NVision, Inc., a leader in 3D non-contact optical scanning for over 22 years, reports that an increasing number of its contract scanning services now involve CT scanning for reverse engineering, and inspection and measurement of medical components and surgical tools.
According to Steve Kersen, NVision's Vice President of Sales and Marketing, "The ongoing advance of medical technology has created a growing need for ever-more-precise medical component scanning capabilities. Fortunately, with our CT scanning services, NVision is able to meet this important need for the medical original equipment manufacturer (OEM) community, whether the object being scanned is a small part or a large, heavy-metal product.”
Computed Tomography, or CT scanning, a process that utilizes x-rays to produce 3D representations of both internal and external components, is typically utilized when a customer’s requirements exceed the capabilities of laser scanning. Such is often the case with medical components. For example, it’s extremely useful for accurately modeling or inspecting the internal geometry of transparent materials - such as those used in many medical devices - which would be obscured for laser scanners, or for detecting hidden flaws in plastic moldings and castings.
Excellent results from CT scanning can be achieved on non-metallic components fitting within an envelope of 150mm diameter. Small plastic medical components are therefore ideal candidates for CT scanning. However, larger metal parts can also be CT scanned. Says Kersen, “We recently CT-scanned a 13” metal casting as well as an engine manifold and a rotor casting for fluid-moving equipment. We can CT scan all sizes of plastic or metal components, from the smallest parts to large equipment.”
The output received from the CT scanner is a STL (stereo lithography) format file, which is opened in specialized software for inspection against a CAD file, or used to create a CAD file in the customer’s required native format such SolidWorks, Siemines NX, Catia, Pro E, and Inventor.
“Judging from the number of inquiries we’ve received for CT scanning of medical components, this is a segment of our contract services that will continue to increase for the forseeable future,” says Kersen.