Flexible Pipe Inspection with Terahertz Technology

Crucial key figures for the quality of plastic pipes and hoses are determined and documented by an inline inspection system, if possible in real time and early in the process:

  • Diameter
  • Wall thickness
  • Layer structure
  • Ovality
  • Sagging (Sagging of the melt during solidification when the viscosity is too high)

We have handed over a newly developed pipe testing system to a world market leader and thus realized a milestone in the layer thickness measurement of pipes. Our inline measuring system enables the company to directly check the pipe wall thickness shortly after the extrusion of the plastic used and thus also to directly readjust it in order to optimize the quality and efficiency of the production.

Pipe Inspection System
© Fraunhofer ITWM
Pipe inspection system for testing wall thickness during production.

Simultaneous Measurement on Four Channels

The project launched with ambitious requirements for the early phase. The previous system, designed for a single sensor, had to be expanded for the simultaneous measurement of four channels allowing for four positions around the pipe to be checked at the same time. This requirement posed challenges for the integrated fiber optics as well as the collection and evaluation of measurement data. The mechanical design had to feature the required flexibility to freely select these four positions and handle numerous different pipe diameters. The symmetrical arrangement of the system and the integrated monitor arm allow it to be installed and operated from either side of the production line.


Expansion to Other Market Segments

The intuitive user interface – designed according to customer requirements – allows for convenient operation via a touch screen. A customer-specific interface to the manufacturer’s plant control system guarantees optimal integration of the measuring system. We provide our system with application-specific adjustment capability; we offer our system not only to pipe manufacturing companies, but also to hose producers. Because these two markets are so diverse, we see good opportunities ahead for additional customer-specific implementations.

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