How often have you wondered if there exist ways for you to improve the quality of your X-ray images?
X-ray images are central to X-ray inspection, and analysis as the quality of the images generated by the X-ray imaging system significantly affects the accuracy of the results you obtain. Moreover, precise and quality X-ray images are technicians’ delight as they significantly increase the efficiency of X-ray technicians’ errors, and defects can be easily identified almost at a glance, especially for hidden areas in the sample.
Moreover, you can still improve the quality of your X-ray images by following the steps and considerations that we shall look at in this guide. So, if you’re ready to know more, then let’s dive in.
I. Why does X-ray Image Quality Matter?
The primary purpose of an X-ray image is to present the sample under examination in great detail for the inspector to identify the presence of flaws or anomalies in the sample. However, the quality and clarity of the image determine how easy it is for the inspectors to carry out their duties. Hence, X-ray technicians often try to ensure that the necessary parameters that help produce quality X-ray images are in place. Additionally, inspectors monitor specific characteristics that indicate an image’s level of quality. Some of these features include magnification, monitors’ resolution, sharpness, distortion, and contrast, all of which are considered before, during, and after image processing. More importantly, digital images need a suitable monitor with the correct resolution to enable inspectors to view the details of the image accurately.
II. Features of a Good Quality Image
Some features help X-ray technicians and inspectors ascertain the quality of an image, and as previously discussed, these features apply during and after the image processing. These features include
The sharper an image, the better the quality of the image. Blurry images don’t present image details clearly, making it difficult for inspectors to get an accurate result from the analysis of images. Some of the factors that can affect image sharpness are movement, geometry, and resolution of the imaging system.
Magnification is an enlargement that presents images in more considerable proportion to their original size. A higher magnification increases the quality of details identified in the image.
Image contrast applies to the brightness or dullness of image colors – which are black and white in an X-ray image. A good contrast balance increases the quality of an X-ray image where the contrast value is not too high or too low.
III. Factors Affecting X-ray Image Quality
Certain factors affect the quality of an X-ray image, and depending on the element, an increase or decrease in these factors can increase or decrease the image quality. Therefore, it is essential to carefully consider these factors before, during, and after image processing. These factors include:
- Detection Efficiency – The ability of the X-ray machine to detect a sample material is dependent on its sensitivity, and it can affect the quality of the image as the better the detection efficiency, the better the image quality.
- Peak Voltage – The peak voltage of the X-ray tube affects the current and the number of electrons released for detecting the sample under examination. The higher the peak voltage, the better the image quality.
- Dynamic Range – The ability of the detector to represent various X-ray intensities is its dynamic range which should not be too wide to generate a good quality image. Hence, the narrower the detector’s dynamic range, the better image it produces.
- Beam Hardening – the lower the beam hardening of an X-ray machine, the higher the image quality as beam hardening causes an X-ray image to appear brighter at the edges than at the center where details of the image are unclear despite the uniformity of the object.
- Contrast-to-Noise Ratio – This factor measures the contrast of the object in relation to the object’s background. Therefore, having a balanced contrast-to-noise ratio will produce a quality image where the environment does not overshadow the object contrast.
- Detail detectability – The ability of an X-ray system to represent hidden and tiny details contributes significantly to the quality of the image as features like magnification and sharpness helps an X-ray machine detect more object details.
- Exposure Time – The length of time an object stays under an X-ray beam can affect the image quality. The optimum exposure time is often dependent on the object’s thickness, as overexposure can result in very dark images, while underexposure may give a very light image with unclear details.
- Spatial Resolution – The detailed representation of an image is dependent on the spatial resolution as it measures the level of minuteness that an X-ray imaging system can represent.
- Gray Scale – X-ray images are shown in gray scales, a variation of back to white on a color spectrum. However, how well an X-ray machine can differentiate different components using the grayscale will contribute immensely to the clarity and precision of the image.
IV. Principles to be Followed in Choosing Industrial X-ray Machine
To produce an image that meets the minimum requirements of inspection standards, certain qualities need to be considered when choosing an industrial X-ray machine.
Firstly, the quality of the image generated by the X-ray machine is perhaps the most important principle you should follow. The reason is that the quality of the image determines the level of accuracy and precision of a quality assessment and inspection process. Secondly, the machine’s safety is essential as an unsafe machine can put many lives, including that of the operator and many other assisting personnel, in jeopardy. Additionally, an unsafe machine can be very costly for the company as litigation and damages payments can be very expensive.
Ease of installation and operation of the machine is another vital principle as this can considerably affect the rate of production and consequently the profit margin of the company. Also, reliability and durability are other critical factors that can affect an organization’s bottom line. The reason is that easy installation and operation increases the speed of inspection rather than spending an extended period installing or learning to operate the machine without any success.
Lastly, the maintenance of the machine should be very minimal as frequent maintenance can be very expensive and might not meet the cost-to-benefit requirement.
In conclusion, improving X-ray image quality is an essential part of the product X-ray quality assessment process as a good quality image can increase the accuracy of the analysis and result of X-ray inspection. However, to improve the quality of an X-ray image, an understanding of specific image features is needed, including magnification, contrast, and sharpness. Also, some factors like grayscale, exposure time, peak voltage, detail detectability, and detection efficiency can affect the quality of the image and will need to be considered carefully before processing the X-ray image. The benefits of a good quality image are numerous, and the information provided in this post can help you improve your X-ray images if you follow the steps given in the post.