In response to the urgency of improving maintenance quality, while reducing the cost and time for a heavy aircraft inspection, the CompInnova project proposes an innovative approach to this problem through the development of a multitask inspection tool. The novel approach will combine, for the first timeinspection, DT assessment, repair features for all the damaged components of the aircraft, metallic and composite. The CompInnova methodology will result to maintenance duration, cost and risk reduction. It will be comprised by a) a Vortex robot capable of carrying two different inspection equipment, PA for metallic and IRT for composite components, b) online/semi-online DT numerical assessment of damaged components and c) an integrated, to the Vortex robot, repair system for the inspected damaged aircraft components. Moreover, PA and IRT equipment will be used for quality control of the repaired region.

The ultimate objective of the CompInnova project is to deliver a novel automated prompt for NDT approach capable for the first time to detect, evaluate and repair damages on either metallic or composite aircraft components. Some of the key problems faced by the consortium are the following:

  • Development and functionality of PA technique and hardware:
    • Develop a novel and adequate PA technique for complex surfaces employing a flexible rubber head or novel non-contact air-coupled set-up for the interface of the ultrasound head and the component’s surface.
    • Accomplish efforts for increasing the peak amplitude of the reflected signal, compared with the ultrasonic wave, for a given flaw by a factor of more than 1.7 without focusing.
  • Develop innovative image recognition methodology capable of fusing the PA and IRT imaging subsystems and providing a reliable and automatic:
    • Detection of different types of defects in metal and composites.
    • Depth assessment of the recognized defects.
  • Modelling assessment of defects in aircraft structure through the development of storage, defect detection and sizing, characterisation algorithms
  • Develop software for the advanced PA and IRT data selection and processing.
    • Develop a high precision spatial positioning system, capable of tracking the position of a PA ultrasonic and IRT sensors relative to the component under inspection, with an accuracy of a range of “1 mm”.
  • Develop special repair equipment, optimised for the repair of metals and composites
    • Automatic laser repair procedure capable of removing precisely ply-by-ply the material. This method allows to have a well-treated surface to apply a repair patch.
  • Vortex robot construction for inspection and repaid of aircraft structures following core abilities:
    • Remaining attached to the inspected surface, independently of its curve and orientation
    • Transferring the inspection and repair equipment to the area of interest

CompInnova project target

About Consortium

The CompInnova consortium consists of 5 partners, 4 Universities and 1 SME from 3 different countries. They constitute a broad representation of organizations involved in Materials and Chemistry Science including composites and aerospace alloys, Modelling, Robotics, Inspection Methods, Sensors, Signal processing, Software and Electronics. The proposed consortium brings together technological skills, industrial objectives, geographical representation, synergistic business interests and non-competitive positions, each with a specific role to play in the completion of the work and the exploitation of its results, without duplication of efforts or commercial conflicts.

Project partners

CompInnova project partners are:

  • Cranfield University
  • University of Patras
  • University of Ioannina
  • Lulea Tekniska Universitet
  • Optimal – Structural Solutions

Read more: Project partners