Industrial X-Ray Inspection

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Similar to the way in which radiography is used clinically for the identification of breaks or cracks in a patient’s bone(s), manufacturers utilize this method to identify cracks or flaws within their materials. Solid materials that can be analyzed by industrial X-ray technology include metals, plastics, composites, silicone and rubber.

Some applications of industrial radiography include the inspection of gas and oil pipelines, metal welding and boilers, as well as both vehicle and aircraft parts.

This nondestructive testing method completely eliminates the possibility of causing harm or complete destruction to the test object, which is an impressive advantage over inspection methods that are often used within the industry.

Industrial X-ray inspection begins by pointing a beam of X-rays, or even gamma rays, to the item to be tested. A detector is placed on the opposite side of material so that it directly opposes the penetrated X-ray beam to record the X-rays as they pass through the material1.

Cracks or flaws that are present within a material are thinner than its surrounding material; therefore, more X-rays will pass through the damaged area to form an image illustrating the exact location and size of the crack.

Before a particular industry can integrate X-ray inspection technology into their evaluation processes, a number of preliminary steps must be taken in order to ensure that the industry is choosing the best possible equipment for their specific needs. Such metrics include:

  • What are the targets for the industry?: Understanding the quality requirements of the X-ray technology according to the needs of the industry are imperative to understand prior to investing in new equipment. Such parameters include the tested objects’ dimensions, material properties, dimension of the smallest possible defects and company standards to be met during inspection processes.
  • What solution providers are best for the industrial needs?: The best possible way in which an industry can ensure that they are making the best decision for their industry is to request quotes from various different suppliers that have a history of good quality inspection systems. Other factors to consider prior to investing in new equipment include the complexity of the software, hardware and safety requirements associated with the X-ray equipment.
  • Can this potential supplier provide the industry sector with a concept case study?: A concept case study is typically offered by suppliers, free of cost, to prospective industries as a way to provide verification on how the X-ray equipment is capable of achieving the given requirements to fulfill the industry’s needs2.

A variety of manufacturers have expanded their technologies by adapting X-ray technology for industrial purposes. NSI Inspection Services Group, for example, offers both two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) digital radiography inspection systems that have found useful implementation in medical device, automotive, aerospace, defense, and manufacturing industries. Some of their products include:

  • ImagiX: As the most compact system offered by NSI Inspection Services Group, ImagiX can be configured as a single desktop unit or on its own, handling products up to 5” in size. Ideal for laboratories, as well as research and development projects, ImagiX utilizes a powerful software that has significantly improved the speed and precision of this imaging technology as compared to its competitors.
  • X25: Well suited for the inspection of submicron X-Ray and CT applications, the X25 is a transportable unit that is equipped with both X-Ray and CT software to allow for high performance image processing.
  • X5500: The X5500 is a standalone manipulator capable of inspecting test objects on its loading dock, all the while maintaining a unique sensitivity to miniscule cracks or breaks in its tested objects3.

Image Credit:



  1. “Industrial Radiography” – The United States Environmental Protection Agency
  2. the way
  3. “The NDT Technician” – TNT
  4. “2D X Ray Digital Radiography and 3D X ray Inspection Systems” – NSI Inspection Services Group

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Benedette Cuffari

Written by

Benedette Cuffari

After completing her Bachelor of Science in Toxicology with two minors in Spanish and Chemistry in 2016, Benedette continued her studies to complete her Master of Science in Toxicology in May of 2018. During graduate school, Benedette investigated the dermatotoxicity of mechlorethamine and bendamustine; two nitrogen mustard alkylating agents that are used in anticancer therapy.


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