Vidisco’s Xbit Pro Database – The Ideal Tool for Recording and Archiving NDT X-ray Images
By Ron Pincu and Rachel Lieberman
The NDT industry is based on the need to repeat certain types of NDT inspections at predetermined, regular intervals. Whether the item being inspected is a wing, fuselage, pipe, weld, electrical line or any other vital part of a system, international standards determine exactly what form inspections must take and at what intervals. These standards also state how long the images must be kept on record – in some cases up to 7 years.
A company may be required to produce a certain X-ray image months or even years after an inspection. For this reason, an up-to-date archive is a must in the NDT industry.
Routine inspections require repeating the image generating procedures (i.e, exposure time, energy level and the distance between the X-ray to imager).The ability to maintain records of these procedures in the image database facilitates efficient and accurate inspections time after time.
The Drawbacks of Archiving Film X-rays
When using film X–ray, keeping this kind of archive is an expensive and time-consuming task: For one thing, there is a tremendous amount of physical documentation - film X-rays must be stored in environmentally controlled rooms, entailing considerable expense and designated storage areas. In fact, the archiving of film X-rays necessitates the preparation of extensive logistical infrastructure and space.
Additionally, locating a particular X-ray image from among thousands of archived films can be likened to searching for a needle in a haystack.
In the past, once the X-ray film was located there was no way to duplicate it before handing it over to the client – thus, the only available documentation was given to another entity. In recent years, in order to overcome the “one copy only” problem, films have been scanned into digital databases. However, this process is time-consuming and expensive too: Quality scans are costly, and as this is a manual process it is subject to human error.
The Advantages of the Digital X-ray Database
Digital Radiography technology (DR) offers significant advantages when it comes to storing and archiving NDT X-ray images. The X-ray image is transmitted directly from the detector in the form of a diigtal file. Therefore, there is no need to store the images physically and no film to preserve or scan. Thousands of images can be saved on networks, hard disks or external HDD’s with a minimal footprint. Full and regular back-up of all of the X-ray images is easily achieved. Records can be managed with the precision of a computer from the aspect of accuracy and standardization.
In addition, the required X-ray image can be retrieved in seconds, without any kind of physical search. When using Digital Radiography technology, handing over an X-ray image does not entail losing your only copy – images can be copied easily onto various storage implements available on the market and easily shared.
Vidisco’s Xbit Pro Database
Vidisco’s proprietary Xbit Pro software features a sophisticated database that offers you all of the advantages described above and many more: In addition to storing X-ray images, the database also keeps records containing associated annotation files, identifying information (project, location, date and time), and attached files such as technical specs, video shots and external images. The user can also add additional information to the entry such as an analysis, a presentation, a vocal file and more. Using the Annotation tool, the user can even record relevant project details on the image itself. All of the images can be saved in various formats including Dicom, Tif and more.
The database is structured according to project and categories and all of the data is saved in a homogenous file. Thus, required data can be retrieved and exported via a query at any time according to various criteria such as project name, part name, date or location. Once retrieved, the data enables the study and replication of past inspections for future reference and testing.
The Xbit Pro software features outstanding enhancement features including Automatic Averaging, Automatic Window Leveling, Sharpening and more. However, no matter how many enhancements are applied to improve the image’s quality, the original raw image remains intact in the database. The ability to keep and access the original raw image is an absolute necessity in the NDT field.
The Xbit Pro database enables the user to share images with other parties by exporting whole projects. During export, the images remain completely intact and undistorted. Additionally, files can be saved on various drives and hard disks but still remain accessible to an entire network in an organization, including direction to the original location.
The headaches related to film archiving are a thing of the past due to the fact that DR X-ray storage is so fast and uncomplicated. The Xbit Pro database is an outstanding tool that at the click of a button enables the user to easily store and retrieve not only raw and enhanced images, but also a clear, detailed record of all relevant data for present and future use.