Ultrasonic Testing (UT) Example: Operating machinery with cracked ball studs

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What is the current state of your truck ball studs? How do you know?

Heavy earth moving machinery such as Off Highway Dump Trucks contain ball studs which are components in the steering linkages vital to the safety of the vehicle. If these ball studs were to crack or break during operation and remain undetected, the failure could lead to loss of control of the vehicle causing costly heavy equipment damage and subsequent downtime, or at worst, serious injury or fatalities.

Incidents that could occur as a result of damaged ball studs may have been prevented with planned downtime for inspection. Ball Stud inspection can be done on the haul road, in the pit, in the workshop or in go-line parking.

Making time for inspection of this equipment is even more imperative as in the majority of cases cracks in Ball Studs are not easily visible. Even if closer visual inspection is carried out, it is often still not evident when cracking and breakage has occurred, evidence that a more in depth inspection is required.

Ultrasonic Testing - Cracking of a Truck Ball Stud

Cracking of a Truck Ball Stud

Ultrasonic Testing on Truck Ball Studs

It is usually recommended by the OEM that Ball Studs require Ultrasonic Testing every 1000 hours, or every 6 months, to determine whether or not they are fit for purpose.

When performing Ultrasonic Testing (UT) on a ball stud, an inspector will know immediately whether the ball stud has suffered from cracking or breakage internally while in service.

AME’s procedure is a non-destructive straight beam examination using high frequency sound energy to conduct the examination and take measurements.

A key advantage of the non-destructive UT inspection is that it does not require any fitters to remove covers or bolts. Inspection takes roughly an hour per truck, although this is dependent on the type of truck.

Asset Management Engineers have qualified NDT Certified Technicians and procedures with top of the line Ultrasonic Flaw Detection equipment for performing Ball Stud Inspections. Our proactive approach is to plan downtime and capture component damage before it results in a catastrophic failure, saving time, money and preventing injury.

Ultrasonic Testing Procedure

The non-destructive UT procedure is also frequently used in the detection of material thickness, weld discontinuities or defects, cracking on shafts and lamination checks for corrosion mapping. It’s also a vital tool for conducting a Root Cause Analysis (RCA) when incidents occur.

Ultrasonic Testing Applications:

1. Weld Inspections

  • Pipe welds
  • Structural welds
  • Rail Welds
  • Machinery welds

2. Shaft Inspections

  • Pulley / Conveyor Shaft
  • Drive Shaft
  • Swing Shaft
  • Bolts and Pins

3. Heavy Machinery Structures /Components

  • Steering Components
  • Ball Stud
  • Anchor Boss Structures

4. In-Service Inspections

  • Ultrasonic Thickness Testing
  • Lamination Check

Our Perth NDT services are suitable for any and every stage of a project, from initiation through to ongoing maintenance and support. Enquire now to speak to one of our staff on +61 8 9466 7444.