Automated inspection for sintered parts by non-destructive techniques for improved quality in production
Sintered parts obtained by the powder metallurgy (PM)process are used in several industry sectors, in particular the automotive. They are typically intricate, complex shaped parts produced in near net shape by compaction of powders into a geometry followed by sintering of the compacts for consolidation, where particles are bonded on heating. The PM process is suited to high volume production any flaws/defects in the parts can have a significant impact on the production output, as well as potential failures in later use. There is a need for automated inspection by non-destructive means, for determining and separating the good and bad batches during production.
In PM parts can suffer from porosity and cracking; hence the need for an automated inspection to ensure 100%quality. Digital X-ray radiography allows them to be inspected without being destructed. The AutoInspect consortium has developed a digital radiographic system for the on-line inspection of sintered PM and metal injection moulded parts.
The main features are:
- A digital radiography inspection technique, able to inspect PM parts in seconds
- Embedded time-delay integration (TDI) linear X-ray detectors that allow the supply conveyor to run continuously, while a row of parts is scanned. The TDI technique creates very low-noise X-ray images with resolution up to 10μm pixel size, depending on the X-ray set-up magnification
- A dedicated image analysis algorithm for the automatic defect recognition with pre/post processing and an enhancement algorithm are used to sentence good/bad components.
This technique has been developed to detect small cracks, flaws and density variations in-line during the manufacturing process of PM parts in a factory environment.
This project has received funding from the EuropeanUnion’s Seventh Framework Programme for research,technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No 283288.
For more information, please visit the AutoInspect website.