Here are the main operations:
1. Computers and Software updates
The first step during a preventive maintenance visit usually consists in taking some time to check and update the computers and RX Solutions’ X-Act CT software. A global check is first performed to verify if everything works properly.
The graphic card drivers are updated as well as the CT software X-Act. The last version proposed by RX Solutions is installed and allows any customer under maintenance contract to benefit from the last features and developments, hence use the full capability of its CT system.
2. X-ray Tube
Two different technologies are provided in our equipment: sealed or open x-ray tubes. The maintenance operations are adapted to the type of tube installed in the system. Sealed tubes contain all components required to produce X-rays and don’t require any maintenance, but have a lower lifetime than an open tube. It’s like a lightbulb, with a defined lifetime. This kind of generator needs to be replaced after a few thousand hours of x-ray emission.
The vacuum inside the sealed tube is realized at the factory and the tube is sealed after. The main advantage is the fact that a sealed tube is maintenance-free and easy to operate: no focalization adjustments and no alignment.
On a different side, open tubes have a longer lifetime than sealed ones, as the tube can be opened and the main components easily replaced, especially the filament and the target. This type of tube can offer an almost unlimited lifetime. During preventive maintenance, when the system is equipped with an open tube, a large part of the intervention is focused on tube maintenance. If necessary, the service engineer opens the unit to clean the overall inside structure and replace the filament. The tube enclosure is carefully cleaned with special wipes and fully reassembled after cleaning. Then, the vacuum is launched. The service technician checks if the vacuum is made correctly and verifies cooler operations. Then, if necessary, a beam alignment can be done.
3. Electrical & safety testing
During preventive maintenance, the service technician performs a number of electrical tests. These tests include checking the good operation of all safety elements, such as safety interlocks, warning lamps and sensors. They also check the overall electrical cabinet to look for any defect and verify that all cable terminations are correctly tightened.
4. Mechanical testing
Once the electrical and safety tests are completed, the technician reviews the mechanics of the CT equipment. All the motion axes are checked and controlled, visually first and then in motion. The technician drives each axis to its home position and verifies that all crash limits are correctly set in X-Act software. The sensors, encoders and motors are checked and then all axes are cleaned and lubricated.
5. Operating test and calibration
The last step consists in making operating tests and calibration of the system. At the end of the visit, an inspection report of all the operations done on the system is delivered. The service report may also include the technician’s recommendations of replacement parts to keep the system running before the parts become defectives or unusable. This prevents the user to face longer downtime.
In addition, the technician gives the CT system user advice and recommendations to keep the X-ray system in good working conditions before the next maintenance visit. It helps prevent potential failures due to misusage of the equipment.