Release of the inspeXio SMX-90CT Plus Micro Focus X-Ray CT System

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3D Observations of 3D-Printed Plastic Parts, Bones, and Teeth, Quickly and Easily

On July 14, Shimadzu will release the inspeXio SMX-90CT Plus Micro Focus X-Ray CT System. With its compact benchtop design, the system is capable of quick, easy, calibration-free 3D observations of plastic parts, bones, teeth, pharmaceuticals and other samples.

A micro focus X-ray CT system observes a sample while rotating it between an X-ray detector and an X-ray generator with a microscopic focus, and then reconstructs the 3D internal structure of the sample based on the obtained data. Such systems are used for a wide range of applications, such as inspecting parts for internal defects, or measuring 3D fiber orientation and shape.

The inspeXio SMX-90CT has been highly regarded as a system that made high-quality CT imaging easy for everyone. This new system enhances the inspeXio SMX-90CT by incorporating the latest High-Performance Computing (HPC) technology, and adding the ability to output images in DICOM format, the world standard for medical imaging. CT images can be now checked immediately after imaging, with the new micro focus X-ray CT system being easier to use.

Background to the Development

In recent years, 3D printers have become commonplace, enabling the manufacture of plastic parts with a 3D internal structure that were impossible to form using conventional machining methods. However, since plastic parts created in this way have a complicated internal structure, it is difficult to determine whether the structure is correct based on external observations. The preparation of blueprints may be difficult depending on the sample, so there is a need for a micro focus X-ray CT system that can quickly and easily observe the internal structure of such plastic parts and samples for which 3D output is required.

In addition, in research fields involving living organisms, bone, and soft tissue, CT imaging is used for observations of bone tissue related to osteoporosis, rheumatism and other diseases using laboratory animals, as well as for the structural analysis of bone reinforcements. In the future, the need for CT systems for organic materials is only expected to increase.

In response to these needs, the inspeXio SMX-90CT Plus provides high-quality CT imaging that is easy to accomplish for anyone, by incorporating as standard Shimadzu's proprietary technology for high-level operability and the HPC inspeXio high-performance computing system, in addition to the basic design that enables the 3D internal structure of samples to be observed easily.

Features of the New System

1. Compact, but Capable of Scanning a Variety of Samples Easily

Although this system is compact enough to be used on a benchtop, it provides a space that exceeds 200 mm both in depth and height, so it can easily accommodate large samples (Max. sample size: 160 mm dia. × H100 mm).

After a sample is placed on the CT stage, the automatic calibration function makes beautiful CT imaging simple for everyone, just by clicking the Start button. In addition to Shimadzu's proprietary shielding design techniques, the system is equipped with a door interlock mechanism, so there are ample countermeasures against X-ray exposure.

2. Equipped with a High-Performance Computing System and a Function to Output Images in DICOM Format

A high-performance computing system based on the latest High-Performance Computing (HPC) technology is included as standard, so processing is approximately 20 times faster (in comparison to previous Shimadzu models). Depending on the scan conditions, the time from completion of data acquisition to the display of data can be reduced from 340 seconds (with previous Shimadzu models) to about 15 seconds. In addition, the scanned image data can be converted to DICOM format, the world standard for medical imaging. As a result, imaging data from the micro focus X-ray CT system can be handled as is by DICOM-compatible software.

3. Optionally Generating STL Data for 3D Printers

Using optional software, you can output imaging data in STL format, which is commonly used by 3D printers. Once a 3D printer has read in data in this format, it can produce 3D output at arbitrary scales, of teeth, food, and other real samples, including the internal structure, for which blueprints cannot be created.

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