Reliable X-ray Diagnosis

Agfa HealthCare measures optical disks 10x faster than in the past

When it comes down to the right diagnosis, tiny details often make the difference. That is why Agfa-Gevaert HealthCare GmbH places stringent requirements on the production of its devices. For this reason, the company relies on measuring technology from Carl Zeiss for the quality inspection of optical disks for radiology. Instead of 45, the measuring cycle for an optical disk is now just three minutes.

The challenge: absolute flatness

One of the greatest challenges in the manufacture of optical disks for digital X-ray photography is their flatness. The disks must be perfectly flat to ensure that they can deliver reliable and detailed images. After all: blurry areas in the image make a diagnosis more difficult. In a worst case, doctors could overlook fractures and tumors.

The problem: the material warps during the manufacturing process, leading to curvatures that are invisible to the naked eye, but nonetheless have a significant effect on the images.

Solution: optical laser line scanner

Agfa first uses an optical single-point stylus to guarantee the flatness of the optical disks. At 45 minutes, a measuring cycle takes a very long time. Furthermore, the stylus causes the disk to vibrate, making the measuring process unreliable.

Agfa has been utilizing an ACCURA bridge-type measuring machine with the optical LineScan laser line scanner from Carl Zeiss Industrial Metrology since the fall of 2009. The sensor scans the disk in 16 paths and generates 1,470 precisely defined image points on the disk in just three minutes. CALYPSO software displays them at 100x magnification to make the curvature visible to the naked eye. Thanks to the non-contact measurement, the sensitive optical disks are neither deformed nor damaged. At the same time, Agfa receives information about the test piece accurate down to the millimeter.

Customer benefit: measuring time reduced to 10 percent

With LineScan, Agfa has been able to reduce the time needed for a measurement by more than 90 percent. It is now just around three minutes for each disk. As a result, the company is able to inspect each of the 30,000 disks produced every year. "As a manufacturer of medical products, we must be able to provide full information and verify it for every single workpiece. Therefore, we document each quality inspection in each step of production," says Maximilian Fischer, Production Sheet Metal Manager at Agfa. Agfa has set a precedent. Partners and other sites are impressed by the positive experience with the new measuring process.

About the company

Agfa-Gevaert HealthCare GmbH is a leading manufacturer of IT and imaging systems for health facilities. It specializes in digital radiography. The company's product line includes optical disks, on which the radiologist captures the X-rays; the cassette, on which they are stored; and solutions to read out, display and print the images. In Peissenberg, Germany, the company manufactures the carriers for the optical disks, which save the X-ray images.

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