Objective

The Objective of the SpotTrack project is to create an easy to use, affordable, NDT tool using Ultrasound to detect any flaws for checking for weld failure and certifying a repairer's output.

There may be over three thousand spot welds in a typical car body.

When a car is repaired the spot welding parameters can be different as the production machinery used in manufacture cannot be used in repair operations.

The repairer is not an expert at inspecting spot welds. Assured reliability of the spot weld is paramount, since the integrity of the spot welds is vital to the crash performance of a car and the safety of its occupants. Therefore, there is a need for a rapid non-destructive inspection device that can be operated without specialised weld testing skills.

The only inspection option available to body repair shops today is to create a spot weld on an off-cut and carry out a 'peel test' on it, which is destructive. However, the assumption that the test spot weld is identical to the one on the car can be unsatisfactory. In some cases the spot weld may not be tested at all.

The Spot Track project is creating the first automatic non-destructive spot weld tracking device to be applied in automotive body repair industry.

The new Spot Track device will allow the user to quickly and reliably assess whether a spot weld is acceptable by giving a simple pass or fail indication. The proposed Spot Track system will have the advantage of testing the actual weld made within a matter of seconds and without the need for interpretation.

Most importantly it will ensure that the actual spot welds going into service are safe and Repairers can provide Quality Control Records of their work.

We are in Testing Times

A destructive test routine is regarded as an audit of the total control system in assembly plants. It manages the standards that the manufacturing designers set.

Even then, the manufacturers would rather not destroy their work in order to identify weld defects. NDT (Non Destructive Testing) techniques using ultrasound are applied to the process.

Repairers do not even have the option of destructive testing.