To some degree, TKS is returning to its roots with this contract. As a mechanical engineering intern, and eventually mechanical engineer, TKS’ president Dr. Thomas R. Hay’s first job was designing and building ultrasonic immersion inspection systems for Department of Defense (DOD) clients. While the company has been active for many years providing custom ultrasonic testing products, automated ultrasonic testing services and consulting services, the team is very excited to re-enter the ultrasonic immersion testing instrumentation marketplace. This signature project aligns with TKS's core expertise and innovation in the field of advanced ultrasonic testing technology, inspection automation, and customized software development for the private and military sectors.

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