Using X-Ray Scanning to Detect Quality Issues Early

Have you ever wondered about how modern science in today’s industries safeguard our lives? This article takes a closer look at nondestructive testing and how it helps in that process by utilizing industrial digital X-ray scanning for early detection to gage integrity and quality.

iNSIght Ep. 1 - X-ray Inspection of Small Batteries

X-ray Imaging

It is an Application Engineers job to help customers solve their quality issues as fast as possible. Customers send their samples and X-ray imaging is used to look at the inside of the samples without destroying them. These scans are similar to an X-ray or CAT scan you would get at a doctor’s office, but they use a different technology to an MRI.

The key difference is that this technology is not intended for use on humans. Very small samples can be scanned, such as a tiny battery at single digit micron resolution or a very large sample at lower resolution. A potentially faulty small battery is examined below, plus the reasons to take a closer look inside the part.

Importance of Damage Detection in Batteries

Batteries are employed in numerous markets from medical devices to aerospace. A battery such as this has some visible damage. The case looks swollen and has a dome shape to it, and that’s not something you want to see in a quality product. There is potentially a larger problem inside the battery which is causing it to expand.

If the damage to this battery is not detected, the battery could potentially be installed in a pacemaker and implanted inside a human being. It could have lethal results if a battery were to burst or leak in an implanted device, a quality X-ray scan could save a life.

Imaging and Scanning Techniques at NSI

NSI can perform 2D X-ray imaging, 3D scanning and 4D scanning. The 2D imaging is like an X-ray carried out at a doctor’s office for a broken bone where the internals of the sample are projected onto one image on top of each other.

During a 3D CT Scan, the part is placed into the machine and rotated 360 degrees to obtain thousands of images. These can be reconstructed to create a 3D model of the part that can be sliced through and manipulated in 3D.

The 4D scan is a 3D CT scan with an extra dimension of time, so how the sample changes in 3D over time can be observed. Usually, a scan takes around an hour, but a sample like this can be scanned in as little as a few seconds depending upon the requirements of the user.

For the best results, the battery is moved closer to the X-ray source to attain a higher resolution scan which results in a resolution of about 4 microns. As the machine rotates the part 360 degrees, it will gather 1440 images of the battery which will then be reconstructed using the NSI software into a 3D model.

Below is the 3D reconstruction of the battery, the object can be manipulated in 3D, rotated, flipped, spun, and sliced through from a number of orientations. Carrying out this scan aids in answering the initial question about the problems seen with this faulty battery. In this image it can be seen that the battery elements have fractured and expanded which has caused the case to bulge out, forming the dome structure present on the outside of the battery.

X-ray Scan of a Damaged Battery


If this issue was discovered by a manufacturer in production, safety of the product would need to be confirmed. A batch process to substantially reduce the amount of time it takes to do a multi part scan has been created for this reason, and now thousands of these can be processed with a fast turnaround time.

High Volume Production CT Scanning of Batteries

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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