Visualization of the rail ultrasonic testing results

Die visuelle Darstellung von Ergebnissen aus Ultraschallprüfungen von Schienen garantiert eine richtige Beurteilung des Zustandes

  • Foreword

One of the rail track ultrasonic testing (UT) features compared to the UT of another objects of the railroad transport is its multi-channeling at a variety of sounding schemes, and a large extension of the TO. As a result of this particular feature, it is more challenging for the operator to seize such volume of information in real time – the testing by the single-rail trolley UDS2-77 and double-rail trolleys UDS2-73, as a rule, is performed at a speed of 3-4 km/h – the operator's walking speed.

  • Classic variants of visualization and problem of thier application

The UT classic variant of a signal representation is the А-Scan (fig. 1, а), even if it has been adapted to the multi-channel testing – MultiA-Scan (fig. 1 b) - is suitable only for testing of small portions of the rail track. These presentations prevent an operator from viewing how indications are dispensed along the rail, as well as require the operator to be high-skilled, since they are far from being visual.

Signal display in one-channel А-Scan mode

а) one-channel А-Scan

Signal display in multi А-Scan mode

b) multi A-Scan

Figure 1—Signal display in А-Scan mode


Nevertheless, they are the best solution to setup and calibrate the flaw detector. We added a function of a signal holding on the screen to the MultiA-Scan that facilitate perception of the indications a lot, even at a speed of up to 4 km/h.

  • Traditional solution: one-channel and line B-Scans 

A problem of results review of the rails testing can be solved also due to B-Scan (fig. 2 a) application and frequently - in combination with the A-Scans (fig. 2 b). This type of signal display allows both to observe the "history" of testing provided for the past several meters on the B-Scan and to experience the dynamics of revealed indications using the A-Scan. However, the multi-channel testing is not taken into account in this case, as this kind of representation can be displayed only for one probe - the selected one.

Signal display in one-channel B-Scan mode

а) B-Scan by one channel

Signal display in А-Scan+B-Scan mode

b) А-Scan+B-Scan by one channel

Figure 2 - Signal display in B-Scan mode


As a result, most companies-manufacturers implement in their products so-called "line" B-Scan instead of the ordinary one (fig. 3). Herer the B-Scans are grouped in lines by channels that correspond to some portion of the rail track under the test. For an experienced operator this type – including its combination with the А-Scan according to a specific channel or the Multi А-Scan –is quite convenient, but still not that visual.

Signal display mode in the form of line B-Scan

Figure 3 — Signal display mode in the form of line B-Scan


1 line — central cross-section of the rail (Example: 0°, 45° Probes)
2 line — central part of the rail head (Example: 70° Probe FWD C , BWD C)
3 line — gauging face of the rail head (Example: 70° Probe FWD L(GF) , BWD L(GF))
4 line — field face of the rail head (Example: 70° Н Probe FWD R(FF) , BWD R(FF)

  • Maximum intuitive perception: Natural Multi B-Scans with visualization on the rail cross-section

To increase visuality of the indications display in the multi-channel mode, we developed and implemented in our flaw detectors two additional modes: 1.NaturalMultiB-Scan (fig. 4 а); 2. NaturalMultiB-Scan+MultilineA-Scan (fig. 4 b), where the indications from all the channels simultaneously are displayed at their natural depths on the B-Scan with a possibility of the signals visualization on the Multi line А-Scan. We will also implement the visualization of the indiations detected on the rail cross-section (fig. 5 b).

Signal display in Natural Multi B-Scan mode

а) Natural Multi B-Scan

Signal display in Natural Multi B-Scan+MultiLine A-Scan mode

b) Natural Multi B-Scan+MultiLine A-Scan

Figure 4 — Signal display in Natural Multi B-Scan modes
Signal display in Natural Multi B-scan modes

Figure 5 — Signal display in Natural Multi B-scan modes


This type of representation is maximum intuitive and is apprehended even by an unexperienced operator, that decreases much the percentage of error in assessment of the revealed indications, and decreases safety of the railroad traffic.

  • Testing with the sound is more entertaining

Human's ear is capable of easy distinguishing millions of sound patterns. That's why, it is not an undertaking for the operator to get used to a specific sound code of indications within several days, and react to their detection, although one missed the defect in the visual sense.;

  • Panel of channels–a quick changeover to assessment  

At the indications detection by one or several channels, the corresponding field on the panel of channels is lit in red thus indicating which channels detected an indication. 

  • Our Customers' experience 

The majority of our customers use Natural MultiB-Scan or line B-Scanwith sound in the process of testing. At the defect ALARM triggering for the concerned channel, they are switched by pressing a couple of keys to the B-Scan+А-Scasn (fig 5) in order to review the indication in details and assess it. Then, they switch back to the multi-channel mode and continue testing.

Über OKOndt GROUP™

OKOndt GROUP™ ist eine Unternehmensgruppe mit mehr als 25 Jahren Erfahrung in der Forschung, Entwicklung und Herstellung von ZfP-Produkten für Industriekunden auf der ganzen Welt, die ein hohes Maß an Sicherheit, Qualität und Zuverlässigkeit in ihren Betrieben anstreben.