Nondestructive Micro-CT Inspection of Additive Parts: How to Beat the Bottlenecks
Micro computed tomography (microCT) is widely in use for the inspection of additively manufactured parts. The main use of the technique is to detect unwanted voids inside the part. However, the ability to detect these kind of defects is strongly affected by image quality, which is often directly related to the scan time. Selecting fast scan settings (e.g. 5 minutes per part) can work for many situations where major flaws need to be identified (such as large unmelted cavities), but this may result in the missing of critical defects which are smaller, such as clustered metallurgical pores or chains of fine voids between layers or tracks caused lack of fusion . An important defect type which can be missed by fast scanning is small inclusions also. Possible ways of overcoming this problem are discussed. After scanning, image analysis requires computing power, time and skilled human interface for proper analysis. Reduction of the image analysis workflow is possible using semi-automated analyses and the data size can be reduced using simple methods, including removal of unwanted data outside the object, 8-bit data size and even .STL format outputs in some cases. In this paper all the above is discussed in relation to reducing the bottlenecks (problems causing delays in getting results and slowing the workflow) often associated with microCT.