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High Resolution X-ray Inspection For Production Applications

Increasing miniaturisation in products requires inspection systems with higher resolutions. The Swiss based Comet Group has recently released the first X-ray module incorporating the MesoFocus technology and thereby offers a solution for exactly this challenge. Customers of VisiConsult X-ray Systems & Solutions for both standard and customized X-ray systems, are among the first to benefit from the new technology.

NDT experts are well aware about advantages of existing concepts of X-ray sources: While an open source offers an excellent resolution, sealed MiniFocus sources are easy to operate for inline application, have high energy capabilities, and require less maintenance due to their robust design. But there are applications that require all of these attributes.

The MesoFocus source resolves the trade-off between high resolution and the requirements of demanding industrial environments. With a variable, small focal spot and 225 kV, it offers a resolution up to 20 lp/mm. The term MesoFocus means that the focal spot size is in between the conventional MiniFocus and the open tubes.

Comparison of X-rays. Left scan was exposed with a traditional X-ray source. Right image was exposed with the new MesoFocus source.

The MesoFocus module is based on the iVario high-voltage generator platform and offers nearly all of the same features for system integration. The only maintenance required is the periodic greasing of the high-voltage cables every 6- or 12-months, depending on the operating conditions. This is a stark benefit compared to the frequent maintenance and spare part requirements of high resolution MicroFocus tubes and leads to significantly lower operating expenses.

Veronika Szczepkowska, application engineer at VisiConsult and one of the very first persons who was able to test the source is convinced: “Typically, it requires a lot of effort to achieve high quality CT scans. I was surprised about the ease of operation and time savings of the MesoFocus system!” The image above shows a part of an additive manufactured cooling section that has been scanned by the application team on a VisiConsult XRH222 CT system. The scan on the left has been executed with a traditional X-ray tube, while the scan on the right has been performed with a MesoFocus source. It clearly shows higher resolution and defect detectability in less scan time.

Ulrich Brand, Sales Manager at VisiConsult for the DACH region, sees a lot of value for VisiConsult’s end users: “Our customers can now bring laboratory performance to their production floor. Additionally, we also have lab managers asking for the MesoFocus, because they want to speed up their laboratory scans and processes.”

The following features are achieved with a novel triple focal spot concept:

Selectable focal spot sizes 50, 130, and 200 µm

Constant tube power from 25% of the max. kV

Homogeneous resolution in the entire radiation field throughout a 20° target angle

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