CT scan: looking below the surface
‘To manage is to know’ – but choosing the right measuring method can be tricky, particularly if there are many variables involved. That’s why choosing the appropriate method for collecting data and gathering information is a vital part of the process. Our team always focuses on the cost and expenditure involved in acquiring insights at the ‘right’ stage of the development process. It is also important to not always go for the tried-and-tested methods. For one of our clients, we wanted to literally take a look ‘inside’ the product just to see what would happen to critical interfaces during use. So we decided to switch to a Computed Tomography (CT) scan.
Although most people probably associate CT scans with hospitals, it can also be very useful in product development. The process of taking a series of X-rays from all angles and creating a 3D image in this way has become easier because scanning equipment can be shared through smart sharing. However, it is important to realise that:
- this requires experience with hardware and software, and can therefore be relatively complex and time-consuming.
- the goal and objectives should be clear as soon as the optimum settings for a productive outcome have been determined together with the scanning company. This is necessary because a huge amount of data is generated during CT scans and because setting the X-ray correctly based on the permeability of the material used, and the positioning in the scanner, all ensure that you really get to see what you want to see.
- analysing the data can be relatively time-consuming.
Performing a CT scan during the product verification process turned out to be enlightening and enabled us to further reduce development time. Where we would traditionally have chosen to measure the separate components and estimate the impact on composition, it is now possible to assess the overall outcome, including any deformations which might arise. This makes the CT scan particularly suited for evaluating product combinations.
If you would like to learn more about how we use research and verification methods such as CT scans during the development process, feel free to contact Joris Bronkhorst.