X-ray CT scans made viable for industrial quality inspection

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A full X-ray rapid-tomography system for quality inspection on the production line has been developed as part of a three-year, €8.5 million project. The technology was developed by Minalogic, a competitive cluster in Grenoble with more than 200 members, as part of the Delpix project.

While X-ray computed tomography, or CT scan, has been widely used for years in the medical field, it is still rarely employed in manufacturing because of the slowness of the image-acquisition and reconstruction processes and the low attainable resolution. The Delpix project was able to shorten the time required to inspect products from several minutes to only a few seconds, making it a valuable tool for industrial quality control.

‘By integrating this technology in industrial processes, the Delpix project developed the only X-ray tomography platform of its kind in France, overcoming the cost and quality issues that have long been barriers to using this modality in manufacturing,’ said Jean Chabbal, Minalogic’s chief executive. ‘The success of this project also highlights the key competencies that Grenoble offers in the fields of digital imaging, and Minalogic’s role in helping bring that expertise together in one project.’

The outcome of the project included a new generation of X-ray flat-panel detectors with a significantly lower cost, higher robustness and a unique image quality. It also resulted in new software for synchronised, real-time 3D image reconstruction with a more than 20x speed improvement over the previous generation, as well as automated processing software of the 3D reconstructed data, enabling the automatic detection of defects in the inspected pieces.

Partners in the project include Thales and Trixell (major companies), CyXplus, Digisens and Noesis (SMEs), and INP Grenoble and INSA Lyon (academy).

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