Most people know about X-rays in the context of medicine. Today, most X-ray technology has gone digital, and the field of digital radiography is used to capture images from inside the human body. They can help doctors analyze broken bones, diagnose tumors, and even look inside the human brain. In CAT scans, doctors combine thousands of these two-dimensional X-ray “slices” into a detailed 3D image.
However, many manufacturers, auto companies, scientists, and aerospace engineers now use industrial X-ray technology for inspection purposes. While the technology is similar to medical radiology, they are two completely separate fields.
Many companies have a need for non-destructive testing and 3D scanning services. Industrial X-rays are the best of both worlds. They allow scientists to look inside objects without damaging them, revealing hidden flaws in the process.
How long have industrial X-rays been in use?
Scientists have been using two-dimensional X-ray cross sections for inspection purposes for nearly 100 years. However, 3D scanning only became possible after the computer revolution. The first CAT scanners were installed in hospitals in 1974, but became widely used by the 1980s. During the same time, engineers discovered new applications for CT scanners.
Is industrial CT scanning and industrial X-ray inspection the same thing?
CT scanning stands for computed tomography, and it involves combining thousands of 2D X-ray slices to create a 3D model. As such, industrial CT scanning is a type of industrial X-ray technology. However, X-rays are also used in industry outside the use of CT scanners.
What types of industrial X-ray scanning are in use today?
In addition to CT scanning services, there are four main types of industrial X-ray inspection used today:
- 2D X-ray inspection: When a complete 3D model isn’t needed, two-dimensional cross sections can be used to identify internal failures in a part, just like a doctor can use an X-ray to find a fracture in your bones.
- Cross sectional X-ray inspection: this type of analysis is exactly what it sounds like. A cross section image is created at a predetermined spot in the part.
- Oblique X-ray analysis: In this test, a variety of 2D X-ray images are captured at a variety of angles, giving a variety of snapshots of the object’s structure.
- Real-time X-rays: Today, digital tools allow engineers to look inside an object while it’s in motion. This allows engineers to analyze objects as they pass through a production line.
Are industrial X-rays dangerous?
All X-rays carry some degree of radiation, but with the proper precautions no one should be exposed to a dangerous amount of radiation. The denser the object and the higher the resolution required, the more energy and radiation is needed to capture images.