Quality Innovations: Built for NDT
October 28, 2009
A new computed radiography system from Carestream Health (Rochester, NY) is designed and built specifically for nondestructive testing (NDT), not repurposed from healthcare equipment.
Keeping in mind the harsh environments found in NDT, from pipeline inspection to the shop floor, Carestream subjected the Kodak Industrex HPX-1 digital system to multiple drop and vibration tests to make sure that it would work in industrial environments.
“A lot of the systems out there are basically medical systems that have been altered,” says Janet M. Sherin, worldwide NDT digital product line manager. “This is built for NDT.”
While traditional silver halide film and chemical systems had long been the only option for radiographers, today’s NDT technicians have a choice of filmless digital systems that can offer a number of potential advantages and savings, says Steve Mango, worldwide technical manager. Among these choices is computed radiography (CR), a state-of-the-art technology using photostimulable phosphors on a flexible support. These imaging plates store radiographic latent images that, upon subsequent irradiation with a red laser, are extracted, reconstructed and exploited in the digital workspace.
“The advantages of flexible storage phosphor plates over conventional film systems are twofold: the inherent cost savings and productivity gains, as well as improved quality, accuracy and timeliness of radiographic inspections, and the ease in subsequent management of those images and information,” Mango says.
The HPX-1 also has the capability to handle long plates, short plates, rigid cassettes and flexible plates all in a single system, which boosts output.
In addition, its positive pressure cabinet has multiple fans and filters that maintain internal air pressure to keep dust, debris and unfiltered air out of the system-the first system of its kind to have this in place. It also is able to work in subdued room light.
The company launched its first digital NDT product about five years ago, and since then has been collecting information from dealers and operators, looking at a variety of applications to further define customers’ needs and wants. After visiting customer sites, engineers came back with more ideas on how to meet those needs-and incorporated more than 300 customer ideas into the new system. “It really hit home once they saw real applications,” Sherin says.
“In 2004, when we first launched CR, it fit quite a bit of the market, but not the entire market,” says Mango. “What we’ve done is specifically designed a machine that would fit a large portion of the NDT market, with image quality improvements and work flow improvements.”
“Image quality is the big leap from where we were,” Sherin says. With pixel pitch down to 25 microns, “the image quality improvement is noticeable,” she says.
As might be expected, the product is not the best fit for applications that need extreme portability or those that do not require high-quality images. The system is designed for high-quality images, and while it is transportable, operators are not going to throw it into a briefcase.
The system is completely preloaded and preconfigured in the factory. To set up, the operator simply plugs in three cables and flips the switch, though Carestream staff are on hand to help with questions and free training. Since Carestream manufactures all parts of the product, customers will have a continuous supply of plates.
In addition, the new system includes a major re-release of the software, which is now specifically designed to run the HPX-1. Carestream offers a standard and laptop version of the product, which costs about $100,000, depending on the configuration.
The technical team worked on the product for about 1.5 years, with a gradual transition from gathering requirements and an engineering model, to actually making production units. The product began shipping at the end of the September.
For more information, contact:
Carestream Health Inc.
1049 West Ridge Rd.
Rochester, NY 14615
- - Provides maximum material coverage in a single shot
- Reduces multi-film shots to a single CR exposure
- - Use flex cassettes and plates in subdued light loading
- Use rigid cassettes in normal room light
- - Fast and effective high intensity erase based on maximum exposure received
- - ITE standards
- ASTM and EN CR System standards
- Class 1 Laser Product per IEC60825-1