West Penn Testing Group, a provider of material testing services, has developed a DGS waveform-capture ultrasonic test to meet international standards for higher reliability in energy-disk tests. "Today, design engineers want more from a test than simple acceptance or rejection," says Jim DeChellis, the company's COO. "Engineers want a comprehensive record of the test to be captured for future reference."

According to Mark Pompe, director of technology and Level III of West Penn's ultrasonic unit, that comprehensive record can now be captured. "In the past, capturing the up to 30 gigabytes of information was technically onerous and prohibitively expense. But with the new, affordable storage devices now available, the immense amount of data generated by an automated waveform-capture test can more easily be captured, stored, transported and retrieved for a variety of uses."

The benefit of capturing waveform data is two-fold. Design engineers can review the test data to better understand the metallurgical properties that prevail after the forging and heat-treating phases of production. Also, if there is ever a failure, engineers can rerun the full test and pinpoint the discontinuities that may have contributed to a problem. This capability points the way to refinements in material and process specifications that can facilitate product improvements.

"The permanent record of the original waveform ultrasonic test gives customers confidence that they can raise the level of reliability they accord these types of tests," said Pompe.