The Application of Industrial X-ray and a Brief Introduction
Have you ever wondered how most industries produce quality devices?
The production is often rigorous but has been made easy with the advent and continuous advancements in technology, especially with X-rays.
More and more industries are finding industrial X-ray systems useful to increase their production quality and quantity. Industries, including electronics, automotive, aviation, and the military, rely on industrial X-ray machines for easy and increased output.
By getting the products between an X-ray tube and a detector, X-ray tubes can beam enough energy proportionate to the material’s thickness. The radiation penetrates the material and projects an image on the detector from which the image goes for development and quality assessment.
X-ray imaging is an industry non-destructive standard test for checking the quality and integrity of products. Hence, the X-ray system’s maintenance for achieving these assessments will go a long way in preserving its objectives and, ultimately, business in the long-term.
1. Industrial Digital Radiography System Components
The two major categories of radiography system components include the source front where the X-ray is projected on the test material and the imaging side where the photograph of the material tested is revealed.
The source side has components like the X-ray tube that generates the X-ray radiation after receiving power from a high-voltage generator. The cable connects the X-ray tube and the generator – usually a high-tensioned cable and a power controller to regulate the power.
The coolant for ensuring the X-ray tube temperature is adequately regulated is also on the source front. This coolant can be water-based or oil-based.
The imaging side components include a capture device. This device is usually of two types, including Linear Diode Array (LDA) and Flat Panel Detector (FPD). The LDA detector is also known as a high-density line-scan detector.
A manipulator for both the X-ray tube and the detector concludes the arrangement of the industrial X-ray machine. This manipulator makes it possible to rotate and move the instrument about different angles. There is also a platform to mount and hold the tested material, a chamber, and a computer monitoring station to analyze its image.
2. Proactive Preventive Maintenance of industrial X-ray systems
In order to avoid the breakdown of industrial X-ray machines and, consequently, a loss of production time and revenue, preventive maintenance is often initiated to avert this loss. This loss can impact a company’s revenues, a sector, and even a country’s economy.
The components of the X-ray machine are checked periodically for specific parameters that measure their effectiveness. The X-ray tube, the mechanical and the electrical components are the major parts to be checked, and the function and general performance verification are also paramount.
Depending on which of the two types of X-ray tubes is installed in your industrial X-ray machine, their preventive maintenance can differ.
The two types of X-ray tubes are open tubes and closed tubes.
The maintenance procedure can only involve replacements for closed tubes since technicians cannot replace the interior components as the tube comes sealed. This property means that the tube only lasts for a limited period.
For open X-ray tubes, internal components like O-rings, filaments, and sockets can be inspected and replaced. The case’s interior can also be cleaned and coupled back for testing things like cooling and vacuum systems. This characteristic makes open tubes last longer than closed tubes.
Mechanical, Electrical, and Safety Testing
Industrial X-ray machines consist of electrical and mechanical parts, including sensors, warning lights, and locking mechanisms. These components are checked periodically by certified personnel.
Other mechanical parts like mounting platforms and motion controllers can be adjusted as required during this check. Similarly, cables and wires are checked for proper termination and ensure adequate securing of drapes.
General Performance and Functional Verification
Systems operation verification is the first point of call to ascertain the specific components and parts that require replacement or adjustment.
This verification often starts with the checking of image quality before disassembling and repairing faulty devices. It is after this that a re-verification of the image quality occurs.
Other verification procedures include alignment checks, digital radiography application checks, and radiation survey, all of which are supposed to be included in the servicing technician’s checklist for the specific model of the industrial X-ray machine.
A check of the radiography computer workstation can also be part of this verification if agreed upon in the service contract. This check can include updating or installing digital radiography application software and patches.
The final check for an industrial X-ray machine often involves the system’s radiation survey to ensure that there was no radiation leak occurring due to the maintenance of the X-ray machine. It also confirms that any of its components’ performance and calibration did not change due to the maintenance activities.
Once the maintenance work is done, a report is usually submitted by the service provider detailing the processes and methods used during the maintenance. The report is also supposed to itemize deteriorating parts identified during the maintenance, and a suggestion for replacement within a specified time is given.
Benefits of Preventive Maintenance Service Contracts
Having a contract often protects parties involved from a future unforeseen occurrence that might become a source of dispute. These disagreements can lead to trust issues and, ultimately, time and money lost.
A service contract should not be overlooked for a company seeking to engage a maintenance company’s services. This move is to ensure that grey areas and concerns relating to the quality of service meet the parties’ expectations.
Other advantages of a preventive maintenance service contract for an industrial X-ray machine are enumerated below.
1. Removal of approval bottlenecks with each visit. This bottleneck is usually present when there are no contracts or agreements before the commencement of a maintenance service. The end-user will often have to sign a lot of papers to get the payment and maintenance visit approved, losing production time and money in the process.
2. A look-ahead maintenance plan to prevent the loss of production time.
3. Savings on maintenance cost as a contract often comes with a good bargain that includes discounts.
4. Timely technical response in the event of emergency maintenance call up.
5. Other additional services can also be low-priced or even have the cost waived.
6. A devoted support phone line can also be included in the service contract.
All these benefits justify the need for a contractual agreement with the maintenance service contractor before venturing into the main services.
Selecting the Right Service Provider for Servicing Your Industrial X-ray System
In carrying out proper preventive maintenance of X-ray systems, choosing a certified and well-experienced service provider is critical.
An essential criterion for choosing a service provider is the promptness and swiftness of the service provider’s response to production managers when called for maintenance. The effectiveness of the service provider is likewise as crucial as their punctuality.
Other equally vital criteria are the access to spare parts from manufacturers by the service provider, their dependability in terms of skills and expertise of their technician should also not be taken for granted.
Third-party verification of the service providers must be included in the criteria for the selection of a suitable service provider.
The ability to troubleshoot and identify imminent problems with the X-ray system is also essential in choosing a service provider. This ability projects confidence in the contractor and helps the production manager rest easy.
The True Value of Preventive Maintenance
Finally, the advantages of using industrial X-ray machines in production are enormous. However, companies can lose these advantages if proper, adequate, and timely preventive maintenance is not followed regularly.
This preventive maintenance will save the company a considerable cost and remove the loss of production time if effectively done and monitored. The likelihood of emergency repairs and shutdown is reduced with proper preventive maintenance allowing X-ray systems operation to run smoothly.
In the end, the company grows and makes enough profit to ensure stability and future growth while keeping the company thriving for many years to come.