Advantages and Inconvenients using Phased Array technology

While the use of ultrasonics had increase in past decades within NDT Industry in many different kinds of applications and industries, the development of new technologies has been following the trend, both for services and industrial systems. Whereas most of Ultrasonics users are familiar with conventional UT commonly used with monolithic probes, the arrival of Phased Array brought new possibilities to Ultrasonics inspection.

The main advantages of ultrasonic Phased Array (PAUT) over conventional methods and other NDT technics are the flexibility it offers. As it uses a probe with many elements, Phased array can steer a beam for better coverage and without having to move the probe, hence avoiding cumbersome mechanical steering using servo motors like conventional UT. This brought the ability to control the direction and shape of the generated beam angle to ensure that it is perpendicular to the face of an expected discontinuity. As it can deviate a beam simply by computer control, it also provides electronic focusing to optimize sensitivity and coverage. Both beam steering and beam focusing used with Phased Array will brought advantages in industrial applications. 

Phased Array brings faster inspection:

By using a single probe, Phased Array can process a linear or a sectorial scanning of the entire probe to cover a larger area than with conventional UT in a very short time. As it is computer controlled, it avoids physical change of mono-element probe, avoiding thus spending time in reconfiguration for each unique testing. Furthermore, the versatility of phased-array probes means that one probe can perform multiple inspections, leading to further time savings because there is less need to change probes and reconfigure the test setup.
As it performs very fast multiple electronic scans, the process of digital feedback is received instantly to get a good “imaging results” of the concern flaws.



Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing Socomate

High speed Imaging:

Due to a high rate of electronic scans or focusing, leading to a wider area of inspection than with conventional UT, digital feedback of B-Scan and C-Scan are generated with a high throughput, in real time.

Reliable test results:

Reducing or removing mechanical scanning increase the reliability of measurements providing better repeatability, often for complex geometries parts. Thus, leading to a lower risk of a loss of coupling whenever a probe is in movement.

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Phased Array provides a better Probability of Detection (PoD):

Better sensitivity, coverage, can be done using Phased Array technology because a probe is used to control the direction and shape of the generated ultrasonic beam. Through optimisation of the beam angle to ensure that it is perpendicular to the face of an expected discontinuity, it provides better results and also allow the inspection of complex geometries.

Focusing beam can be adapted with shape, width and depth for a better view of internal defects when performing volumetric inspection. As Phased Array can process data at very high speed, it provides a higher ability to detect flaws at higher speed.

Both electronic scanning and focusing can significantly improve signal-to-noise ratio in challenging applications, thank to Phased Array flexibility and technology.

Disadvantages of Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing (PAUT)

In spite of its many advantages compare to conventional Ultrasound, Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing also has some downsides.

Complexity of Operation:

PAUT has a new approach compare to conventional ultrasonic and is widely versatile in its use and capability, requiring trained people to avoid inaccurate testing. Since it offers many inspection possibilities and features, first steps should be along with experts in data optimization features.


Higher cost:

Due to higher capabilities than conventional UT, investment in PAUT is higher in regards to price comparison. Nevertheless, its advantages of flexibility, fast ultrasonic inspection, reduction of time for inspection and manipulation will offset the initial cost.


Area of Application:

Despite its strong advantages and wide abilities, Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing is not a global solution for all applications and can reveal some weaknesses in thin materials, in thickness measurement, where conventional UT or other NDT methods can better perform.


Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing can bring strong advantages when it is well optimized and with appropriate software. It is a nondestructive testing method which accurately provides a good vision of flaws in industries like Aerospace, Oil & Gas, Railway, Military, where a small missed flaw can become a major issue.

Socomate International provides a wide range of Phased Array equipment for Automated Inspection System in many industries. To find the right NDT Equipment for your PA project and suits the best, contact us today!



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