It is increasingly important for parts to be inspected as comprehensively and non-destructively as possible directly where they are produced. Advances in computed tomography (CT) system technology like more powerful X-ray sources and faster, more sensitive detectors have steadily reduced the amount of time that is required to acquire data of sufficient quality for analysis. Combined with automatic handling and loading systems it is often feasible to scan a large number of parts per day.
This enables true inline CT on the shop floor, where either all produced parts or a set number of samples each shift are analyzed by an integrated inspection system that is part of the production process chain. But fast computed tomography can also benefit in-house quality labs and service providers dealing with smaller batches of independent parts, which can usually be evaluated most efficiently in an automated way.
As acquisition time has decreased, the amount of information that can be retrieved via automated inspection has increased. Sophisticated metrology and analysis algorithms provide more insight into the quality and functionality of a part than ever before.
Integrating fast computed tomography (CT) data acquisition and inspection into an automated quality control process poses a number of challenges. Both acquisition and result data have to be efficiently handled to ensure a continuous flow of information through the system. An integrated inspection must work reliably and reproducibly across all scanned parts. At the same time, alterations must be possible to account for part revisions or changes in the production process.
To meet production cycle times for inline CT systems, solutions must scale well with required throughput and changing analysis times, while being robust enough to account for hardware maintenance or failure.
VGinLINE is a ready-to-use framework for inline inspection and automated quality control that can cover the whole process from reconstruction of the CT data to inspection, reporting, and manual review. Offered as a standard product, its modular architecture makes it easy to tailor it to specific scenarios.
VGinLINE relies on the advanced capabilities of VGSTUDIO MAX, which is also used to set up the analyses for individual parts. These analyses and any other required data like report configurations or reference models are combined into a single inspection plan—the VGinLINE job. Jobs can be moved freely between VGinLINE and VGSTUDIO MAX, making initial setup and later adaptation a painless process. Since jobs encapsulate everything required for a specific inspection, they can also be easily archived or shared between different production lines and sites.
The VGinLINE system will automatically apply these jobs as soon as new scan data are available. Results can be stored completely, presented as reports, or made available to quality specialists for manual review. Additionally, stable interfaces and export file formats allow connecting with subsequent systems for handling or statistical process control. All of this can be scaled up seamlessly from a single workstation to a whole number of systems to adapt to the desired cycle time and throughput.
Volume Graphics provides users looking to automate their inspection process with a ready-to-use solution that is both fast and flexible: