Non-destructive testing of components is an important auxiliary process step, not only in quality control but also in regular maintenance. The detection of cracks is currently done by using magnetic particle inspection, which is a decades-old, inefficient and ecologically undesirable process. There is an urgent need in industry to replace this technology with more up-to-date methods that provide fully automatic testing.

ThermoBot aims at the development of a thermographic inspection system that is able to scan complex parts and to detect cracks and inclusions. It consists of a robot that is positioning the part in front of a thermo-camera and a heating system. The motion of the part will be continuous in order to achieve reasonable cycle-times for in-line inspection.

The main developments of ThermoBot focus on

  • automatic path and motion planning module that uses the thermographic process model to automatically generate a path for the inspection robot from 3D CAD data.
  • a thermo-image analysis methods for robust detection of cracks.
  • Optimized inspection process to allow short cycle times.

Applications include inspection of metallic forged parts in the automotive and aircraft industry as well as inspection during regular maintenance, mainly in the aircraft industry, where magnetic particle inspection is often a requirement.


Project name: ThermoBot 2 -Prüfroboter zur Risserkennung in Schmiedeteilen mit aktiver Thermographie

FFG – 15. Ausschreibung Produktion der Zukunft 2015


Project name: ThermoBot – Autonomous Robotic System for Thermo-graphic Detection of Cracks

funded by the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the EU