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Learning defects from aircraft NDT data

Navya Prakash; Dorothea Nieberl; Monika Mayer; Alfons Schuster
In: NDT & E International, Vol. 138, No. 102885, Pages 1-13, Elsevier, Online, 9/2023.


Non-destructive evaluation of aircraft production is optimised and digitalised with Industry 4.0. The aircraft structures produced using fibre metal laminate are traditionally inspected using water-coupled ultrasound scans and manually evaluated. This article proposes Machine Learning models to examine the defects in ultrasonic scans of A380 aircraft components. The proposed approach includes embedded image feature extraction methods and classifiers to learn defects in the scan images. The proposed algorithm is evaluated by benchmarking embedded classifiers and further promoted to research with an industry-based certification process. The HoG-Linear SVM classifier has outperformed SURF-Decision Fine Tree in detecting potential defects. The certification process uses the Probability of Detection function, substantiating that the HoG-Linear SVM classifier detects minor defects. The experimental trials prove that the proposed method will be helpful to examiners in the quality control and assurance of aircraft production, thus leading to significant contributions to non-destructive evaluation 4.0.

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