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Industrial computer tomography scanning

News International-French

5 Nov 2012

JEC Americas 2012- In just a few short years, industrial computer tomography (CT) scanning has become an integral component of NDT that is facilitating the parts inspection process. CT technology has seen massive improvements in system and software analysis capabilities, which allows for increased accuracy when dealing with scan datasets.

How does it work?

Industrial CT scanning works by taking several hundred to several thousand 2D x-ray images covering 360 degrees. Once the scan is completed, the 2D x-ray images are reconstructed in 3D, making it possible to see the external and internal features of the part, inspect for defects and capture exact geometrical measurements for comparison and metrology purposes.


Reduced pre-production inspection costs

When it comes to pre-production inspection, the difficulty in inspecting for internal failures on component parts has proven to be a time-consuming and costly issue. “Even if you do find the problem by cutting through sections of the part, you’ve spent weeks trying to locate it, validate the problem and then begin the process of correcting it. This delay could take up even more valuable resources, inevitably slowing down the time to reach production. What you want is a successful scan, inspection and analysis of your part to make a qualified decision within a shorter time frame and get to production faster. Where traditional inspection methods could take up to weeks, an industrial CT scan can be completed in a matter of hours, giving instant and accurate results. This allows you to receive a value-added (time and cost saving) solution because it reduces the number of defects and it upgrades standards in quality control, allowing the manufacturer to go to production with a superior product,” says Jesse Garant, President, JG&A Metrology Center.


Among the various types of analyses available, a void analysis makes it possible to locate porosity/inclusions within the part and provides detailed information about these defects. Porosity/inclusions are colour-coded in all 2D and 3D views of the data set. Detailed information about each individual defect such as its volume, projected size and position are provided. A void/inclusion analysis is the only NDT method able to capture such porosity levels in 3D. With proper scan calibration, most composites can be scanned quickly and accurately to determine defect location and size. It is also possible to restrict such an analysis to relevant areas or to perform the analysis using different parameters in different areas of a part. In addition, recent analysis advancements in software capabilities make it possible to measure a percentage of porosity, based on any given specific cross section.


Highly complex geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) projects are time consuming and difficult to measure. Turning to industrial CT scanning for GD&T projects is a viable inspection solution for drastically reducing costs, because it provides a complete and accurate 3D model of the part. Parts are scanned in a free-state environment, allowing for both external and internal components to be validated quickly and accurately without destructive testing. Once the scan is completed, the GD&T program is written around the scan data set and referenced to the part print. From there, the program is instantaneously applied to future scans of the same or mirrored part.


Inspection costs involving GD&T can be drastically reduced because a complete and accurate 3D model of the part is produced and the analysis software can align the dataset to the CAD model and compare it against the same written measurement plan every time. There are no external measuring forces to distort the attributes of the part or fixturing required, thus eliminating inaccurate measurements and the corresponding costs.



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