Prisma (Portable Ultrasonic Flaw Detector) by LA Design
2012 - 2013, Platinum A' Scientific Instruments, Medical Devices and Research Equipment Design Award Winner
A new flexible ultrasonic flaw detector was needed to satisfy a growing market need for enabling technicians to carry out routine detection and analysis as well as more complex inspection procedures with the same product. By embedding three ultrasonic technologies (UT, PA, TOFD) in a compact unit we developed a new multi-functional system. Inspections are often carried out in hazardous, demanding environments, so it was essential that we reduced inspection times by simplifying all aspects of the user interface for both safety and efficiency. The product would need to be easily positioned in a variety of awkward locations. Unlike competitor products, the design of the internal shock absorption allowed greater control over the external surfaces of the product. Hardware components were carefully organised to simplify the architecture and contributed to product styling that was equally sophisticated and rugged.
Prisma is designed for non-invasive material testing in the most extreme environments. It is the first detector to incorporate advanced real-time imaging and 3D scanning, making flaw interpretation much easier, reducing technician time on site. With a virtually indestructible enclosure and unique multiple inspection modes, Prisma can cover all testing applications, from oil pipelines to aerospace components. It is the first detector with integral data recording, and automatic PDF report generation. Wireless and Ethernet connectivity allow the unit to be easily upgraded or diagnosed.
Design Challenges
Prisma's multi-functionality, both in the technologies it uses and the resulting variety of testing applications and environments, presented significant technical production and product usability challenges. Prisma required a substantial electronic assembly with connectors to suit the different technologies embedded. The enclosure needed to be compact and lightweight, requiring significant cooling but a high level of shock-resistance and waterproofing (IP66). The product had to be positioned into any location and allow the technician a free hand to scan effectively.
Production Technology
Both waterproof (IP66) and shockproof, Prisma is designed and built to exacting standards using a rigid, shock mounted internal chassis surrounded by an impact absorbing enclosure. As well as shock resistance, the external yellow band increases visibility and defines the physical architecture of the product, containing the major connectors, D-rings and retractable handle. Material application in Prisma is carefully optimised, resulting in the lightest product of its kind on the market. All plastic components are marked to ISO standards for recycling.
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