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X-ray computed tomography, a must-have technology to inspect Additive Manufactured (AM) parts in multiple industries

Many industries have been experiencing impactful production and business transformations thanks to additive manufacturing technologies, including aerospace, medical, automotive industries. Computed Tomography is more and more used for characterizing additive manufactured parts, for identifying the defects present in the printed components, for metrology purposes for inner and outer features.  

For instance, aircraft parts created with Additive Manufacturing process help designers to reduce weight and the number of components in assemblies. These parts very often contain internal cavities or channels that make surface inspection techniques ineffective. This is where X-ray tomography brings an additional value: it allows the internal structures of additive manufactured parts to be inspected with deeper insight in a non-destructive way keeping in mind that defects such as porosities or cracks can lead to significant structural integrity issues.

Computed Tomography is a unique technology to measure and analyze complex additive manufactured parts, assuring dimensional and quality conformity in sectors such as aerospace and medical.

Couple the additive manufacturing process with X-ray computed Tomography and keep under control each steps of the AM parts’ life-cycle

A recurring issue with 3D printed components is the lack of repeatability and reproducibility in the manufacturing process. Computed tomography contributes with useful data to the manufacturing process improvement. 

The use of computed tomography on the printing process is not limited to the manufactured product, it is also used at various scales: It is no longer a question of characterizing only the part but also the manufacturing process, taking into account the greatest number of AM parameters with the objective of determining the optimum parameters to produce the best quality parts: from the powder  to the final part. 

Follow the additive manufacturing process from raw material to the 3D printed products at different scales, from Nano-computed tomography to Micro.

Powder is the key element for most of the additively manufactured parts. Powders with homogeneous size and shape distribution will lead to homogeneous melting properties, thus best-quality parts. At this level, a high spatial resolution is required. Nano-computed tomography (or submicron tomography) provides a voxel resolution down to 0.3 microns on our devices and gives a way to take a close look at the AM powder and inspect in details several parameters (such as their sphericity, grain size distribution and the presence/absence of internal porosities).  

Additive Manufacturing process parameters are constantly changing as there are many variables in the printers. X-ray computed tomography helps to rapidly optimize the process characteristics and gives a way to rapidly go through the sample analysis. Hence, many design iterations can be done in a much shorter time frame.

RX Solutions CT systems are tomographic solutions that can be used for a variety of 3D applications ranging from research and material sciences to industrial applications in R&D and production.  Scalable CT hardware integrated with the full featured “X-Act” software, a proprietary offering, streamlines acquisition, reconstruction, and is enhanced by advanced corrective algorithms; X-Act software is also capable of automated workflow: scanning, reconstruction, and inspection.

Whatever your additive manufacturing application is, Computed Tomography and RX Solutions systems can play a role to help you.