CT Metrology

Technician Carrying Sample to CT Chamber for Metrology Analysis
CT, Industrial Applications, and Metrology Capabilities
Applied Technical Services offers unparalleled volumetric measuring capabilities to our clients by performing CT metrology scans. Also known as computed tomography, CT represents an exciting new testing method due to the amount of information gleaned from a single scan. Although its developers pioneered this technology for its invaluable medical applications — namely, its ability to help doctors detect a variety of unseen ailments such as internal bleeding or cancerous tumors — testing services like ATS increasingly offer this method to their clients for industrial uses.
One of the most in-demand purposes that CT can fulfill is metrology. Metrology, as it applies to production and industry, is measuring a sample component or assembly to verify that it complies with the specifications of its original design (within an acceptable margin of error, called tolerance). By confirming a given sample’s precise dimensions and comparing against a design document like a drawing or CAD model, manufacturers can either determine that the components they mass produce come out the same every time or adjust their production process to achieve part uniformity.
The metrology process can play a role in several industrial applications to which CT is naturally suited, including:
  • First Article Inspections: a comprehensive assessment of the first unit to judge its compliance with design specifications. While the overall inspection can include several other areas of investigation, including mechanical characteristics and material composition, the largest concern of the average first article inspection is a dimensional layout — a metrology process that measures every surface and the distance between every feature and a respective point of reference
  • Quality Control: using metrology to ensure that parts meet the standard tolerance allowed by their design specifications increases the final product’s performance, improves customer reception, and maintains compliance with industry standards and regulations
  • Reverse Engineering: the process of deriving a set of design specifications from an existing master unit. One of the most important aspects of recreating the design of a product is to reflect all its critical measurements as precisely as possible using a trusted method of metrology
CT can serve in each of these pursuits due to its impressive imaging capabilities and applications in metrology. Although a Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) proves more appropriate in certain circumstances, ATS recognizes that CT delivers unmatched versatility among product validation methods.
How We Use CT to Perform Metrology Services
Because the underlying technology descends from radiography, CT serves as an advanced imaging method that depicts the interior of a subject as if it had been bisected. The difference between CT and its predecessor is that, instead of a 2D image, CT yields a 3D X-Rayed model that technicians can easily analyze and manipulate. This high-resolution view is the product of several thousand tomograms (also known as slices) taken of the subject from every conceivable angle, tilt, and rotation during a given scan. Our technicians compile these individual images into a voxel-based point cloud — a 3D model that they can convert into a CAD file.
Due to the richness of its source data, technicians use this model to perform their measurements. Working with a non-physical object offers them several advantages when performing a dimensional inspection. ATS technicians can, for instance, measure the distance between any two points in the model, or even to any reference point they designate outside the point cloud itself. Furthermore, because the model is made up of several thousand distinct X-Rayed images, they have access to interior surfaces that other metrology methods cannot assess nondestructively. This set of advantages makes CT not only more relevant than CMM for examining additively manufactured components, but essentially required. These parts can feature complex internal geometries integral to their function, which cannot be nondestructively measured without CT.
Our Equipment and Testing Capabilities
Staffed by skilled technicians experienced in scanning client samples with ATS’ up-to-date imaging tools, our CT labs use the following instrumentation to achieve high-resolution models and precise measurements:
  • Zeiss Metrotom 1500, with a 225kV micro-focus
  • Annual A2LA calibration
  • Certified to accuracy within 4.5 microns
  • Chamber fits specimens up to 11.75 in (300mm) in diameter x 23.6 in (600mm) high. 50 kg (110 lb) weight limit.
  • Northstar Imaging X5000
  • Multi-Axis Manipulator (x, z, tilt, rotation), capable of supporting max 250 lb
  • Resolution of manipulator angle is 0.001°
  • Capture elongated subjects unable to fit within a single exposure by scanning with a spiral acquisition
  • Minifocus 450kV X-ray projector (0.016” Focal spot at 3mA)
  • Dual energy capability with 225kV Microfocus X-ray Projector
  • Can achieve focal size as low as 0.0002” (based on voltage)
Beyond its applications in metrology, a comprehensive CT scan can also serve in the following capacities:
  • Nondestructive Testing
  • Thickness Measurements
  • Flaw Identification
  • Forensic Investigations
ATS: An Experienced CT Metrology Provider
Since our founding in 1967, Applied Technical Services has delivered testing, inspection, and consulting engineering capabilities of the highest quality. In the intervening 50+ years, we have grown significantly; what started as a group of three engineers helping local businesses out of our founder’s basement has since expanded into a multidisciplinary firm employing a band of several hundred technicians, scientists, chemists, Professional Engineers, calibrators, inspectors, and investigators to serve clients operating in countries around the world.
In addition to its utility for the additive manufacturing industry, ATS’ CT metrology capabilities serve the following fields as well:
  • Automotive
  • Aerospace/Aircraft
  • Defense/Military
  • Conventional Manufacturing
  • Insurance/Legal
  • Healthcare/Medical
  • Power Generation
  • Nuclear
  • Renewable Energy
Our Dedication to Quality
ATS’ expert technicians perform each of our CT scanning services in compliance with our ISO 9001-registered quality management system. We do so to maintain accountability to our clients for the consistent quality of our services. By following the precepts explained in the internationally recognized standard outlining effective quality management practices, ATS set the groundwork to continually improve the quality of our services.
We take several steps to ensure our clients enjoy the best experience possible while working with ATS. They include the following:
  • Technicians return accurate, clear, detailed reporting within a quick turnaround window
  • Customer relationship specialists facilitate contact with relevant testing personnel when clients reach out with questions regarding the status or results of their testing
  • Lab staff remains accessible to client outreach, responsive to their needs, and engaged while helping them secure a solution to their problems
If your company needs the services of an industrial metrology expert, contact ATS today — with the help of our CT imaging capabilities, we take a closer look!

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