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Nondestructive examination (NDE) of ferrous and nonferrous materials has long proved an effective maintenance and anomaly characterization tool for many industries. Recent research has expanded its applicability to include the inspection of large, open gear drives. Difficulties inherent in other NDE methods make them time-consuming and labor-intensive. They also present the user with the environmental problem of the disposal of used oil. The eddy current method addresses these problems.
Methods of examining large ring gear teeth to detect surface breaking discontinuities have often been time-consuming and limited in terms of data collected. Methods such as visual and magnetic particle inspection can miss critical discontinuities. However, a new ASTM international standard provides a more effective method for gear examination using eddy current array, a technology that has been widely used but, until now, not standardized.