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Industry 4.0 challenges and X-ray CT applications

by Verona on 25 Nov 2021 at 14h29
X-ray CT, as a very innovative non-destructive technology, is constantly evolving and is consistent with the demands of Industry 4.0. Indeed, manufacturers aspire to develop a more efficient production process by effectively managing to not only just check quality of products but to consistently deliver the best quality.

Introduction to industry 4.0 and its current challenges 

Industry 4.0 is a combination of a digital, automated, and connected manufacturing process. Manufacturing becomes more and more complex, as the supply chain becomes international and interdependent. Thus, manufacturing is looking for digital technologies and data-driven solutions to fully digitalize the production process and manage in a sustainable way the resources.
The industrial sector has evolved from the manufacturing of single products to massive and bigger production during the last two centuries and is currently focused on mass production of customized specific components. This product life cycle development and production lack further and better production and quality control flexibility.  
To achieve this goal of flexibility in the manufacturing process of a product, industry 4.0 is evolving and taking advantage of various methods such as computing, communications, process automation, etc. Responsive and agile manufacturing systems are about to emerge which rely on innovative production techniques and rely on continuous measurement and product verification all along the manufacturing process.
For example, additive manufacturing (AM) in particular enables unrivaled design flexibility, limited only by material choices and manufacturing approaches. Non-destructive inspection technologies such as X-ray computed tomography (CT), used for 3D characterization of all internal and external features of industrial components, assemblies, and material samples, are a must in order to face these challenges. In addition, it helps to save valuable resources by giving a new way to fully inspect and validate in a non-destructive way manufactured components.

X-ray CT offers process control, inline AND automated opportunities for industry 4.0 

X-ray CT provides essential flexibility, and with recent technical advancements, component throughput of a few seconds is now achievable, even while completing complex metrology and inspection projects. With quick virtual feedback on part’s internal and external characteristics, the manufacturing process becomes simultaneously more efficient.
To allow Industry 4.0, X-ray CT enables high-volume manufacturing to measure, check and inspect 100% of parts produced automatically while saving time and avoiding defective parts to market. To do this, automation will become unavoidable to increase productivity and automated measuring technologies are required to perform the inspection while the parts are manufactured. Continuous measurement throughout the supply and manufacturing chain is enabled by X-ray computed tomography.  Then, CT results are linked to parts’ unique serial numbers for feedback data to be accessible afterwards. 
 A connected manufacturing process thanks to X-ray CT

X-ray CT applications for industry 4.0 

X-ray CT is an efficient way to provide results based on a non-destructive approach by characterizing internal & external features of parts in complete 3D rendering results. Multiple applications can be performed with the use of CT, from traditional industrial analysis, such as process defects detection (voids, cracks, porosities), to metrology tasks such as dimensional measurements of the external as well as the internal features of complex assemblies.

Benefits of X-ray CT for industry 4.0 

Industry 4.0 goals of improved product quality, cost and time efficiency, as well as a sustainable resource management, flexibility, versatility are achieved thanks to X-ray CT.
The main benefits offered by X-ray CT to industry 4.0 are as follows:
- Process control that adapts to the situation and projects 
- Increased performance due to higher product quality: safety, availability, reduced maintenance, time savings, and reduced error proneness
- A connected manufacturing process with a product life cycle that is optimized 
- Production yield and cost optimization
- Better defect detection
- Sustainable resource management