Automated Defect Detection From Ultrasonic Images Using Deep Learning

Published: 13.10.2021.

Automated Defect Detection From Ultrasonic Images Using Deep Learning

Nondestructive evaluation (NDE) is a set of techniques used for material inspection and defect detection without causing damage to the inspected component. One of the commonly used nondestructive techniques is called ultrasonic inspection. The acquisition of ultrasonic data was mostly automated in recent years, but the analysis of the collected data is still performed manually. This process is thus very expensive, inconsistent, and prone to human errors. An automated system would significantly increase the efficiency of analysis, but the methods presented so far fail to generalize well on new cases and are not used in real-life inspection. Many of the similar data analysis problems were recently tackled by deep learning methods. This approach outperforms classical methods but requires lots of training data, which is difficult to obtain in the NDE domain. In this work, we train a deep learning architecture EfficientDet to automatically detect defects from ultrasonic images. We showed how some of the hyperparameters can be tweaked in order to improve the detection of defects with extreme aspect ratios that are common in ultrasonic images. The proposed object detector was trained on the largest dataset of ultrasonic images that was so far seen in the literature. In order to collect the dataset, six steel blocks containing 68 defects were scanned with a phased-array probe. More than 4000 VC-B-scans were acquired and used for training and evaluation of EfficientDet. The proposed model achieved 89.6% of mean average precision (mAP) during fivefold cross validation, which is a significant improvement compared to some similar methods that were previously used for this task. A detailed performance overview for each of the folds revealed that EfficientDet-D0 successfully detects all of the defects present in the inspected material.

Authors: Luka Posilović, Duje Medak, Marko Subašić, Marko Budimir (INETEC), Sven Lončarić

Journal: IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, Volume 68, Issue 10, October 2021

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