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inspECT Eddy Current Board

Description

The newly-developed inspECT Eddy Current board is designed for PC-based Eddy Current testing.  The inspECT, in combination with suitable software, is a complete multi-frequency Eddy Current instrument communicating with the control PC via Ethernet interface.  The modular design concept and state-of-the-art digital electronics of the inspECT board (eurocard format, 100mm x 160mm) permits single-frequency or multi-frequency, and single-channel or multi-channel operations (channel-multiplexing) with a multitude of sensor and frequency channels.  A single inspECT board can multiplex up to 16 frequencies or 16 sensors.  By simply cascading multiple boards, the inspECT system expands to a multi-frequency/multi-channel (16-, 32-, or 64-channel) system.  The Ethernet interface provides parameterization of the board and for data transfers to the PC.  This approach allows the transfer of Eddy Current test data to the data acquisition/analysis PC over large distances.

Technical Data

Digital

  • Dual DSP Core, SHARC for real-time data processing, BLACKFIN for communication

  • Firmware flashing (updating) via Ethernet

  • 8 Opto-decoupled real-time outputs and 8 Opto-decoupled real-time inputs

  • 4 High-speed diagnostic outputs w/ LED indicators

  • 4 Diagnostic/Mode DIP switches

  • 8 Multiplexer-trigger outputs to control the sensor multiplexer

Analog

  • Dual-NCO for test frequencies ranging from 100Hz to 10MHz

  • Sensor driver (Ri = 50Ω), 2.2Vss at 50Ω

  • Sensor input at 50Ω, alternative differential input at 1kΩ

  • 10-50dB HF gain with overload control

  • Demodulation and anti-aliasing filter

  • 2 x 16-Bit Analog to Digital Converters, 200kHz Sampling rate

Signal Processing

  • Maximum of 25,000 samples in single-frequency mode (digital decimation filter)

  • Maximum of 4,000 samples in dual-frequency multiplexing mode

External Interface

  • 100MBit full-duplex Ethernet interface for parameterization and data transfer

  • UART for terminal outputs

  • 3-axis position coordinate interface (optional differential drivers)

Multiplexing

The inspECT board is designed to permit 16-fold multiplexing, where 16 different parameter sets are applied in a timed multiplexing mode.  By using an optional external sensor multiplexer board, the 16 parameter sets can be applied to different sensors.  With 16 multiplexed channels, a sampling rate up to 700Hz can be achieved.

Multiple Boards

Following an efficient modular concept, the design of multi-channel systems is straightforward.

A single backplane houses up to four inspECT boards in synchronous mode; such backplanes can be cascaded to arrange systems with 16 inspECT boards and a maximum of 256 multiplexing channels.

Using special multi-core cables and active multiplexer front-ends, we can achieve distances of over 40 meters (120 feet) between inspECT device and sensors.

System Integration

The inspECT system can be adapted to most different testing applications.  By customizing the firmware to specific user requirements, complex testing tasks can be attained in real-time, e.g. sorting of parts in free fall with 5ms response time.

The inspECT board is prepared to work in a standalone mode where the optional PC or Laptop can be used for monitoring and/or setup.

Real-time inputs and outputs allow simple process integration.  Even when using non real-time software for data processing, a time synchronous assignment of external I/Os to the measurement values is guaranteed, because the I/Os are sampled and transported with each Eddy Current data set.  Thus it is easy to achieve gate and/or trigger functions.

The 3-axis encoder interface allows integration into an automatic testing environment using scanning systems (manipulators).  Actual sensor positions are saved for each sample.

Software Interface

The software drivers for the inspECT system are designed as a .NET control and can be easily integrated into custom software.

As the hardware interface is an Ethernet connection, porting the driver to other platforms is possible, in principle.


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Last modified: April 23, 2016