iWeld: intelligent weld inspection
What is iWeld?
iWeld is a collaborative research project blending industrial and academic partners and funded by the EURATOM research and training programme (UK partners are sponsored by InnovateUK). The ambition of iWeld is to transform the practice of ultrasonic inspection of thick welds building upon recent advances in the nuclear energy context and the versatility of artificial intelligence.
Conventional ultrasonic inspection of welds relies upon the assumption that the weld is isotropic and homogeneous. Multiple industrial applications violate this assumption severely, which may lead to erroneous inspection interpretations and misguided actions. Including material information is, therefore, essential in many cases, but what if no such data is available? iWeld was developed to address this challenge at a high TRL level by expanding previously proposed characterisation and imaging technologies and integrating them into a complete inspection workflow. We use ultrasound to determine material properties and grain orientation layout in welds, and to generate enhanced images capable of exposing defects not visible to conventional methods.
Working across industry sector boundaries underpins the ambition of iWeld. Our developed inspection technologies will be versatile and serve a broader market, not limited to nuclear power plants. We are convinced that the step beyond the current weld inspection practice is highly relevant across diverse application fields. iWeld works with key institutions and industry representatives to facilitate cooperation between nuclear, conventional energy, petrochemical, and offshore industries.
iWeld is focused on bringing its technologies closer to its recipients by increasing their maturity (pushing their TRLs up to level 7) and deploying to fields other than nuclear. This transition will be facilitated by a new, versatile AI-based weld description developed jointly by NDT experts and cutting-edge solidification simulation developers. The AI weld description, together with inversion and imaging tools, will facilitate implementing iWeld workflow to a comprehensive class of welds transgressing sector boundaries.
This project website is under construction – more information will be available soon.