Excerpt from original manufacturing.net article
A CT scanner gives you the ability to “see through” a solid object–once thought to be a tool of the future –but the technology is here today, and more widespread and accessible than you may have thought.
Until recently, the technology of CT imaging was only available for use in medical settings. Over the last several years using CT scanners for industrial projects and manufacturing has opened up myriad opportunities never before available. CT, or Computed Tomography, is now commonly used in various industrial metrology settings, both in the lab and online or inline for product evaluation and packaging integrity assessment.
The main advantage is that it allows the inspection of a part’s interior structure or a package’s closure functionality without causing any harm or destruction to the objects themselves.
Industrial CT scanners utilise the same type of technology as CT scanners in hospitals and doctors’ offices–taking multiple readings from various angles and converting the CT grey scale images into voxel-based 3-dimensional point clouds. Once the CT scanner generates the point cloud, a specialist can generate a CAD-to-part comparison map, construct a 3D model of the part, or reverse engineer the part to suit their needs.
Industrial scanners offer a multitude of advantages, such as: obtaining internal structure of an object non-destructively, validating extremely accurate internal dimensions, allowing comparison to reference models, no shaded zones, compatibility with all shapes and sizes, no post-processing work and extremely high-resolution imaging.Some of the most common uses of 3D and now CT scanning in industrial metrology applications include:
• Reverse engineering – the process of taking measurements of an existing part or object, then creating an exact CAD replica. This technology is extremely useful, when you have a manufactured part or object, but not the original prints or design data.
• Non-contact measurement – the process of capturing the geometry of existing objects through the use of laser emitting camera-like 3D scanners.
• Art forgeries – a bit unusual for what is thought to be an industrial product, but hundreds of art museums, dealers and auction houses use scanning each year to validate works of art, as well as the structural integrity of sculpture, for example.
• Sculpture to manufacture processing – here again, artists will often have their sculpture models, whether fashioned or human, scanned for dimension prior to casting a statue in bronze or producing a high-fashion line of clothing.
These 3D imaging devices and long-range scanners serve a wide range of industries and help assure that they are performing the highest level of testing and accuracy possible. A few of the diverse industries currently using this technology and the goals sought are:
• Manufacturing – for internal quality inspection of components and to ensure that a part meets specifications; this includes injection moulded, cast, forged or fabricated parts made from metal, plastic, polymers, composites and even 3D printed products
• Power generation/nuclear – can scan the complex, hard to reach and hazardous areas of a nuclear power plant or conventional power generation facility for pipe alignment, boiler integrity, containment building stability and more
• Medical – devices & equipment, implants, orthotics & prosthetics; a one-off knee joint, for example, can be accurately compared to the original CAD program as well as the doctor’s MRI for accuracy
• Automotive & aerospace – allows engineers to do virtual testing of machinery, helps understand failures, works as a research & development tool to analyze structure, simulate reactions
• Arts – in the detection of forgeries and sculpture integrity metal castings – to check for air bubbles and overall porosity
• Plastics industry – to inspect quality, wall-thickness and porosity analysis
• Mouldmaking – provides a powerful inspection and measurement tool to validate precise injection moulds and check structural integrity of a part
The future of industrial scanning holds unlimited possibilities, especially when combined with 3D printing or other additive manufacturing methods. As improvements are made in technology and performance and costs continue to decrease, the industrial scanning industry is preparing for explosive growth in the next 5-10 years.
See the full article at manufacturing.net.