Augmented and Facilitated Nondestructive Inspection (NDI) for Large Area Assessments
Award last edited on: 2/10/2021

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code
Principal Investigator
Adam Berezansky

Company Information

Custom Manufacturing & Engineering Inc (AKA: CME)

3690 70th Avenue North
Pinellas Park, FL 33781
   (727) 547-9799
Location: Single
Congr. District: 13
County: Pinellas

Phase I

Contract Number: FA8650-19-P-5172
Start Date: 7/26/2019    Completed: 7/26/2020
Phase I year
Phase I Amount
Pervasive hidden corrosion on upper wing surfaces of larger US Air Force aircraft drives the need for better and faster non-destructive inspection (NDI) of large areas while the wing skin is in place. A recent DoD Cost of Corrosion report states that the estimated total annual cost of corrosion for Air Force airframe Maintenance Cost of Corrosion is $5.3B. The Top 10 aircraft total $3.2B in Corrosion Cost. The KC-135R, C-17A, C-130 have the highest total corrosion cost among USAF aviation assets. The KC-10A has the highest corrosion cost percentage of maintenance cost by a wide margin over other aircraft. Legacy conventional NDI methods by USAF and MROs are labor intensive/semi-automated and require excessive time to complete small areas. Leveraging the latest in proven NDI technologies, intuitive workflow apps, and a small, user friendly deployable, 3D machine vision guided industrial cobot, and mobile delivery approach, we will integrate a unique, modern, fully automated NDI solution to provide a robust, scanning solution that is scalable for multiple aircraft for initial/recurring inspections and PDM. System is highly supportive of LSE 2040 Attribute 4, Efficient Depot. Modeling our technical approach with conservative parameters, we collect high fidelity data and accelerate inspection time >20X.

Phase II

Contract Number: FA8650-22-C-5011
Start Date: 5/16/2022    Completed: 8/15/2024
Phase II year
Phase II Amount
Sustaining the AF aircraft fleet over time drives the need for significant improvements of recurring NDI processes/methods, accuracy, and productivity as compared to conventional methods now used. This Phase II project will integrate uniquely automated NDI technologies, methods/processes suitable for large areas NDI that can augment and facilitate NDI of upper wing skins to minimize inspector workload, especially after initial set-up. This better automated NDI approach will result in an accelerated inspection process to detect corrosion and other defects in wing skins attached to aircraft. Skins are commonly aerospace Aluminum alloys (e.g., 0.125-in to 0.625-in thick. The KC-135 has 0.25-in thick wing skin in many places with as many as 5 thicknesses on the wing. Adaptable to multiple NDI instruments, our robot-enabled multi-modal NDI deployment system locates/positions and moves probes to the work envelopes and scans/detects wing skin wall loss and defects. The system generates reporting in real time. The operator/inspection supervisor is also provided location-correlated 3D visualization of results. The corrosion types of predominant interest are exfoliation and general thinning, although corrosion types, such as intergranular, are also present. The highly productive, uniquely automated system with multiple probes will non-destructively inspect large areas while the wing skin is in place, and also effectively scan areas of greatest interest to include fastener rows and faying surfaces of the wing skins when there is a second layer underneath the skin, such as a stringer flange.