Quality Inspection and Production Monitoring of Ceramic Precision Components
The Ceremony Research Project
Using regenerative energy forms comprehensively at all times, both industrially and privately – this idea currently fails because, among other reasons, the right technologies for mass energy storage are not available on the market. High-temperature batteries based on sodium nickel chloride are among the solutions to which researchers worldwide ascribe the potential to provide a remedy in future. Tubes made of beta-alumina serve as electrolyte membranes in these special batteries. But their production is technologically far from maturity. For example, efficiency currently suffers because the quality inspection takes place laboriously by hand.
An automatable, non-destructive inspection based on infrared thermography could reduce the risks of subjective influences on the inspection results drastically and increase reliability during production. In the Ceremony project, InfraTec, together with four other German partners and with financial support from the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union, is searching for suitable ways to inspect such ceramic precision components efficiently and in a way suitable for serial production.
Operation temperatures inside the cell of a sodium-nickel-chloride battery are typically around 300 °C. While their housing consists of several walls and is vacuum-insulated – still, even the smallest errors in the beta-aluminate cups can cause great damage. With active thermography, even very thin cracks and delamination can be detected in many cases. Use of the high-end infrared camera series ImageIR® from InfraTec fulfils important requirements for development of an inspection system with ultrasound excitation. If its suitability for this application is proven, its area of application should be expanded in future to include inspection of additional ceramic parts in machine building, medical technology, electronics and analysis technology, for example.