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CT bundles Methods of Quality Assurance
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Heidelberg, April 22nd, 2013. Today, industrial computed tomography solves quality inspection tasks for which in the past a whole array of technologies had been required. Not only does it reduce the need for inspection equipment, but CT also works considerably faster than conventional technologies. Moreover, it is ideally suited for automation concepts. At Control 2013, Volume Graphics will present the latest state of this technology.

The Heidelberg software developing company is now looking back on more than 15 years of experience in the development of solutions for the processing of computed tomography data (voxel data). Initially classed as a pure visualization tool, CT software today makes it possible to perform precise quantitative analyses. "The algorithms for surface determination available now give extremely accurate results, even for objects that are made of different materials and therefore have different x-ray permeabilities", explains Christof Reinhart, Chief Executive Officer of Volume Graphics. In many respects, the precision of the results is no way inferior to conventional technologies. This is true for both material- and geometry-related analyses (material testing and measurement tasks). Add to this the enormous advantage of a component becoming totally transparent, making areas accessible for examinations that remain hidden with other technologies, e.g.for defect or wall thickness analyses on castings.

With VGStudio MAX, defects such as pores and inclusions can be precisely identified with regard to their position and volume, including their statistical distribution. If required, this can also be done according to the conventional 2D method as defined in VDG rule P201/VW 50097. One of the available software modules reproduces the method according to this standard. There is only one difference as compared with the classical method: The analysis is performed non-destructively and without extensive preparation, thus saving a considerable amount of time and money.

The trend: Fiber composite materials

In many high tech are as of industry, fiber composite materials are "the next big thing". Volume Graphics has taken account of this development by implementing a "fiber composite material analysis" add-on module for VGStudio MAX. This module, too, supports quantitative analyses on the highest level. Both the orientation and the concentration of the fibers in relation to the surrounding matrix are available in concrete figures. Another special feature is the possibility to compare the resulting data with data from simulation tools (nominal-actual comparisons) or to use them as the basis for simulation.

The level of precision achieved using CT today becomes apparent especially when looking at measurement tasks. The software package from Heidelberg includes a comprehensive coordinate measurement solution for determining all dimensional values of a component including geometric dimensioning and tolerancing. The module is able to generate thousands of measurement points fully automatically within a very short period of time - a feat that no other technology can achieve. The algorithms used operate with sub-voxel precision, which reduces measurement uncertainty considerably. Many users from the areas of plastics and light metal casting have already verified that VG Studio MAX can be used as a measurement tool in connection with their CT systems and are already using the module, achieving considerable time savings.

Processing of native CAD data

For geometric analyses, another technological advantage of VGStudio MAX comes to bear: its integrated CAD kernel. With the current Version 2.2, it has become possible for the first time to import and process
native CAD data. Since mesh conversions are no longer necessary, nominal/actual comparisons become even more accurate. The imported CAD model can be used as a starting contour for a surface determination, saving extra computing time. Measurement plans (PMI Information) that the designers have already created on the CAD system can now be directly imported into the CT analysis software for fully automatic processing - again saving the engineers in the quality laboratory an enormous amount of time.

Another important basis for the automated operation of VGStudio MAX is its ability to record macros. Thus, even extensive analysis procedures can easily be reproduced. The program allows you to define specific program settings and measurement plans which can then be executed as many times as required. In addition, the batch processing option of the software allows large series of components to be efficiently analyzed without further operator intervention.

In its current version, another powerful instrument for complex automation scenarios has been added: the concept of evaluations. All analyses, whether material- or geometry-related, may be combined into a comprehensive inspection plan. The results of the various analyses can then be logically interconnected, enabling the software to make good/bad decisions and sort out rejects. "No automation concept would be complete, however, if we only considered the analysis side", says Christof Reinhart. "This is why we offer the possibility to interface any CT system with our software. Hardware and software can then communicate and control each other, as it will be necessary in future IN-line or AT-line concepts", he adds.

Volume Graphics will be showing all new features of VGStudio MAX at Control 2013, Stuttgart 14.-17. May: Hall 3, Stand 3232

Source: Volume Graphics

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