Automatic or assisted defect recognition (ADR) in X-ray applications has been utilized for decades in the metalcasting industries. Due to advancements of X-ray tubes, detectors and better software with improved algorithms, it is becoming increasingly important in production processes.
The first production-approved, inline ADR systems for automotive castings were installed over 20 years ag
o, and this technology continues to be used. In many cases, this automation means there are no operators interpreting the images. These systems typically make an “accept” or “reject” decision based on the parameters supplied by a quality engineer and are designed to enable repeatable, reliable and documented results independent of human inspection error.
The acceptance and implementation of digital radiography (DR) in virtually every market has opened the door for many of the software tools, image processing and automation solutions made possible with digital imaging technology. Casting defects previously difficult to see are now easier to identify, and with the appropriate software tools, systems can help inspectors find, characterize and disposition anomalies and automatically accept or reject the casting based on the system settings (Fig. 1).
The terms automatic and assisted in ADR have different meanings. Automatic means no operator is required—inspection is fully automatic with fully automatic decision-making without operator intervention. Assisted means the system processes the images and indicates potential defects to the operator, who then uses this information to make the final decision.