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Non-destructive Inner-surface Roughness Inspector for Small-diameter Pipes

Introduction

We have devoted our core operations; including laser processing, small diameter pipe processing, and nozzle processing, to meet various needs from our clients in such as the medical industry and the analysis industry. We are also working on development and design according to the requirements from large manufacturers, Universities, and Research Institutes, based on the Manufacturing Technologies that we have built on since 1917, the year of our starting. Furthermore, we are developing our original instruments to improve our productivity and technical competitiveness.
Now, we are pleased to introduce our new developed “Non-destructive Inner-surface Roughness Inspector for Small-diameter Pipe”, which is one of our achievements of our Industry-academia collaboration project.

Problems with traditional inner-surface roughness measuring

For small-diameter pipes with a inner diameter smaller than 1.5 mm used in the medical industry and the analysis industry, the roughness of their inner surfaces is one of the critical factors affecting the analysis result accuracy. In our company, inner surfaces of a pipe can be finished to the roughness required by a client with our advanced inner-polishing technology, which can control the roughness of up to a inner diameter of 0.5 mm.

In traditional measurements of an inner-surface of a pipe, however, the pipe has to be splitted in half so that the measuring surface is exposed to be measured by a surface roughness inspector, which is forced to be a destructive inspection. As a result, the required roughness is guaranteed only by sampling-inspection, which means that the inner surfaces of the received products for the client are not virtually measured. For this reason, the development of a non-destructive inspector for inner surface roughness has been desired for providing 100% quality assurance.

Industry-academia collaboration project

The project, “Development of a mass-producing method for high-quality and high-functioning (antifouling property, high precision, quantitativity) nozzles and needles”, has been proceeded with competencies of both Kansai University and FUTA-Q. “Establishment of a non-destructive measuring method for inner-surface roughness” is one of the subtopics of this project.

The world-first “non-destructive inner-surface roughness inspector”

The basic principle of this method is to insert a thinner fiberscope into a small pipe (inner diameter of 0.5 to 1.5 mm), and calculate the surface roughness from the intensity of the inner image based on the correlation between a surface roughness and an intensity measured in advance.

This idea was inspired by an instant realization during our observations of inner surfaces of pipes using another type of inspector developed by ourselves. The realization was “Rougher an inner surface of a pipe, brighter the intensity is ,with the same illuminance by the same light source”. On the basis of this report, we have succeeded the degitization of an image intensity with AI technology provided by Aoyagi seminar room of Engineering Science Faculty at Kansai University.

To provide better operatability, the inspector is controlled with the computer program to automatically repeat pipe feedings and image capturings of the inner surface after a pipe is set on the automatic-controlled stage.
At the early stage of the development, image intensity data had to be transfered to a computer to be calculated by an image processing software for obtaining the roughness value. Afterward, we have improved the system to visualize the calculated roughnesses in real time by computing simultaneously with the stage controll by the built-in CPU.

Motor-driven stage

Motor-driven stage

Display unit for calculated surface roughness

Display unit for calculated surface roughness

We are currently applying for a patent on this new product, because “non-destructive inner-surface roughness inspectors for small-diameter pipes” based on this principle have never been seen before.

【Acknowledgements】】

We appreciate the cooperation of Kansai University to help us not only developping but also learning state of the art technology. We also thanks for their expressions for the future cooperation. It should be our crucial assets to have been able to built such a good relationship with them. We will continuously incorporate new technologies from universities and research institutes to meet clients’ and societies’ needs with proactive effors.