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Quality Control for Aerospace Production Lines Improves

GE’s Inspection Technologies product line, a GE Measurement & Control business, today unveiled a new speed|scan atlineCT system. The system introduces high-speed, three-dimensional Computed Tomography for the inspection and stringent quality control of light metal castings and composite structures found across the aerospace sector.

GE’s new CT system leverages more than four decades of proven innovation and expertise in the healthcare industry to leapfrog conventional 3D CT inspection technology. It operates up to 200 times faster than traditional solutions. The high-speed system also offers important quality control features, including exact 3D defect location and classification, wall thickness analysis to allow dimensional control and actual computer-aided design data comparison. 

“GE’s new inspection system dramatically reduces scan times for an engine cylinder head from several hours with conventional fan beam CT to less than two minutes,” said Oliver Brunke, lead CT product manager for GE’s Inspection Technologies business. “For the first time ever, the full benefits of 100 percent 3D inspection can be realized on aerospace production lines. This innovation enables the early identification and correction of work piece form and size deviations and the detection and classification of foreign materials to significantly reduce reject rates.”
The modified GE medical scanner in speed|scan atlineCT system uses Helix multi-line technology. A gantry with an X-ray tube and corresponding multi-line X-ray detector rotates around the workpiece, which is being passed through the gantry on a conveyor belt. The workpieces are scanned at speeds of up to several centimeters per second and are automatically assessed with the aid of GE’s own speed-optimized evaluation algorithms. 
Inspection is carried out using a breakthrough workflow structure, loading the workpiece onto the conveyor belt of GE’s new system, which is placed adjacent to the production line. The continuous CT scan takes place while the software begins volume reconstruction and optimization. As soon as the workpiece is unloaded, a new one takes its place on the belt for scanning; simultaneously, 3D Automatic Defect Recognition is taking place on the first workpiece volume to allow rapid sentencing. The second and subsequent workpieces then follow the same procedure.
The new atlineCT inspection system can handle workpieces up to 300-by-400-by-800 millimeters in size and up to 50 kilograms in weight. The system’s robust design allows 24/7 continuous operation. Its containing cabinet is suitable for industrial environments with dust protection and thermal isolation. The radiation safety cabinet offers full protective installation and meets both the German RÖV standard and the US 21 CFR 1020.40 standard.
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