Process Compensated Resonance Testing (PCRT)
Process Compensated Resonance Testing (PCRT) is a relatively new technology that provides cost-effective and fast reporting on the structural integrity of components. In the aviation industry, PCRT offers increased sensitivity to defects, reduced engine down time and waste compared to the aviation standard, and sample-based destructive inspection of suspect turbine blades.
Albuquerque companies Vibrant, Mechtronic Solutions, Inc., Fiore Industries, and ZTEC Instruments collectively requested assistance through the NMSBA program. This resulted in a leveraged project with Sandia’s Airworthiness Assurance Non-Destructive Inspection Validation Center comparing known good and bad engine turbine blades using the aviation standard and PCRT. Sandia’s Kirk Rackow, Mike Bode, and Justin Newcomer, and David Piotrowski from Delta Airlines helped by comparing the two methods in a report included in an application to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for an “Alternative Means of Compliance” for all airlines.
Since working with Sandia, Vibrant has earned FAA approval for inspection of turbine blades for exposure to excessive operating temperatures using PCRT, creating new business opportunities for Vibrant, commercial benefits for the partner companies, and cost savings to the aviation industry. The nation’s largest commercial aircraft maintainer, Delta Airlines’ TechOps, has received FAA approval to implement PCRT. In addition, the FAA recently recognized TechOps and Vibrant as winners of the 2010 FAA-ATA Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) “Better Way” award for developing and applying technology resulting in a more sensitive, reliable, and cost-effective model for inspecting and testing aviation components and systems.