Professional Film Digitizing Services and Equipment for NDT

NDTThe use of industrial X-rays for non-destructive testing enables a thorough evaluation of products and components without damage. This is a valuable technology for evaluation, troubleshooting, research, and quality control in science and industry.Traditionally, manufacturing has used X-ray examination to: 

  • Verify that hidden components are present and connected properly
  • Find cracks, voids, or other flaws in assembled products
  • Verify weld integrity
  • Guide a robot for assembly
  • Count the number of welds, teeth, slots, or other such features
  • Perform a critical dimensional measurement
  • Communicate with 3rd party equipment such as robots, PLCs, HMIs, and remote storage

X-rays have enabled all of this, plus they have had the added benefit of being able to be used in the field with portable x-ray machines.

Today, however, the aerospace industry has led the way, and other industrial manufacturing is following using digital radiology for NDT. Digital radiography helps companies to implement continuous product improvement as well as improved inspection efficiency, productivity and profit margins.

How to Solve the Film Problem when you Convert to Digital NDT

Failure to address the handling of prior analog film-is a common mistake made by organizations when transitioning to digital imaging. Reviewing prior studies is critical for good decision-making and product development. Aerospace and manufacturing companies will need to handle prior film for many years in order to maintain existing products and components, as well as to improve design going forward.

However, when a company deploys an image management system that does not include a viable plan for handling these prior films, a workflow is disrupted and costs increase. Over time, these costs rise well above the cost of a film digitizer. Having never gone through the transition before, some facilities think they will only need to deal with analog film for a few months or don’t think it’s important to digitize prior films. However, while the need to access some types of prior films from an archive may decrease over time, other original films associated with long-life products or structures must be retained and used by the company for many years. The analog film also will continue to come in from outside sources who provide components and parts.

The bottom line is that aerospace facilities and other manufacturers will need to deal with analog film far longer than they may think and certainly longer than a few months. In addition, comparing analog films on a light box with digital studies on a computer monitor is cumbersome and difficult for NDT technicians and lowers the standard control.

For a technician, just one analog film a day can create significant workflow and product review challenges. As a result, incorporating an NDT film digitizing service or an NDT film digitizer into digital planning will ensure that these problems don’t negatively impact an organization.

Radiograph Film Digitization Technology

The U.S.A. National Archives lists X-Ray film as one of the most fragile documents to store. Because of their properties, X-Ray Films must be preserved under strict temperature and humidity controls. Some X-Rays are Nitrate based which means they are extremely flammable. The introduction of radiograph film digitization into aerospace, manufacturing, construction, industrial projects, and plants ensures that these organizations have electronic records in permanent archives.

Key Benefits of NDT Film Digitizing:

  • Eliminates aging of films, retaining image quality
  • Physical archive storage to the computer or Diconde Cloud
  • Associated documents such as UT, MPI and associated reports can also be archived
  • Radiographs can be electronically reported and archived
  • With Diconde Cloud, information is available to authorized users 24/7 from any Internet browser
  • Eliminates storage costs of film

How to Get Started

The first step in converting your NDT X-ray film to digital is determining whether to purchase an NDT film digitizer and if so, which one; or whether to use our NDT film digitizing service. Our NDT digitizing experts can help you decide.

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How 3D CAD Helps with NDT

Radiography is used extensively in non-destructive testing (NDT) in order to detect defects in objects like oil pipes and gas pipes; in weld inspection for aerospace; in manufacturing and in many other industries that need to examine internal structures that cannot be seen with the naked eye.  Radiography is often accompanied by ultrasonic examination, and the image that is generated by ultrasonic examination is compared to the radiographic image.  This method provides not only location detection of the defect, but also material analysis, and can help determine how the defect will affect the component over time. 

Powerful Visualization

In order to make this comparison, the radiographic film is digitized and then converted using 2D and 3D CAD techniques to build a model and compared to the density models generated by the ultrasound.  By combining the data analysis from the various models that are generated, 3D CAD lets technicians rotate the model, slice the model and manipulate it in a variety of ways to determine the relative strength and/or weakness of the internal structure.

This type of 3D CAD model visualization is a powerful tool that can simulate problems and also aide in real-time processing.  Tools such as edge detection, boundary representation and shape classification help technicians as they visualize the model and identify potential problems.

The combination of both radiography and ultrasonic technologies enables more extended imaging features than the use of one technology alone.  The radiography provides the image details while the ultrasonic NDT of materials produces a more detailed characterization of sizing and position of the defect.

By combining the 2D defect geometry from the radiograms within a 3D model that is generated by ultrasound, not only is the location of the defect pinpointed, but also the geometry of the tested material is included to help determine porosity, density and another tensile strength attribute that may affect the response of the defect.  (I.e., will the pipe crack more quickly because the pipe material around a hairline crack has begun to deteriorate.)

Best Practices and Safety

This kind of 3D imaging can help companies determine the urgency of repair in order to prioritize repair orders and enable a more orderly system of ongoing maintenance, whether the product being examined is a pipeline, a machine part or an airplane wing.  Some more esoteric examination methods may even use 3D animation to observe expected outcomes of repair, vs. replace.

The combination of NDT technologies, of various types, with CAD modeling, plays an increasingly important role in establishing the reliability and safety of various components.  By using 3D CAD and various NDT technologies that enable technicians to work with virtual representations of nearly any object, they are able to recommend best practices going forward for maintaining component safety.

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