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X-ray CT as an Advanced 3D Metrology Technique

by Roland on 18 Dec 2020 at 17h25

Modern manufacturing is one of the leading industries in terms of digital transformation, implementing advanced 3D metrology techniques to optimize processes and cut costs. In recent years, advanced 3D metrology has evolved into something that provides an invaluable insight into manufacturing processes and the parts that they produce. For example, new manufacturing technologies such as additive manufacturing produce complex parts with non-accessible internal features. These parts are impossible to control using traditional measurement technologies without cutting the parts. Furthermore, advanced 3D metrology such as computed tomography is an excellent way to improve production efficiency and product quality in an assembly environment.

Manufactured goods are more and more complex

Manufacturing becomes more complex as supply chain become interdependent, digital and international. Manufacturers are looking for continuous measurements throughout the supply and manufacturing chain. Furthermore, as high-precision manufacturing becomes more demanding, manufacturing tolerances have tightened and will continue to do so.
The manufacturing and assembly complexities coupled with the race to gain a competitive advantage through superior products and more efficient operations, manufacturers are increasingly looking how to improve quality across product life cycle. This is where x-ray computed tomography makes sense. As a non destructive technique, it allows getting all the insights of complex parts in a few minutes.


X-ray Computed Tomography is the most advanced technology for 3D inspection. As a nondestructive imaging technique, it operates at all stages of the product life cycle. As a powerful 3D method, it offers a significant advantage for various industries because of its ability to reveal hidden details of parts. Thus, getting a perfect insight into the invisible features of parts allows to capture, investigate, measure & analyze internal and external structures of components in a non-destructive way.
X-ray computed tomography for metrology applications can be used at each step of a product lifecycle, from the first prototypes to the last quality control before being released on the market passing through the production line. X-ray as an advanced 3D metrology technology allows performing very high accuracy holistic measurements of the entire workpiece in a short time.

Advanced Metrology can be used at each step of a product lifecycle

1. Product Design

Research and Development - Product design – Engineering - Prototyping
The is the beginning of every product. All the product specifications are defined, from the design to the product dimensions and tolerances. X-ray CT can be used as a validation tool by giving in a single scan the entire part geometry, including the inside structures.

2. Production and quality control

Production – Failure analysis – Warranty & reclaim
After being developed, the product enters the production phase. This step also required advanced 3D metrology to be sure that the defined specifications are met. During the manufacturing process, a critical control dimension measurement help to keep an eye on the manufacturing process.
X-ray CT can be used at a different level, either as an inline technology included directly on the production line or at-the-line/off-line. This production monitoring can help to prevent any losses, such as dumping defective products or manufacturing line downtime, as well as damage to the company's reputation and the release of defective products.


CT is a powerful non-destructive technique enabling the measurement and the characterization of internal and external structures of an object in the 3D volume to calculate various parameters on surfaces and features. Independently of the shapes complexity and based on high-density 3D point clouds volumes generated by CT, any traditional measurements can be performed, including GD&T dimensional measurement and position tolerances such as parallelism, perpendicularity, concentricity…
Non-destructive and contact-free testing allows the inspection of multiple industrial components. Assuring micrometer accuracy in most cases, CT becomes an essential technology to qualify and inspect complex parts or assemblies.


  • - Improve manufacturing reliability and accuracy,
  • - Improved production rate and throughput,
  • - Reduced product faults and failures,
  • - A decrease in waste and excess material costs,
  • - Less downtime and reduction in bottlenecks,
  • - Cost and time-saving through reduced re-machining and fewer scrapped parts,
  • - Inspections can be fully automated, without any need for an operator thus reducing the risk of mistake,
  • - Provide real-time data on the production line for a quick decision,
  • - Shop-floor CT systems can be implemented directly in the production,
  • - Complete acquisition of a part in a short time.

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CT systems portfolio covers a large scale of analysis, from Micro focus (4 µm) to Nano focus (0.4 µm) to satisfy a broad spectrum of applications.