An important challenge to manufacturers is to increase product quality, which can be achieved through 100% part inspection. Traditionally, X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) has been a valuable tool mainly used in research or prototyping labs to evaluate failures or spot defects. A proven engineering tool that was generally considered as too slow to be used on a production line.
That is until now! Recent advances in high-resolution high-flux rotating targets for X-ray sources, coupled with easy automation of CT scanning parameters and analysis techniques allow samples to be scanned, reconstructed and evaluated in under two minutes. This opens the gate to a broad span of automation inspection applications, varying from simple pass/fail inspection to full in-line automated CT inspection with feedback to the production process.
In failure analysis or quality control laboratories where batches of samples need inspecting, Nikon Metrology CT systems are designed with automation in mind. As a standard, the Nikon Inspect-X software allows to save scan profiles which can be recalled at a later date. The CT scan profiles define the parameters for the X-ray conditions, reconstruction and volume analysis. This ensures repeatability of complete CT process by eliminating the need for parameter or option selection by operators.
No programming skills required
Inspect-X loads appropriate analysis and reporting programs
Choice between simplified operator mode or full-featured expert mode
User is free to do parallel tasks such as sample preparation
Semi-automated CT inspection
In a production environment where fast inspection tact-time is required, semi-automated CT inspection systems almost replace all manual tasks involved with CT inspection. Individual parts are manually loaded onto the sample holder. Or more advanced, the operator loads a fixture with multiple samples, that are each positioned onto the sample holder by an internal loading system.
By communicating with production databases the CT system can automatically recognise the part to be inspected, and adjust all parameters accordingly, further removing possible operator error. Inspection results can be written back to the database for further analysis or to preserve data history.
Custom, simplified user interface (UI) guides the user through the complete process
Basic operator skills needed
Part identification by bar or QR code reader
Integrated with manufacturing database
Process control (SPC)
Inline production CT - 100% part inspection
The in-line CT inspection system is a solution for fully automated production environments where critical parts with complex internal geometries or material structures need to be inspected. As such this is the ideal inspection solution for companies that implement “Industry 4.0” methodology on the shop floor.
With no user input the complete CT inspection process is automated; part identification codes are scanned and handled though the database and robots load/unload from conveyors and position parts in the CT system via an automated door. The part is then automatically scanned, analyzed and sentenced according to the database recipe.
The entire process can be completed in under a minute, with possibility to scan multiple parts at once to further increase tact-time. For longer tact-times scanning and analysis of parts can occur in parallel.
Improved quality control
Rapid detection and feedback of process variation
Eliminates operator influence on metrology
Control and optimize production in real-time
Eliminates transporting parts to and from the measurement room
Maintain the continuous flow of production
Central database with all manufacturing information
Store inspection results for every manufactured part
Automated CT scanning enables 100% inspection of complex parts
To meet the demands of ever more discerning customers, manufacturers are constantly striving to improve product quality. One way to achieve this is through 100 per cent inspection of components, rather than taking samples from a production line for quality control.