CT Scans See Inside Plastic Parts


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Carl Zeiss Industrial Metrology, Maple Grove, Minn., is introducing a service for plastics and composites that can detect and quantify voids, delamination, incomplete filling, and other defects through industrial computed tomography, or CT scanning. The company’s new North American CT Technology Center in Brighton, Mich., can analyze the inside and outside of a part in one scan by projecting a beam of x-rays through it while the object is rotated. It is a nondestructive method that measures internal cavities, undercuts, and deep recesses not readily captured by coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) and laser scanners. The technology has been used in the automotive and aerospace industries for materials evaluation, prototyping, and QC. While industrial CT scanners cost from $300,000 to $5,000,000, Zeiss aims to make the technology affordable with its new service. Plastic part inspection will cost in the ballpark of $400 to $700 per part. A key to the service is the new Zeiss Metrotom scanner for parts whose longest dimension is 350 mm. It produces internal and external measurements that are accurate to ±10 microns, thanks to integration of Zeiss Calypso CMM metrology software. Most industrial CT scanners produce only visual representations, not dimensional data, according to Zeiss product manager Kevin Legacy. The Zeiss facility also has a Varian CT scanner for large components like plastic chairs. (763) 744-2400 • www.zeiss.com Only a few other companies offer such a service—such as Varian Medical Systems, Palo Alto, Calif., and Bolton Works, E. Hartford, Conn. again as Gloucester Engineering Co. Inc.