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Ultrasonics Applications and Solutions for Industry and Research



SIA-7 Product Page

Air coupled ultrasonics opens up ultrasonic inspection of materials in ways that contact and immersion ultrasound just can’t do.  Overcoming the mismatch between air and virtually all solids and liquids required a revolution in how ultrasonics was done.  The SIA-7 system was developed to make air coupled ultrasonics a practical tool for both industry and research.  Of course any system capable of air coupled ultrasonics must make short work of simple contact and immersion applications.

The SIA-7 is a self-contained ultrasonics analysis system.  The units have built-in power amplifiers and digitizers capable of transmitting and receiving ultrasonic signals from a variety of different transducers.  Rather than relying on crude pulser receiver technology, the SIA-7 uses high performance Digital to Analog and Analog to Digital converters.  This provides maximum flexibility and it also allows the system to get the very most from a set of transducers.  For a brief overview of ultrasonics and methods follow this link.

The units can be used as a stand-alone tool or they can be integrated into a larger inspection system.  These units are working well in both lab and industrial environments.

SIA-7 units are capable of performing a wide range of measurements with just a few mouse clicks.  The measurements include the following:

  • Time of Flight
  • Signal Strength
  • Velocity and Thickness
  • Ultrasonic Spectroscopy

Transducer Configurations

The SIA-7 unit supports a number of different transducer configurations.  With our two channel SIA-7 configuration the same unit can be configured to operate in any of the following modes.

  • Pulse Echo: using a single transducer.
  • Dual Pulse Echo:  using two separate transducers where each transducer independently transmits and receives.
  • Transmission Mode: using two transducers, one transmits the other receives.
  • Pulse Echo and Transmission: full 4 path mode where two transducers are used.  In this mode the device performs the pulse echo function as well as the transmission mode function simultaneously.
  • Four Transducer: two sets of transducers are used to record transmission mode data independently on two different sets of transducers connected to the system at the same time.

Three In One Signal Processor

The SIA-7 is capable of operating as three different types of ultrasonics systems.  In effect, the SIA-7 is three boxes in one.  The SIA-7 switches between modes at the click of a mouse.  For a more detailed look at the different types of signals, follow this link.  

  • Pulser Receiver:  Pulser receivers are not very sophisticated but they are familiar and easy to understand.  The SIA-7 implements a pulser receiver module mainly for compatibility.  Analyzing pulser data is not nearly as simple as it appears.  The SIA-7 has a suite of analysis tools that make this process much simpler.
  • Tone Burst:  In this mode the unit produces short tones at a specified frequency.  This is often useful when performing certain high precision frequency dependent measurements.  Just detecting the signals is never enough.  The SIA-7 features specialized analysis tools to capture both the phase and magnitude of the waveforms.  This is critical especially when trying to learn about a material or sample.
  • Synthetic Impulse™:  Synthetic Impulse™ is VN Instruments patented signal processing that greatly boosts the dynamic range and accuracy of any transducer.  This mode offers the apparent simplicity of a pulser receiver but it is vastly more capable.  The effective dynamic range of Synthetic Impulse™ makes short work of almost all materials and applications.  The SIA-7 has a powerful suite of analysis tools that complement the Synthetic Impulse™ module.  Spend more time analyzing material rather than playing with hardware.

Scanning Frames and C-scans

The SIA-7 can be linked to a scanning frame to produce two-dimensional images.  A set of transducers is mechanically scanned back and forth to build up a detailed picture of some part or material.  In many instances an ultrasonic image of a part will give a much clearer idea about what’s happening inside the part.  Is there a crack or defect?  Does the density of the material change throughout the volume?

The SIA-7 can be linked directly to a DaVinci3 scanning frame.  The SIA-7 directly controls the frame allowing the user to collect and build images with no external hardware (other than the optional scanning frame).

If size is an issue there are a wide range of available scanning robotics that can be substituted to create virtually any size or footprint needed.

With the addition of an external PC to the SIA-7 and scanning frame, VN Instruments now offers a Tomography option. 

Software Development Kit

The SIA-7 can be controlled from a simple text based language.  Commands are sent to the SIA-7 through an RS-232 interface.  A client wishing to create a specific application can easily integrate the powerful SIA-7 into a larger system.  The programming interface operates using simple ‘human readable’ text commands.

SIA-7 units also support several network protocols.  Users can easily extract data from the SIA-7 across a network link using either NFS or even FTP.  The SIA-7 can be made visible to a Windows™ PC through the network interface.

A wide range of applications have already been built using the SIA-7 as the ultrasonic backbone.  

Recommended Peripherals and Configurations

The SIA-7 can be purchased in one of several possible configurations. 

  • 1 or 2 channels: The first option is the number of channels.  A one-channel version of the system is well suited to specific industrial applications like heat seal inspection where only one mode is used.  A two-channel version of the system allows users to operate in a variety of modes.
  • Remote Modules: Ports can be added that are used to link dedicated Remote Modules to the system.  These Remote Modules are fully integrated with the system and they provide significant benefits to almost all applications. The external Remote Modules work well with either piezoelectric or capacitive style transducers.  In both cases the Remote Modules eliminate issues due to cable length and matching.  For capacitive style devices the Remote Modules provide the required bias voltages.  It’s possible to switch between piezo and capacitive devices at the click of a button.  
  • Optional Peripherals: VN Instruments can provide a full library of transducers and scanning equipment as well.  A well equipped ultrasonics research lab would include SIA-7, several sets of focused and non focused transducers as well as a DaVinci3 scanning frame.


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Copyright © 2007 VN Instruments Ltd
Last modified: April 02, 2007