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February 9, 2017 | Gerim 2 offers X-ray tomography-based non-destructive testing

controle non destructif
© CEA/List

List, a CEA Tech institute, is investigating ways to increase the use of X-ray tomography in non-destructive testing (NDT). The institute’s Gerim 2 platform has a new robotic cell to help further this research.

X-ray tomography is a high-resolution imaging technique used for the non-destructive testing of sensitive parts. However, because the technique is difficult to implement, it had, until now, been used only to inspect small parts, due to the fact that the parts must be placed on a rotating platform between a fixed X-ray source and detector.

To use the technique on larger parts and, ultimately, right at the inspection site, List developed a new robotic inspection cell at its Gerim 2 platform. The cell’s major innovation is that the X-ray source and detector are no longer fixed. They are mounted on robotic arms, which move around the part being inspected, which remains fixed. “The main development here was advanced algorithms to reconstruct tomographic images generated by non-standard trajectories with limited viewing angles,” explained a List researcher. “We improved the trajectories and made sure that the effects of robot positioning errors on the 3D reconstruction were taken into account when assessing the cell’s performance.”

The trajectory simulation and 3D reconstruction developments achieved have all been integrated into List’s CIVA software and will be validated during a series of tests. Industrial R&D partners can access the resources of the Gerim 2 platform, which opened in March 2016 at Paris-Saclay, for their emerging robotized X-ray imaging R&D needs.