Flyability, the market leader in confined space drones, announced a new ultrasonic thickness measurement (UTM) payload for its flagship drone the Elios 3. This payload was developed in partnership with Cygnus Instruments, a global leader in ultrasonic testing (UT) technology, to create a product that supports certified UT inspectors.

The new live A-scan UT payload is designed for spot thickness measurements of steel in ship hulls, inside tanks, and between pipe ranks amongst many other applications. With UT critical to many inspection processes, this new payload presents a safer means of accessing thickness measurement locations (TMLs). The Elios 3 can enter confined spaces or easily reach TML points at height, completing wall thickness gauging or corrosion surveys quickly and safely. The ultrasonic probe is mounted on a smart arm featuring a laser pointer that provides visual guidance to precisely aim at measurement points. The arm has mounting and shaping options that can adapt to the complexity of industrial settings. A remotely operated couplant dispenser ensures optimal ultrasound transmission to the material under test. Each measurement can be location-tagged on a digital twin of the asset for ease of analysis. The Elios 3 can also carry a cleaning module to prepare test surfaces for measurement.

“Since our first projects with our oil and gas, maritime, and chemical industry customers, the ability to perform UTM in addition to visual inspections has been one of the most requested features. The complexity of this challenge involved 4 years of product development and research that was contingent on the Elios 3's unique design. Now we can offer a reliable, safe, and effective UTM alternative for places unreachable with scaffolding, crawlers, or cherry pickers!” - Patrick Thévoz, CEO and co-founder of Flyability.

Quality and standard compliance have been central to this payload’s development. Robotics specialists Flyability describe the partnership with Cygnus as instrumental to the integration and application of ultrasonic measuring technology with the Elios 3, resulting in a unique product tailored for challenging inspection environments. Software integration with the Elios 3’s piloting app Cockpit allows for real-time visualizationof the live A-scan and manual adjustment of the gain and gates. A choice of twin crystal piezo-electric composite transducers supporting through-coating echo-echo measurement mode is also available. Benefitting from Cygnus’s 40-year experience in UT markets, the payload empowers operations under ISO 16809 compliance and meets the highest standards of accuracy, quality, and reliability in thickness gauging.

“Cygnus’ presence in the Shipping and oil and gas markets has enabled us to listen to user needs over a long period. The call for aerial drone-based inspection started 20 years ago but with no credible solutions. Over the last 10 years, Cygnus has observed this turn into a technology race to mount UT onto UAVs. Now we are privileged to collaborate on the ultrasonic thickness measurement payload for the Elios 3, where Flyability combines a wealth of engineering talent, extensive field testing, and rigorous product validation. The partnership’s contribution to safer NDT inspection, across many industries, comes at an important time.” - Lulu Crosthwaite-Eyre, Managing Director of Cygnus Instruments. 

The UTM payload was announced during the Flyability User Conference in Lausanne, Switzerland. It is available for demonstration and purchase with the first deliveries expected in Q3 of 2024. This payload is the third unit for the modular Elios 3 and broadens the variety of industries served by Elios drones for mapping, surveying, and non-destructive testing needs. Learn more on the Flyability website. 

About Flyability: Flyability is a Swiss drone manufacturer with one goal in mind: no more humans doing dangerous jobs. Flyability drones are built to operate indoors, in complex and confined spaces. Flyability’s latest drone, the Elios 3, was launched in 2023 with 2 payloads: a radiation detection payload and a surveying LiDAR payload. Flyability is headquartered in Paudex, Switzerland alongside offices in China, Singapore, and the USA. Contact: [email protected]

About Cygnus Instruments: Cygnus was founded in 1983 with an original product line for the NDT of ships’ hulls. With headquarters in the UK and offices in Singapore and the UAE, Cygnus specializes in making robust and simple-to-use ultrasonic testing (UT) equipment for all industries around the world. As well as a full range of ultrasonic thickness gauges, Cygnus manufactures ultrasonic hatch cover leak detectors and ultrasonic Flooded Member Detection (FMD) systems – providing reliable ultrasonic measurement above and below water. Contact: [email protected]

Source: Flyability