Skip to main content

Modular High Speed X-ray Detection and Sorting Systems for Production Process Control and Packaging Quality Control

Final Report Summary - MODULINSPEX (Modular High Speed X-ray Detection and Sorting Systems for Production Process Control and Packaging Quality Control)

The MODULINSPEX project concerned the development of a modular concept for design, implementation and use of innovative state-of-the-art X-ray based inspection systems for industrial manufacturing. The basic objectives concerns (i) the design conceptual approach development, as an entirety, involving demand-driven specifications, hardware, software, documentation, user interface, data analysis packages, etc., and (ii) the implementation to this modular approach of more sensitive, fast and high resolution detection technology developed within the project. The project unites a multidisciplinary but small consortium where each partner contributed with specific know-how relative to the modular thinking.

The efforts have resulted in the elaboration, construction, testing and performance demonstration of four demonstrator systems, including the related hardware developed within the project (innovative detectors, control hardware, new design philosophy, etc.).

The results obtained have shown the viability of the novel detector types even at high speed (up to 30 m/min), with high resolution and with sufficient sensitivity for low energy imaging, hence providing for a new and large market for X-ray inspection technologies.

The project has made significant progress beyond the state-of-the-art, with a vast amount of concrete achievements, i.e. in the form of demonstrators, hard- and software. With the exception of a late deliverable concerning the 300 mm CdTe complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) time-delay integration (TDI) detector, all deliverables are completed and the milestones have been achieved. The project also succeeded in accomplishing a fourth demonstrator that was not foreseen in the work programme. This demonstrator ended up being very useful for the electronic board inspection and was finally realised as a very modular concept both regarding hard- and software.

Based upon initial specifications, elaborated taking into account industrial demands and solutions as offered by competing companies, the project developments were initiated. The X-ray hardware was selected and design modules elaborated and a simple expert system for the selection of matching hardware to a specific inspection task was set-up. For the different X-ray sources, software modules for control were developed. A specific X-ray controller was developed for RS232 control of sealed X-ray sources, mini- and microfocus types. The controller is one of the commercially exploited results, receiving attention for design, function and costs.

Various state-of-the-art detectors were selected as modules and software for their control was developed. This concerns e.g. standard X-ray image intensifiers for stationary imaging and linear arrays in commercial usage. The main efforts on detection technology were attributed to the development of new CdTe CMOS detectors, particularly linear arrays operating in TDI mode. This work was initiated with the supply of an area imaging device and a 150 mm TDI mode linear detector was supplied after the second year. This detector was tested and subsequently implemented to the so-named medium conveyor inspection system (MCIS). The technology was integrated with other soft- and hardware and ultimately received an innovation award owing to its extreme performance.

In addition to the 150 mm array, a 300 mm long linear array operating in TDI mode was aimed for integration as a module to the conveyor prototype systems. The work encountered a number of difficulties, leading to substantial delay and the unit was only completed by the end of the project. Instead, the conveyor – tube inspection system was fitted with a commercial array for the assessments.

A fourth demonstrator was aimed at following re-structuring of the work. This demonstrator includes a modular manipulator suitable for the inspection of electronics. The system hardware is based on state-of-the-art technology, making the system affordable, flexible and tailored.

The modular concept to a large extent involves the integration of the hardware modules of the system(s) to overall modular software architecture. The concept is based on that the exchange of hardware components requires a minimum effort of the software adjustments. This is novel thinking relative to present systems. The software also integrates a number of specific detection algorithms developed within the project for various tasks, e.g. bone detection in fish products, metal rings and other impurities in meat products, etc.

The conception of an X-ray system as a modular entity is innovative and meets the markets demands for modularisation in many aspects of manufacturing. The project results are to a high degree market-oriented, and assessments have included a number of application areas where the novel technology can provide a fast taking-up of the technology. The work has been focused on dissemination and demonstrations of the concept towards the public. Demonstrations have been conducted specifically into the food packaging and food inspection sector, where significant improvement relative to the present state of the art is obvious. Other application areas are in the pharmaceutical sector, and a number of industrial inspection tasks involving light and / or thin materials.

Related documents