a non-destructive approach to failure analysis, flaw detection, metrology, and 3D modeling



  • Dimensional measurements of features not accessible with traditional optical/tactile instruments
  • Porosity/inclusion analysis (voids)
  • Wall thickness
  • Nominal-actual comparisons
  • Density/material information
  • Defect detection
  • Animation
  • 3D volume to STL model for 3D printing (reverse engineering)

Industries and uses

  • Automotive
  • Aviation / Aerospace
  • Medical
  • Electronics
  • Castings
  • Manufacturing
  • Paleontology / Archaeology

X-ray computed tomography (CT) is a non-destructive imaging technology that allows the user to view, analyze, and measure internal and external structures of components without the need for cutting or disturbing the part. Industrial CT scanners use a powered x-ray source, rotational stage, and an x-ray detector to generate a 360-degree series of hundreds to thousands of angular projections, or radiographs, and these radiographs are reconstructed into a three-dimensional volume during post-scan processing. The final product can be viewed as a 3D volume object or in two-dimensional slices and analyzed in a number of ways, including for dimensional measurements and analysis, defect detection, and material/density information.


The primary advantage of CT is the ability to analyze hidden or non-accessible features and geometries precisely, non-destructively, and relatively fast compared to traditional measuring machines like tactile CMMs. CT data can also be used to create detailed animations and as part of the reverse engineering process – converting a 3D volume to an STL model for 3D printing. CT technology can be applied to a variety of different parts, from metals to plastics to fossilized materials, and the technology is being used today across industries from aerospace to archaeology.


X-ray radiography is a 2D imaging method that gives the user insight into the internal and external geometries of parts immediately and non-destructively. X-rays are projected through a part to visualize internal structures in real time, and images (radiographs) are captured in the area of interest.


Immediate feedback from radiography can be helpful in deciding next steps in inspection processes (such as CT or disassembly), saved as a record of a part in a specific state, and is valuable as an early indicator in the failure analysis and detection process.


Real-time radiography (RTR) capabilities at McSwain allow for viewing internal mechanisms as they function normally or as they are actuated. RTR expands upon the imaging benefits of 2D radiography, letting the user capture and save video as the part operates and/or is moved along the 5 axes. RTR provides the ability to study the internal components of a part in action, immediately and non-destructively. RTR can be displayed side-by-side with video to present internal and external views of the same part as it operates, providing unique insight into complex devices.