CT (computed tomography) helps people to gain a comprehensive understanding of the additive manufacturing process, its quality and its competence for use in industrial applications, medical fields as well as mainstream consumer goods. Micro-focus CT enables - in a non-destructive way - the evaluation of defects and flaws in metal AM parts with high accuracy and detail. Many manufacturers have already integrated CT in the additive manufacturing process that will help them to maximize the potential of AM.
The breakthrough of additive manufacturing (originally 3D printing) came in mainstream commercial/consumer products. Since then, the technology has evolved significantly. Now important sectors including the automotive, aerospace and medical industries have discovered the many varied benefits of additive manufacturing.
In industries where the safety and integrity of components is life-critical, companies adopt Computed Tomography as the peerless quality assurance tool. When there is no room for error, CT provides a non-destructive insight into complex internal shapes and features. CT doesn’t only offer evaluation of defects and flaws in prototypes or final products, but it also delivers comprehensive evaluation of powder quality and residue blocking channels. The tool is now the go-to QA system for manufacturers.
Additive Manufacturing challenges:
- To manufacture components with a reduced weight, without compromising strength, quality and safety
- To produce defect free components in life-critical applications
- To identify voids, inclusions and channel blockages
- To measure internal shapes and features
Benefits of Nikon CT:
- Better insight into the inside of AM components
- Faster optimization of AM prototyping production parameters and processes
- Micron-level quality control for higher confidence in incoming and outgoing parts
- Reduced costs by avoiding destructive testing
- Ready for process automation
CT for additive manufactured medical implants
Additive manufacturing has already been complemented by CT in producing bespoke medical implants. For bespoke items, additive manufacturing is a limitless production method which enables complete flexibility in design iterations.
When producing medical implants, the quality of the implant is vital. For the fit and functionality, there is no room for error. Additive manufacturing is a very complicated technology with a wide variety of processing parameters and it is hard to predict the structure quality of a printed part. However, the high-power, micro-focus accuracy and non-destructive qualities of Nikon CT gives users a comprehensive and unparalleled insight into the conformity of products.
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CT in additive manufacturing for aerospace
Manufacturing standards are the highest in the aerospace industry and this drives the need for a powerful and repeatable quality control process. It is essential to know if voids or inclusions are present, how large they are and where they occur as well as whether the dimensions of a part conform to the design. For this, Computed Tomography, or ‘micro-CT’ is the unrivalled solution. Micro-CT can determine the cooling and flow channels built in by additive manufacturing to an accuracy of 50 μm to 100 μm.
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