Computerized Tomography, better known as CT scanning, has been such a breakthrough for such a wide number of fields that its inventors were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. That’s not a typo, they actually won the Nobel Peace Prize for their contributions to both science and medicine.
CT scanners combine multiple 2D X-ray “slices” into a 3D model, and modern day 3D scanning services are used by doctors, engineers, researchers, and scientists.
The first CT scanners, developed by British engineer Godfrey Hounsfield and South African-born physicist Allan Cormack, took several hours just to take one single X-ray slice. Not only that, but it would then take days just to compile all that data into a single image. Fortunately for the scientists of today, the best CT scanners can now capture four slices of data in just 350 milliseconds and will create a 512 x 512 matrix image from millions of data points in under one second.
Of course, most industrial CT scanning inspection services don’t run quite that fast, just like Hollywood directors don’t use high-speed cameras for every shot. On average, 3D scanning services that utilize 3D scanning technology can take X-rays at a rate of 30 frames per second.
What Are CT Scanners Used For Today?
In medicine, this technology is called a CAT scan, and it’s used for a huge number of diagnostic tests. However, this technology is also regularly used by industrial quality engineers to conduct a number of analyses. When manufacturers need to test or inspect a part, they often rely on 3D scanning services that use industrial CT scanning.
First article testing is one such analysis, and it’s estimated that the industrial CT scanning process can save 25 to 75% on first article testing costs compared to alternative technology. Quality engineers can compare a manufactured part to thousands of Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing data points to ensure that the part meets all important specifications.
Often, 3D scanning services are also employed to perform reverse engineering. Because CT scanning is a form of non-destructive testing, it’s become a popular method for reverse engineering analysis. Other methods can result in the destruction of the part being inspected.
When inspectors only need to analyze the external surfaces of a part, they’re more likely to utilize 3D laser scanning services instead. However, when it’s necessary to look inside an object without breaking it, industrial CT scanning is fast becoming the go-to inspection method of choice.