Scantech Americas Inc. brought a locked cabinet to NPE2012 and opened it to reveal to a select few its new smaller-footprint and “eco-friendly” Ultra-light O-frame scanner, a non-nuclear X-ray scanner for film.
“There's been a push to find replacements for machines using nuclear devices mainly in Asia and Europe, but now it is starting to push into the U.S.,” said Rick Roth, Scantech Americas business development manager.
Roth and Jean-Jacques Florent, president of parent firm Scantech SAS in Chambéry, France, said they are confident their newly developed scanner, which is about one-third the size of Scantech's regular model, will do well.
The ULO scanner series is defined by functionality. The device is built on a compact frame with a non-nuclear X-ray sensor. Measurement sensors are mounted on the sides of the scanning head to avoid the risk of dust or grease falling onto the measured material. The drive system is shielded by the frame and associated covers. The inside of the frame can be lightly pressurized to keep out dust and fibers and can be used in a clean room.
For more complex applications like extrusion coating, multiple scanners can be linked in a daisy chain to share data.
Lastly, the ULO is energy-efficient, with power consumption below 250 watts — less than a small household appliance.
“We have 10 prototypes and we'll be shifting the mission in the next two months” to begin making the new model, Florent said at the show, held April 1-5 in Orlando.
The scanner works with film that can be as thin as 3 microns with widths up to 10 meters. Florent added that it has been used with capacitor film as thin as 1 micron.
The ULO does not require hazardous radioactive sources such as a gamma backscatter, and is manufactured with fewer components, less cabling and more advanced electronics, the firm said.
It can be mounted on a production line from below, suspended from above or installed at an angle of up to 30 degrees. Scanner widths are available in 250-millimeter increments up to 2 meters. Scanners in widths more than 2 meters are offered in 500mm increments.
Machines with radioactive sources are subject to more regulations and require costly disposal, Roth noted.
The company is beginning to expand its French facility and, according to Florent, will boost its size from about 10,800 square feet to about 64,600 square feet in the coming year.
Scantech's 5,000-square-foot U.S. headquarters is in Gaithersburg, Md.