Electronics industry equipment, software and technical support supplier Zetech last month supplied the first nano-computerised tomography X-ray scanner in Africa to Stellenbosch University, in the Western Cape, to assist the university in scanning objects during lab analyses for disciplines such as material science.
The General Electric (GE) Phoenix Nanotom S scanner, which has been installed in the university’s central analytical facility, “uses a 180 kV/15 W ultrahigh-performance nanofocus X-ray tube, precision mechanics and advanced software modules to provide an effective inspection solution”, says Zetech’s Zalman Orlianski.
He adds that the Nanotom S is the inspection solution for a wide range of computerised tomography (CT) applications. “Once scanned, the fully three-dimensional (3D) CT information allows for many possible analyses, such as nondestructive visualisation of slice images, arbitrary sectional views or automatic pore analysis.”
He says, since the entire geometry of the object is scanned, precise 3D measurements of complex objects and “the automatic generation of first-article inspection reports within an hour” are possible.
“The instrument extends the resolution capability of the facility to 500 nm. The facility is now equipped with state-of-the-art microscale and nanoscale two-dimensional and 3D industrial X-ray imaging instruments, making it one of only a few such facilities worldwide,” explains Dr Anton Du Plessis from the central analytical facility.
He says this type of testing, which is also termed X-ray microscopy, is becoming more popular and is standard practice for high-value manufacturing factories to check parts of manufactured goods and validate new production processes.
“Within a short time, it gives a full porosity-size distribution, visual or other data from a sample.”
Besides applications in research, electronics inspections and manufactured plastic- or metal-part inspections, Du Plessis says, some mining companies are starting to adopt the technology to investigate orebodies in 3D “to better analyse and understand their deposits, combining it with traditional analysis for an improved total analysis solution”.
Orlianski says Zetech is the exclusive GE Phoenix X-ray dealer in South Africa. The company’s technical personnel are GE-Level-2- trained and -certified to provide technical support for users of GE equipment.