Industrial computed tomography (CT) has come a long way in a very short amount of time. It is getting better and better. Just a few years ago, it took several hours to generate just a few single CT slices. Today, it takes just a few seconds to reconstruct complete 3D models with billions of voxels. The possibilities are almost endless. A number of new applications are now possible in a number of different industries. Now, 3D scanning companies can deliver 3D reverse engineering, 3D metrology, rapid prototyping and much more.
How is 3D scanning accomplished? This is done using industrial CT scanning technology. CT (or ‘computerized axial tomography’ (CAT) scan) takes multiple x-rays of an object, person or animal. A computer then takes those x-ray images and turns them into images on a monitor. The process of creating a 2 dimensional picture from a section or slice through a 3 dimensional object, person or animal. This is what 3D scanning companies do.
The CT technology is relatively new. It was invented by the scientific duo, British engineer Godfrey Hounsfield of EMI Laboratories, England and by South African-born physicist Allan Cormack of Tufts University, Massachusetts in 1972. They would go on to win the Nobel Prize for Science and Medicine. Their contributions to both are more far reaching than they ever could have imagined.
To give you an idea of how quickly this has advanced, it is important to know where it started. It took at least a few hours to get the raw data for one single “slice” and then an additional several days to create a single image from that raw data. This is not meant to diminish the groundbreaking work Hounsfield did to develop the first CT scanner that accomplished this but today CT scanners are multi-slice machines. They can collect four slices of data in approximately 350 ms. It takes less than a second to create a 512 x 512 matrix image from millions of data points. That is a pretty incredible advancement.
The first CT scanners were designed only to look at the human head but full body scanning was not all that far behind. Now the technology has expanded beyond medicine. It is used in Aerospace, Archeology, Automotive, Consumer Products, Defense andamp; Arms, Energy andamp; Electricity, Engineered Products, Forensics and Geology.
What does all of this mean for my business?
Many businesses work with 3D scanning companies because 3D scanning is just a far superior way to take measurements. It is quicker and produces better results. Here are a few benefits:
- It is more accurate. It can collect an extremely large number of data points to get an incredibly detailed image. The millions of data points create images, which make it possible to get a much more accurate analysis of a product. The detail of the images that are created makes it possible to conduct an incredibly thorough analysis of products and objects.
- It is fast. 3D scanning companies can get millions of data points in just a fraction of a second. Manual measurements can never be done that quick. 3D scanning companies can do in seconds what would take days for other methods to do.
- It has better coverage than manual measurements. Millions of data points can be captures in just a matter of minutes. No other measurement or analysis method can match the coverage of the technology used by 3D scanning companies.
- It is very cost effective. The price of 3D scanning is incredibly competitive but that is not the only way it is cost effective. The accuracy, speed and coverage offered by 3D scanning companies offer save companies in a number of ways. The industrial CT scanning technology reduces the costs associated with new product inspections and failure analysis by anywhere between 25 and 75% from the use of existing technology. It also reduces the number of recalls or returns because the quality control process is streamlined and improved. The ability to quickly make prototypes through reverse engineering means products are developed faster and with fewer errors along the way.
The bottom line is that the services offered by 3D scanning companies can save your business money and improve your products.