Category Archive: Autoclave

Coin Tapping Goes Objective With Wichitech’s Digital Tap Hammer

Wear and tear or distress of construction material needs to be carefully catalogued so that parts can be replaced in time and the integrity of structures maintained. From buildings to airplanes, from concrete to composite alloys, tapping has for long been one of the most popular methods of detecting potential breach of strength.

It is simple to execute, it is affordable and it provides supervisors and engineers with a fair bit of information about hidden weaknesses in the materials being tapped. However the process is subjective to say the least. Operators must gauge the type and the extent of the delimitation simply by the tonal quality of the sound that emanates from the sample when it is repeatedly hit with a hammer. Even though this leaves no visible signs of depredation the frequency of the vibration produced is quite telling.

Ambient conditions, the presence of interference and outside noise can cloud the judgment of the supervisor. This is the reason why sometimes expensive recourses like echo ultrasonics, shearography and thermography have to be used, especially when it comes to judging vulnerabilities in composite materials.

Wichitech Industries Inc. has pioneered a breakthrough in this field that can eliminate the need of relying on the skill-set of the ‘tapper’ for an accurate readout. This is the introduction of objectivity into hammer or coin tapping with the Rapid Damage Detection Device (RD3).


The RD3 is not only light weight and robust, it is also portable. Constructed from the best-in-class components it has a hammer with an accelerometer connected to a liquid crystal display equipped module via a flexible cable.

It proves to be especially useful where detecting delamination is concerned. It supplements the discernment of the tapper with a quantitative numeric read out. Each value corresponds to a pre-defined damage scale and with this kind of standardization, it is easy to entrust the task of probing chinks and signs of stress to operators who aren’t as experienced as their traditional tapping peers.

For any enterprise interested in the maintenance of its composite material structures, this non-destructive probing and examination technique with its new found accuracy is bound to be a boon.

Wichitech Industries Inc. is proud to be the brain behind this offering and looks to changing the face of the NDI industry for the better.

An Overview of the Out of Autoclave Process

Out-of-autoclave (OOA) manufacturing has come a long way to process the next-generation structures, particularly in the aerospace industry. The reason for manufacturers to adopt the OOA is due to the two important factors – money and size of the part. Traditional autoclave curing systems are expensive to buy and operate and are available only in limited sizes.

Manufacturers in aerospace and other industries are increasingly turning to OOA to cure parts. Out-of-autoclave is less capital-intensive and less costly, especially as parts increase in size and number. Several of the latest advancements push the technology even further, offering curing solutions that are out-of-autoclave and out-of-the-oven. Among the solutions under development are integral liquid heating/cooling and induction heating. These technologies offer the same benefits of OOA and then some – fewer steps, less material and shorter cycle times.

OOA is most heavily utilized by aerospace industry manufacturers as well as a variety of sectors are adopting OOA methods, from renewable energy to automotive and consumer electronics. This is mainly done to improve the quality of the products, increase throughput, cut down on production time, decrease capital, operating and labor costs. Curing time appears to be industries biggest bottle neck and this has forced companies to send employees to trade shows in search of new OOA processes. With the advancement in the OOA technology, some companies are using induction heating to create aerospace parts and internal car parts.

OOA is evolving to address the application problems ranging from part size, manufacturing costs, part quality and curing time. It also is adapting across sectors, including aerospace, automotive, renewable energy, consumer electronics and even farm equipment.