5 Considerations Before Hiring An Industrial CT Scanning Company

Learn how to spot the difference between a "scan house" and a value-add industrial computed tomography partner.

Victoria Russman
Victoria Russman

You have an object that needs scanning. You need to analyze, interrogate, look for problem areas, or reverse engineer your part. You've heard of computed tomography, but need to find out more about it before hiring an industrial CT scanning company. Read on to learn about the things you should be looking for when hiring a lab for these services.

1. What Are Your Requirements?

First, you need to determine the intended use of the scan data. Industrial CT scanning can provide you with high-precision, internal and external visualization. Here are some of the applications and deliverables of industrial computed tomography (CT) scanning services:

  • Failure analysis
  • Flaw detection
  • Porosity
  • Metrology
  • Wall thickness analysis
  • Assembly analysis
  • Reverse engineering
  • STL
  • Layout
  • Color map

Color mp example with deviation color scale
Colormap example with deviation color scale.

Layout example of demo block
Layout example of a demo block.

Knowing these details will help the industrial ct scanning company you choose cater your project for cost-efficiency and quality. If you cannot pinpoint your specific requirements, this is where the lab should engage with you and decipher what you need. They should talk about tolerance expectations, material types, geometries, etc. in order to serve you better.

2. Optimizing Scans

Optimizing scans for specific outcomes often requires consideration of trade-offs. Improved resolution will sometimes come at the cost of quality of images. For example, if the industrial computed tomography company understands your outcome needs, they should bias the scan based on those needs. In turn they will be able to optimize the service. You won't overpay and you get the best results in the most efficient way. Make sure you inquire about how the lab will deliver optimized service specific to your project.

3. Proven Measurement Uncertainty

Does the industrial CT scanning company provide reports of proven measurement uncertainty? The best way to know is to make sure the lab you hire has a robust and accredited quality management system. This allows for contract review, final inspection, and proven measurement uncertainty. Uncertainty is the component of a reported value that characterizes the range of values within which the true value is asserted to lie. It addresses error from all possible effects and is the most appropriate means of expressing the accuracy.

Any major industry with critical application parts is regulated and accreditation is a requirement. It should not be treated as just a piece of paper. The accreditation body must be reliable. Not all auditors are the same. Nel PreTech uses A2LA because with the evaluation of uncertainty, they align their auditors who have skill sets within the industry. A robust process is not only scalable, but it is something that customers will benefit from in the end. The end result will be high quality work with low incidences of mistakes or misinterpretations. This is because things are getting reviewed at the quote stage, when parts arrive, and before product is delivered. If you run into a CT scanning lab that makes a lot of mistakes, they are likely not utilizing all the parts of their quality management system.

4. Experience Relative to What You Do

Whether you are in plastics, medical devices, or something more specific, look for an industrial computed tomography company that can draw on their library of relevant experiences in your industry. They should speak the same industrial language. It helps if they are familiar with issues relative to the materials, product type, or usages you have. Having these experiences to draw on will allow them to take a more consultative approach with your project. Don't just settle for a "scan house", set your expectations from the start with an industrial CT scanning company who will engage, be accessible, and offer expert customer service.

5. Background of People They Employ

Some labs jump into industrial CT scanning without prior knowledge or training. With computed tomography there are a lot of nuances. There are many ways to conduct a scan and produce images that are NOT accurate. A good CT company will understand the combinations of parameters to get an accurate scan based on:

  • material types
  • size of parts
  • densities
  • resolutions
  • currents
  • volts
  • pre-filters
  • fixturing methods
  • post-processing techniques

Look for a lab that employs industrial CT specialists who have backgrounds in physics or have x-ray expertise. They will be best equipped for getting the best quality scans using the parameters mentioned above.

In conclusion, you are looking for a quality, industrial computed tomography (ct) company for your important manufactured parts. You wouldn't be reading this article if you weren't. Industrial CT scanning is an x-ray based technique whose outcome is subject to how x-rays behave relative to many different variables. Scan quality and the sources of the uncertainty can come from operator, machine, and/or processing/measurement software. Industrial computed tomography by Nel PreTech Corporation is a whole system. We are the leading subject matter experts and strive to become trusted consultants for our clients.

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