Nikon’s X-ray and CT inspection systems perform quality inspection of aircraft and vehicle parts, helping to ensure reliability. Nikon makes effective use of X-ray systems in the fields of manufacturing and R&D to contribute to a safer society.
Nikon’s X-ray and CT systems provide a non-contact, non-destructive inspection solution to assure aircraft safety and manufacturing quality. In this Nikon article, find out more about the traditional X-ray CT applications as well as the future industries and ever-expanding applications.
Aircraft safety depends on reliable parts
Many people fly regularly on business or travel, but have you ever wondered about what goes into a commercial aircraft? There are said to be about three million parts in a medium- or large-sized aircraft, which is almost impossible to imagine. Yet aircraft are also described as the “safest of all vehicles,” with each part needing to be completely reliable. That means careful quality inspection is an indispensable part of the manufacturing process — for every component.
Components that play a crucial role are turbine blades, which conduct the high-pressure, high-temperature gas produced by the jet engine combustor. Unless turbine blades are manufactured to the exact design specifications, not only will their energy conversion efficiency be reduced, but unexpected problems may also arise. As they are exposed to temperatures as high as about 1,000˚C/1,832˚F, the thickness of blades is designed to ensure an optimum balance between the strength of their entire surface and their cooling ability, with a strictly defined margin of error. Of course, there is also a risk of structural defects such as cracks and cavities shortening the life of blades. It is necessary to strictly inspect the accuracy of the blade shape, wall thickness, as well as detect structural defects. All items in the manufacturing process are subject to these inspections.
These inspections are generally performed by visualizing the internal structure using X-rays and quantifying the dimensions as a three-dimensional shape using CT based on the image data. However, turbine blades are made of high-density materials, such as single-crystal alloy, and cannot be inspected using conventional X-ray / CT inspection systems. That’s where Nikon’s XT H 450 CT inspection system, equipped with an X-ray source that generates high-power X-rays, comes into play.