Fully Automated Digital Radiography – Integrating Robotics and CT Equipment

The recent robotiX development of North Star Imaging integrates the proven technology of industrial robots into the standard line of Computed Tomography (CT) and Digital Radiography (DR) equipment.

This development aims to enhance system automation as well as integrate flexibility for the user.

robotiX – Automation for X-ray Inspection

Products currently offered include the robotiX manipulator and robotiX part loader. While the robotiX part loader automates part handling of a product for loading and unloading the system, the robotiX manipulator integrates a robot to pick the inspection component from a batch and manipulate the component between the detector and X-ray source for scanning.

These technologies create a repeatable and reliable process which is incorporated into NSI efX-DR production module so as to streamline the production process and improve part traceability and serialization in manufacturing workflow.

These developments have been established as a result of the increasing demand by NSI customers for automation driven by the growing use of CT and DR as a quality tool in the production environment.

As this trend progresses, integration into the manufacturing process is becoming essential as manufacturers shift their quality needs for an increased volume of nondestructive inspection. Casting analysis, additive manufacturing, 3D analysis of composite structures, compound aerospace turbine components and weld inspection of complex 3 dimensional geometries are specific applications considered during development.

robotiX is exclusively developed to offer an intuitive user-interface which can be employed in a wide range of applications. These applications range from medium-volume production to dedicated-use scanning scenarios and research and development circumstances in which an extensive range of inspections are required for components that are changing frequently.

This is achieved using integrated production tools which enable component data to be automatically imported, processed and assigned to the related inspection results. Using customers’ input based on their existing manufacturing processes, this interface has been designed to provide increased customer performance and quick response.

Pre-Defined Workflow

To support a broad product mix and simplify changeover, scanning parameters may be simply configured by employing a pre-defined workflow which breaks down each step in the process down to reusable subroutines. Following which, these subroutines can be reprocessed in the creation of further inspection programs to eliminate wasted time programming and enhance process flexibility.

The system is specifically developed for automated component serialization data transfer on a batch or lot basis to prevent the need to interrupt the existing process used for manufacturing. This translates into a detailed recipe which defines each step required to produce the full complement of component data. This scheme is specifically developed to simplify changeover to support an extensive product mix.

Available as an option, robotiX can be included in standard models. For additional flexibility at the product level, robotiX has also been developed with an accompanying adaptable and modular radiation enclosure platform.

Customers have an option to choose both the appropriate radiation shielding energy level and a configurable size in the height, width and length dimensions. robotiX incorporates the industry’s widest range of available industrial robots from FANUC to support the extensive range of applications. Expansive payload and reach options expand the product offering to customize each system to individual customer requirements.

robotiX Part Loading Module

Lastly, for ease of integration, the robotiX part loading module has been exclusively designed using a fenceless system enabling the user to interact with the system effortlessly while maintaining strict compliance to the requirements of relevant robotic safety standards. Area scanners and collaborative robots are the standard safety options.

While the collaborative robots control the robot force and speed to prevent work cell hazards, the area scanner monitors separation and speed to ensure that the work cell is clear when the robot is in use.

With continued focus on critical manufacturing metrics such as yield, throughput and cycle time, being applied to all aspects of the production process, including component inspection and quality control, the need for expanding the scope of automation will keep on growing.

North Star Imaging is committed to developing standard modules and systems such as robotiX based on customer input and feedback in order to continue to provide solutions as demands arise in the marketplace. Customers can check back to see further developments associated with robotiX and automation and contact North Star Imaging regarding its various product offerings to meet their requirements.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by North Star Imaging, Inc.

For more information on this source, please visit North Star Imaging, Inc.


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