The Nondestructive Inspection and Evaluation Management System (NIMS), based at Stennis Space Center, is a computer network dedicated to administration of a large data base pertaining to nondestructive inspections of rocket-engine components. The NIMS serves as both an electronic archive of inspection records and as a communication medium. Inspection records can be in a variety of forms, include ordinary photographs, fluorescent-penetrant images of cracks, eddy-current traces, images from ultrasonic scans, and sketches.

One important benefit afforded by the NIMS is providing rapid, easy access to records of previous inspections. Inspectors and engineers often need to view such records to obtain guidance in the interpretation of records of new inspections and in the development of new inspection techniques. Before the development of the NIMS, it was necessary to engage in a labor-intensive and time-consuming procedure of retrieving original inspection records from archives, photocopying them, and sending the photocopies to the requesting engineers and inspectors.

Computer Displays With Full Graphical Capabilities enable individuals at various locations to view inspection records.

Another important benefit afforded by NIMS is enabling a person at one location to view, in real time, the record of an inspection performed by another person at a different location, in order to discuss or confirm the interpretation of the record. Before the development of the NIMS, it was common practice to transmit copies of the inspection records by facsimile ("fax") for this purpose, but the degradation of image quality by facsimile transmission often rendered the copies useless, making it necessary for the assisting engineer and inspectors to travel to the inspection sites. With the NIMS, one can view a photographic-quality copy of an inspection record from any location in the network.

The NIMS is compatible with IBM and Macintosh, or compatible, computers. It accommodates new inspection records and new types of inspections as needed, without extensive programming changes. Security is maintained by requiring passwords for access by users and guests.

This work was done by Victor O. Alfaro, Sr., Robert M. Robb, and Michael F. Reynolds of Boeing, Rocketdyne Propulsion & Power for Stennis Space Center. SSC-00055


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the June, 1998 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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