Making the invisible visible early on

ZEISS X-Ray Series for light metal casting

Light metal is being used more and more in industry, especially in the automotive sector. One of the reasons for this is to meet specifications for climate protection initiatives and lighter car bodies are an important factor. But lightweight construction means greater fragility and lower tolerances in casting and processing. Manufacturers must master these challenges in production and also in quality assurance. For the latter, non-destructive inspection and measurement methods like X-ray technology are the best option.

Making the invisible visible early on

The casting process of light metal is complex, and the risk of producing defective parts is high. Often the defects are located inside the castings and not visible on the surface. Whether pores, inclusions or shrinkage holes, for example, all defects can severely impair the stability and functionality of a part. If they remain undetected, the affected parts can lead to considerable problems and high costs later on in the production process.

This is because the costs per part increase with each step. It is therefore essential to detect defects and critical errors reliably and early in the production process. If manufacturers want to “play it safe” with their parts, they should rely on sophisticated inspection and measuring technology at an early stage. In the best-case scenario, this means detecting defects and deformations non-destructively with X-rays – even in the production line.

Possibilities of X-ray technology

The industrial X-ray systems in the ZEISS BOSELLO family are specially designed for use in harsh production environments. Internal defects make the 2D inspection solutions visible quickly and automatically with just one scan. However, for manufacturers who produce particularly thin-walled and therefore fragile parts - for example to comply with the Euro 6 standard for vehicles - the pure detection and determination of defects is not enough. It is important to know their exact position and dimensions.

This can be achieved by 3D X-ray technology. ZEISS computer tomography solutions can do even more: They evaluate defects with a view to subsequent processing steps. And in case castings have to be inspected for geometric deviations, the ZEISS METROTOM family offers precise measurements with highly accurate scans.

light metal zadd
Based on the CAD model, the software ZEISS Automated Defect Detection can evaluate whether a defect leads to problems after processing.

Fastest inspection in the cycle of production

The challenge here is the short time available for inspection. The cycle of the production line, which is sometimes less than one minute, determines the maximum time frame for the inspection. The ZEISS VoluMax F1500 Series fulfils exactly this requirement and brings further advantages for production: Even large castings are no obstacle to maximum throughput. As part of a pilot project, a detector was specially designed for ZEISS VoluMax F1500 flash that allows fast scans of large, denser castings. Another novelty on the market is ZEISS VoluMax F1500 thunder, which is equipped with an automatic feeder that sends the parts directly through the system, thus ensuring maximum efficiency. With only eight seconds per part for loading and unloading, downtimes are reduced to a minimum.

The ZEISS Automated Defect Detection (ZADD) analysis software is particularly valuable for the user when parts need to be evaluated automatically and reliably. The software not only detects defects such as shrinkage holes, cracks or pores, but also classifies and localizes them. The greatest advantage for the user is the evaluation function: it shows whether a detected defect will cause problems in later processing steps. This allows manufacturers to sort out defective parts reliably and specifically. If the data management software ZEISS PiWeb detects an accumulation of individual defects, it is possible to intervene in the casting process at an earlier stage to avoid increased scrap.

Coherent package

In addition to robust ZEISS X-ray systems and unique software solutions, users can rely on reliable service. If problems do arise, ZEISS service is available worldwide – with technicians guiding users through the system remotely or directly on site with all spare parts in stock. Production can then be rapidly ramped up again.