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Custom Control Systems Guides New Design for X-ray Scanner

The day after the controls were finished, Marietta NDT took the machine apart and shipped it to its final destination. I think that says something about the reliability of the control system."

The Summary

Marietta NDT specializes in customized nondestructive testing systems which meet the unique and demanding requirements of highly technical applications such as aerospace, energy and automotive. These systems are often utilized at the end of production lines of critical components where microscopic imperfections can cause critical failures. They can also be used after an incident in the determination of the cause.

The Situation

The Marietta NDA engineering team had developed a new x-ray scanner that could be used on large items placed on a table. The unit was design so the detector could be placed under the table and the emitter would be suspended above it. Then the two parts would move across the object in unison while continually scanning. The high precision machine was designed to find cracks and flaws in items such as airplane wings.

While the mechanical components of the x-ray scanner had already been developed, Marietta NDT needed a control system to command the machine. They turned to InMechaSol to develop a custom control system.

The Solution

“When Marietta NDT came to us, they knew the level of precision the machine needed to provide,” said InMechaSol founder, Gary Eades. “They had a control panel and gave us the specs for speed, precision and types of interfaces such as how commands could be received and how users could interact with machine. They also had developed a PC application that communicated with the machine over the network to perform scans within certain parameters.”

InMechaSol Mechatronic Systems Engineer, Robert Leidy, began developing the control system architecture on a scaled development system at IMS, taking into account the complex command needs as well as the intensive safety systems Marietta NDT had built into the machine.

“The control panel Marietta NDT gave us had different inputs,” said Leidy.  “I needed to create a control program to command the joystick and motors so the machine moved in the appropriate way. I also had to support functionality they had designed into the PC application.”
Leidy created and tested a custom control system from the ground up at IMS and then went on-site at Marietta NDT to support the integration and commission of the machine.

The Results

“During integration, I spent several late nights working out the remaining bugs. The day after I finished the controls, Marietta NDT took the machine apart and shipped it to its final destination. I think that says something about the reliability of the control system,” said Leidy.

Leidy has worked on control system troubleshooting, but enjoyed building this system from the ground up. “New systems can be daunting at first, but I was able to make good decision from the beginning and define the best way to move forward,” said Leidy. “Knowing all the nuances also makes it easy to fix or change moving forward.” 
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InMechaSol provides innovative mechatronic solutions to industry's most formidable motion control problems. Explain to us your challenge, and we will create a solution specific to your need. Our engineers and designers are some of the brightest and most innovative of the day.

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