New industrial possibilities through CT scanning

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CT-scanning is the new generation of measuring devices for advanced 3D industrial purposes. The technology is mainly known from the health care sector, but CT-scanning is increasingly becoming the favoured tool in industry for a number of purposes related to product development, processing and product usability. To propel industrial CT-scanning and provide front-end research result DTU Mechanical Engineering and a number of partners established "Center for Industrial Application of CT scanning - CIA CT: Advanced 3D scanning measurement, quality assurance and product development in industry". The center is headed by DTU Mechanical Engineering and co-financed by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

A new industrial approach

The center and the projects arising from the initiative will be of significant importance in many enterprises. Among the immediate beneficiaries are iron and mechanical engineering industry, pharmaceuticals, electronics, food industry and construction industry but CT scanning is also relevant for other branches.  

The industrial counterparts in the consortium are the two large companies Novo Nordisk and Danish Meat Research Institute and two medium businesses Yxlon and Deformalyze. However a number of additional companies have already expressed specific interest to follow the consortium activities on CT scan. Among these are 3Shape, Construction and Environmental Engineering, Danish Crown, Danish Construction, Danish Sintermetal, Grundfos, Haldor Topsøe, InnospeXion, Kirk Holm, Lego, Noliac, Rockwool, Struer, Tican, Trelleborg and Zebicon. It is estimated that involved producing companies in the consortium and the interest group representing an annual turnover of approx. 2-300 billion DKK.

Professor Leonardo De Chiffre, DTU Mechanical Engineering is appointed as consortium manager and he is responsible to the Ministry of Science. Leonardo is very confident that CT-scanning will have a large impact on the innovation and competitiveness on an even larger number of Danish companies. He explains: “A tool such as the Novo pen used for injection of insulin by diabetes patients is a very complex product made up by several very tiny elements and a variety of different materials. CT-scanning makes it straightforward to perform a detailed analysis of such a product and perhaps reveal future improvement possibilities. Thus CT-scanning can help reduce product development time through the techniques’ ability to influence the design in very early stage. And the method can be applied and useful in most industrial areas and will lead to overall improvements in community conditions”. 

 

Research towards industry

CT scanning allows revolutionary opportunities but the technology is not yet fully developed. Some of the remaining problems are associated with achievable accuracy, traceability, robustness and usability, especially when it comes to industrial products with close tolerances. For this reason Leonardo De Chiffre is convinced that the main priority of the research of the project should be focused on the industrial applications of the technique: “Our research will develop new methods, auxiliaries’ hardware of calibration, algorithms, software etc. which can help make CT scan an advanced equipment for coordinate measurement in manufacturing. It can also solve extreme problems with computer speeds and apply CT scanning to food production.”

Thanks to CT scanning, industry has the opportunity to see inside the products in development and production. Entirely new possibilities in terms of sources of beam and signal conditioning will arise and provide new perspectives for investigation of material such as biological tissues and composites. Researchers at the Center for Industrial Application of CT scanning will help solving issues related to quality assurance and automation and work towards establishing traceability (procedures, standards, uncertainty budgets) in different materials such as metals, plastics, meat, etc.

 

Leonardo De Chiffre summarize: “Several issues, which we will work within the project, are expected to lead to publications in international journals, including development of methods for CT scan with micrometer resolution in manufacturing, methods for achieving the extremely high computational rates as the basis of CT scan in food production and research on new sources and methods for signal conditioning as a basis for detailed analysis in biological tissue.”