Content By Pat Carlson

By: Pat Carlson

From aerospace applications to simple one-off projects built at home, additive manufacturing (AM) has gained incredible interest in all industry facets. Its rapid expansion into production manufacturing is due to the technology's immense versatility and use.

With additive manufacturing, objects are built by adding layer upon layer of material. A wide variety of materials can be used with the technology, including metals, plastics, and amalgams. Given this variety, and knowing that many of these components will be used for critical applications in the aerospace, medical, or automotive industries, the challenge becomes one of quality assurance. How does a manufacturer inspect these products to ensure their safety and longevity? In many instances, traditional inspection methods aren't adequate.

Computed tomography (CT) is a unique and powerful tool that allows users to inspect a component for defects or anomalies, take internal and external metrology measurements, and create a model or drawing from the component. A key benefit of this technology is that it's a nondestructive inspection method, i.e., one that doesn't destroy the component in order to extract data. This allows for both inspection of components and the ability to use end products as intended.