The Acoustocam i600 was launched in February and is a lighter, smaller version of Imperium's Acoustocam ultrasound imaging camera for use in remote field inspections and testing.

"Imperium’s smaller, rugged, and portable ultrasonic imaging tool is an innovative technology that we believe may provide a solution to rapid inspection of composite components for damage and manufacturing flaws,” says Jeffrey Nissen, Program Manager and Principle Investigator for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) R&D project at Bell Helicopter.

Nissen has selected the Imperium Acoustocam ultrasound camera for the FAA programme specifically to address composite inspection concerns. Bell will research Imperium’s technology alongside several other promising technologies in the search for a rapid inspection device which enables minimally trained operators to make faster, more accurate maintenance decisions, and with greater confidence.

The developed technology will have application to Bell composite rotorcraft such as the newly certified Bell 429, 407, 412 and Bell/Agusta 609, as well as fixed wing composite aircraft.

”This programme is extremely important as the aerospace industry migrates more and more toward the use of composite structures," says Bob Lasser, President and CEO of Imperium, Beltsville, Maryland, USA. "Our powerful imaging technology quickly identifies and detects problems instantly, thereby assisting maintenance crew of any level to report their findings with accuracy."

The FAA funded research project – Non-destructive Inspection Research of Composite Materials Used on the Commercial Fleet –  was initiated as a result of the increased use of composite structures in both commercial and general aviation aircraft. As their use continues to expand from secondary to primary structures, improved non-destructive inspection (NDI) methods will be required to better detect and characterise anomalies in these materials caused by impacts and manufacturing flaws.