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An ultrasonic non-destructive testing system for detection and quantification of early stage subsurface creep damage in the thermal power generation industry

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CreepUT (An ultrasonic non-destructive testing system for detection and quantification of early stage subsurface creep damage in the thermal power generation industry)

Reporting period: 2018-04-01 to 2019-03-31

The consortium partners collaborated to advance the prototype stage of the technology outcome from the EC-funded project “CreepTest” and to develop a novel ultrasonic testing system with enhanced detection and semi-quantitative analysis/categorization capability for subsurface creep damage at early stage in steel components operating at elevated conditions in thermal power generation industries. This project (CreepUT) leverages the broad and deep experience of project partners in their respective domain of technology innovation, software & product development, validation, in-field implementation, product commercialization and global reach to the target industry segment. The motivation for this project lies in the success of CreepTest project, customer focussed development and within the strength of consortium partners to address an unmet need for assessment of subsurface creep deterioration at early stage to support safe, uninterrupted and economic operation of existing and future power plants aligned with stringent environment protection regulations.
CreepUT is an ultrasonic scanner designed for early detection of creep damage in power plant piping. It is designed specifically for scanning of critical welds susceptible to creep damage. Conventionally, these welds have been tested with metallographic replication, with detection limited to surface damage. The system provides complementary volumetric coverage, enabling early stage, subsurface creep damage to be detected for the first time. This is achieved using a high frequency ultrasonic transducer powered by bespoke electronics. The system is controlled by dedicated software and driven by stepper motors which provide high-precision, automatic scanning. The CreepUT scanner is designed to be used by NDT personnel who have previous experience with ultrasonic testing and an understanding of ultrasonic signal interpretation.
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The CreepUT mechanical scanning manipulator was designed to can carry the ultrasonic testing inspection head, that consists of an ultrasound probe and wedge assembly. The scanner was designed to be ergonomic, taking extra care to adapt it to actual power plants working conditions and various component geometries to be tested, allowing operators to easily manipulate it during any kind of planned inspections.
Regarding the TRL rating, the CreepUT scanner in the current form is TRL7. The scanner was used for demonstration in multiple occasions and it was operational in two occasions in the harsh working environment of Kardia and Agios DImitrios power plants in Greece.
The electronics and battery are encased in aluminum enclosures. The enclosures have thick walls and sealed covers with O-rings. Almost all connectors, switches and LED’s that are used have IP67 rating.
Two parts of the software package have been developed. The first one is designed for debugging, adjustment and verification of the electronic unit. This part enables to set any of the parameters for the signal excitation, complete control of gain and data acquisition. The second one is the general software of working inspection tools which control both the electronic unit and the scanner, and there is also a part for the signal processing.
The CreepUT system was deployed on its industrial trial at S.E.S. Agios Dimitrios in Greece. The system successfully scanned 10 welds, 26 scans were made in total. This trial of the system was successful and the system was able to detect creep damage on several welds.
The CreepUT system is able to fulfill the tasks for which it has been designed: to find creep damage on site in the pipelines of a power plant.
Through this CreepUT product commercialisation project we target to grow our business by €14.59 million in gross sales by 2024 operating at a cumulative profit of €6.5million allowing for the European power generation industry to save more than €32 million per year. We have discussed this business plan and business opportunity with our product validator in Greece, Public Power Corporation S.A. (PPC). PPC will also be out first route to market company that will utilize and purchase CreepUT system upon the completion of this development. This opportunity will be achieved by bringing into the market a novel system which on testing will provide reliable input for subsequent analysis to assess the integrity of the plant against service induced degradation of component material exposed to elevated operating condition for prolonged duration. The CreepUT product addresses one of the urgent needs of the power generation market.
Logo of the CreepUT project