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Industry X-Ray Vs. Medical X-Ray: What Is The Difference?

In this blog post, you’ll read:X-ray technology has a wide range of applications. While it is commonly used in the medical field, it is also has a wide range of industrial applications. In this guide, we are going to analyze the difference between industry X-ray vs. medical X-ray. At the end of the article, you will know which one is more suitable for you.

Table of Contents

X-rays are commonly used for medical purposes for imaging structures inside the human body. X-ray has been widely used by physicists as an analytical tool for almost 100 years now.

X-ray technology has a wide range of applications. While it is commonly used in the medical field, it is also has a wide range of industrial applications. In this guide, we are going to analyze the difference between industry X-ray vs. medical X-ray. At the end of the article, you will know which one is more suitable for you.


What are medical X-rays?

As the name suggests, these are X-rays that are used in the medical field. They are used for performing medical imaging. Medical X-rays are X-rays that are used to produce images of the patients’ body internal structures. 

X-rays pass through most soft tissue and a bone X-ray is a form of electromagnetic radiation, i.e., energy from a distance or space.


medical X-rays
medical X-rays


They may give us different types of medical X-ray tech for example X-ray Computed Tomography, X-Ray Fluoroscopy, Digital X-Ray. Different machines in hospitals have been set up specifically for providing medical X-rays in order to get a fine picture of one’s organs, especially bones but also muscles, etc.

Medical X-Rays are using high-energy photon beams which can penetrate most matter on this planet but some rare elements such as uranium or plutonium cannot be penetrated by X-rays. X-ray machines are designed to detect X-ray photons as they pass through various tissues and X-rays scatter in specific ways to form a picture of the structures that lie behind the tissues.

Medical X-rays have been found to be useful in revealing problems with the internal organs such as fractures, tumors, and other hard objects which can normally not be seen on an ordinary X-ray like broken bones or swallowed items.

Medical X-rays are also used for examination of some parts of the body that you cannot reach by yourself such as the lungs and gut.


Other than human beings, medical X-rays are also used on animals. They can also be used to examine pets, especially animals that you suspect to have eaten poisonous substances or swallowed anything dangerous.

 They may even help determine if the pet is pregnant at times. X-rays are a great way to determine if there is indeed an obstruction within the digestive system. X-ray technicians are also trained to handle X disposal and other forms of protection that need to be worn during X-ray examinations on humans and animals.


What are industrial X-rays?

Industrial X-rays, on the other hand, are X-rays that have been used in industrial applications such as cutting metal in a factory or x-ray baggage scanners at airports.

Industrial X-ray machines generally take much more time compared to medical X-rays because they use stronger beams of energy that can cut through even thick metals.


industrial X-ray
industrial X-ray


However, it takes time for them to penetrate objects, and this is why they might be slower than X-ray machines used in medical X-ray examinations.

Industrial X-ray machines are commonly used to X-ray parts of an engine while they are still inside the car in order to get a clearer picture of what is going on in it.

But sometimes X-rays might be emitted even from outside the car and X-ray technicians make sure everything around them is properly shielded so that there is no risk to their lives when X -rays are being emitted.

They are also used in analyzing workpieces manually where automated machines haven’t been invented yet but still require regular inspection of shape or size consistency to ensure production safety.

Industrial X radiography techniques include spark sources, continuous-wave CW) X-ray sources, X-ray tubes, and X-ray imaging systems. X-ray technology is also used for security purposes in transit checks and baggage scanners.


The Differences between Medical X-ray vs. Industrial X-ray

Here are some key highlights for the differences between medical vs. industrial X-rays

The differences between medical X-ray vs. industrial X-rays are summarized below:


1. Source type different 

 X-rays used in medical X-ray machines are generated by radioactive material while X-rays from industrial X-ray machines are mainly produced by high voltage electrical discharges.

In medical X-ray, the X-rays are generated in a small machine called X-RAY GENERATOR in which radioactive substances like Plutonium is placed and these X-rays pass through the object to be examined.

  After which, it is collimated or concentrated into a beam that can pass through the patient tissue and body part to reveal details of internal organs even if they have been injured or damaged.

Industrial X-rays machines operate differently. No radioactive source is needed. X-rays are produced when high voltage discharge produced by an electrical generator is allowed to pass through air or other gases like argon.

These X-rays are controlled by devices called X-ray switches that handle the beams of X-rays according to what they wish to examine at any given time. Although weaker compared with X-rays generated by radioactive material, they still pack a punch because they can easily go through thick metals and objects in a short while.


2. How the X-rays are taken

The differences between medical X-ray and industrial X-ray is also based on how the two are taken.


How medical X-rays are taken: Most hospitals today have their X-ray department where patients with suspected problems can have themselves examined with an X-ray machine.

Before a patient gets into the examination room, the area around the part of the body that needs examining should be cleaned thoroughly to remove any dirt, dust, or X-ray shielding materials in the area because X -rays can pick up even a microbe and this can distort X-rays.


