Request for Proposal
Status: RFP is Closed

Quantitative, Non-Destructive Weld Inspection

Request Number
Due Date
Jun 4
Program Manager


Technology Licensing, Technology Acquisition, Contract Research, Joint Development, Supplier Agreement

Opportunity to partner with a global Tier 1 automotive company


Phase 1 – Selection of potential technologies to test, Q2 2018

Phase 2 – Demonstration of selected technologies, Starting Q3 2018

Phase 3 – Implementation of technology in production facilities, Q4 2018 - 2019


All financial details to be negotiated with the client


To respond, please access the Response Form.

RFP was closed on
Jun 2018

RFP Title


Quantitative, Non-Destructive Weld Inspection
RFP Description
NineSigma, on behalf of a global Tier 1 automotive company, invites proposals for groundbreaking technologies capable of quantitatively and non-destructively evaluating welds, both internally and externally. Of particular importance, the technology must be capable of detecting and measuring the transition between base material and the weld itself.

NineSigma’s client uses gas metal arc welding to bond ferrous metal sheets into a variety of assemblies. This work produces tens of thousands of individual welds each week.


At present, NineSigma’s client employs a destructive evaluation procedure to evaluate welds: a number of assemblies are set aside and then cut into segments to allow for a detailed inspection. This process is time-consuming, wasteful and expensive – a team of technicians is required to inspect nearly 2 thousand welds in a 1-week timeframe at substantial cost. The purpose of the inspections is to verify that the welding process is adequately bonding the base materials and to measure weld parameters such as leg length, penetration, throat length and weld depth according to customers’ requirements.


The client has previously investigated potential technologies, including ultrasonic testing (UT), phased array ultrasonic, x-ray radiography, computed tomography (CT), electromagnetic acoustic transducers (EMAT), shearography, and infrared tomography. While ultrasonic testing and CT demonstrated the best internal inspections, they were not capable of measuring all desired attributes, especially weld penetration.


To ensure product quality, reduce costs and inspection time, NineSigma’s client seeks innovative methods to accurately assess welds in a quantitative and non-destructive manner.


Anticipated Project Phases or Project Plan

Phase 1 – Evaluation

  • NineSigma’s client will evaluate all proposed technologies
  • Q2/Q3 2018

Phase 2 – Demonstration

  • Selected technologies will be invited to demonstrate proposed technology on production samples (testing location to be determined)
  • Q4 2018 into 2019

Phase 3 – Implementation

  • Successful technology/ies will be implemented in client production facilities
  • 2019 - 2020


Criteria for Moving from Phase 1 to Phase 2

Client will consider for advancement an approach that meets performance criteria with acceptable economics and pathway to commercialization.


Key Success Criteria

The successful technology will:

  • Detect and measure defects:
    • On the surface of the weld
    • In the interior of the weld
  • Detect and measure boundary layer between weld and base
  • Measure the following weld parameters:
    • Leg length
    • Penetration/Fusion
    • Porosity
    • Throat length
    • Weld depth
  • Precision: at least 0.05 mm
  • Target inspection rate: 5 - 15 welds per hour
  • Retain scan images
Possible Approaches
Possible approaches might include, but are not limited to:
  • Next generation:
    • Computed tomography (CT)
    • Eddy current testing
    • Electromagnetic acoustic transducers (EMAT)
    • Neutron testing
    • Phased array ultrasonic testing
    • Phased contrast X-ray imaging
    • Ultrasonic testing (UT)
    • X-ray radiography
  • Systems which incorporate multiple sensing technologies into a composite scan
  • Other novel sensors capable of providing non-destructive weld evaluation
  • Weld doping to improve defect detection
    • Must not negatively impact weld performance characteristics
  • Imaging systems to inspect weld:
    • During the welding process
    • Post-welding process
  • Non-destructive evaluation technologies from other industries


Approaches not of Interest
  • Laser welding combined with imaging technology
  • Approaches that cannot detect sub-surface defects
  • Approaches that cannot accurately detect all desired parameters
  • Approaches that require destruction of the assembly


Items to be Submitted

To respond, please access the Response Form.


Appropriate responses will use the response form and address the following:

  • Non-confidential description of proposed technology and working principle
  • Availability of technical data including:
    • Minimum detectable defect
      • On weld surface
      • Weld interior
    • Estimated time to completely scan one weld
    • Number of personnel required to operate
    • Special safety consideration required:
      • Protective housing
      • Shielding
    • Maximum size of item to be scanned
    • Suitable evaluation environment:
      • Laboratory
      • Production
  • Technical maturity of the approach (concept, reduced to practice, prototype, ready to commercialize, ready to implement, commercialized)
  • Pathway to commercial scale including timing, estimated budget, and capacity for manufacture
  • Estimated unit cost of technology
  • Position on intellectual property including patent references
  • Desired relationship with sponsor
  • Team description and related experience




Responses from companies (small to large), academic researchers, other research institutes, consultants, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, or inventors are welcome. For example:


You represent a company or university that has demonstrated a proof of concept.

You represent a company or university that has reduced method to practice at lab scale.

You represent a company or university that has developed a method for use at pilot scale.

You represent a company or university that has demonstrated a method ready for implementation at industrial scale.

You represent a technology transfer agency that represents an inventor or technology holder who can demonstrate an approach to address the request.

You represent a university research department that has a bench-scale demonstration ready to adapt.

You represent a university research department that has an undeveloped pathway with a high probability of success.

Preferred Collaboration Types
Area of Interest