How industrial X-rays are taken: X-rays used to image pieces of industrial machines also require X-RAY SHIELDING just like medical X-rays examinations do. X-ray shielding is designed to stop or lessen the effects of radiation on an individual’s body parts like eyes, skin, and internal organs.

The material used for X-ray shielding depends on the duration of exposure; it could be lead which is one of the most commonly used X-ray shielding materials especially at construction sites though others like copper, glass, or concrete are also excellent X-ray shielding depending on the X-rays being used.

X-rays are focused on the parts of the machine by X-ray switches which X-ray parts of the machines inside the X-ray booth so that engineers and technicians at construction sites or medical X-ray departments can get a clear picture of what is going on to enable them to quickly fix any problems they may find.



3. Application areas

Medical X-rays are commonly used to diagnose tumors, broken bones, and other internal body injuries within patients who come to hospitals or health centers.

The x-rays are used for detecting broken bones especially if one has been involved in accidents. Medical X-rays are also used for analyzing internal body organs such as the heart, lungs and other X-ray pictures are taken inside the X-ray room to look for various abnormalities inside the body.

Medical X-rays and industrial X-rays both have their area of importance and this is why most hospitals, clinics, emergency rooms, medical facilities as well as security agencies like police stations, airports, and construction sites have at least one X-ray machine in their premises which helps them do their jobs effectively.


The uses of X rays in industrial applications: X -rays in the industrial world play an important role in detecting flaws on the surface of components before shipping, inspecting welds while constructing structures, and X -RAYING parts of machines like engines fitted inside cars because it plays a very vital role especially when you may find yourself stranded far from home with a faulty engine.

 A car owner who is planning on taking his/her vehicle to distant places should always have their vehicle X-rayed to make sure everything is fine before embarking on the journey.


4. Intensity of the radiation

 X-ray machines do image the subjects either by automatically X -RAYING X-ray switch when it images hidden metal objects or manually X-ray imaging the object. The intensity of X-rays is measured in milliroentgens every hour (mr/h).

Medical X-rays are only X-rayed at low intensities on patients when they come to hospitals.

 On the other hand, X-rays used at construction sites and other industrial applications operate at higher intensities because the work is more dangerous especially if you are working on tall structures like skyscrapers which could collapse at any time.


5. X-ray machines used

The type of X-ray machine used: The difference between medical vs. industrial is also based on the type of machines.

x-ray machines
X-ray machines

X-ray machines used in medical X-ray departments are designed to image patients with X-rays at very low intensities because the X -rays pass through almost all parts of the body since most people visiting hospitals are not very healthy and X-raying them at high intensity could cause cancer.

On the other hand, industrial X-ray machines use high intensity of X-rays because the work is more dangerous so they need much higher intensities to see through parts of machines.

X-rays from medical X-ray machines are used for imaging and diagnosis only – they treat no disease or health condition directly. Rather they help in the diagnosis of diseases and other conditions so that appropriate steps can be taken by the doctor towards treatment or cure of a particular disease or ailment.

However, X-rays used in industries are aimed at improving production efficiency by revealing defects hidden within parts. These X-rays also serve as quality control measures for checking manufactured products against predetermined standards.

X-rays used for processing in industries are X-ray radiography or XRF (X-Ray Fluorescence) X-ray machines and range between 10kV and 25kV X energy, while medical X-ray machines range from 20 to 200 kV X energy.



The difference between industrial X-rays and medical X-rays is also based on the cost. There are various ways of analyzing the cost factor. One of them is the price of X-ray machines. X-ray machines are sold based on X energy.

As X-rays have more X energy, they can be used for various purposes. X-ray machines with higher X energy tend to cost more than X-ray machines with lower X energy.

However, the cost of the X-ray machine will depend on its specifications. Whether it will be used for medical or industrial applications.

X-ray machines for medical X-rays tend to be more expensive than X-ray machines used in industrial X-rays because of their intricate features and specifications.


Exposure to X-rays

X-rays used in industries expose workers to X radiation as well as the general public who come into contact with manufactured products exposed to the X-rays emitted by the industrial x-ray machine. However, this may also depend on the specifications of the X-ray machines. Most manufacturers strive to limit the exposure from industrial X-rays.

On the other hand, medical X-ray machines are designed to minimize X-ray exposure to X-rays of workers, patients, and the general public by putting safety measures in place. X-rays are generated once X-ray machines are switched on.

However, most X-ray machines have physical barriers that can prevent users from coming into direct contact with X-rays emitted during X-ray processes.



In conclusion, we have outlined the differences between medical X-rays and industrial X-rays. The X-ray machine is what determines its use. X-ray machines used in medical X-rays are not allowed to be supplied or sold for industrial X-ray applications.

The X-ray energy of the X-ray machine can make a big difference in the demand and use of X-rays. The lower X energy films are often desired for quality control purposes rather than radiography which requires higher resolution images with high detail object visibility such as bones forming the human skeleton.

All in all, choose the best X-ray machine manufacturer for your X-ray, whether it is for medical or industrial use. At Unixray, we supply quality X-ray machines for industrial applications. Contact us and we will give you all the relevant information that you will need.


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