Creative ElectronGET A DEMO

X-ray News

Fireside Chat: To PM, or not to PM: Is that Really the Question?

Creative Electron’s David Phillips was this week’s pyromaniac, with To PM, or not to PM: Is that Really the Question?  While the answer seems obvious, some of the benefits of preventative maintenance are not.

The primary reason for regular preventative maintenance, of course, is safety, but David shares the many other advantages, such as maintaining original factory specs, and the value of additional operator training.  Watch the video to get all of his tips, and register for upcoming Fireside Chats with the Xperts here.

 

Transcript:

Dave Phillips:

Okay. Thank you. Hi and welcome back. I hope some of you’ve joined us before, and again, my name is David Phillips. I’m the VP of customer care with Creative Electron. And again, the title of our chat today is to PM or not to PM, is that really a question? And to give you the hint, it’s not a question, we’re going to answer that, but yes, you always want a PM. So let’s get right into the presentation and then we’ll take some questions at the end.

Dave Phillips:

So let’s define what a PM or preventative maintenance is, and a preventative maintenance service is very similar to a tune-up and a safety check on your car. Sometimes we use that acronym and people say what’s a PM. So in a car, you’re looking at the fuel system, the emissions, the ignition, the cooling system, the body, and making sure it’s all performing correctly. With an X-ray system, a cabinet X-ray system, we’re looking at the cabinet, the frame, the integrity. We’re looking at the X-ray source, we’re looking at the detector, the camera, the image processor, and then also the manipulator, the sample you’re looking at. So all of these systems work similar, and we’re looking to do a tune up on it, and then we’re going to do a safety check and make sure it works to specifications.

Dave Phillips:

So some of the TruView cabinets X-ray systems that you might be familiar with are what we manufacture, the TruView currently, we have the Cube, which is a small desktop unit, which has a 6 x 6 inch sample size and manipulator. Then we have its big brother right next to it, TruView Prime, which is a tabletop unit also, or it can be placed on a cart. And that has the ability to have a sample up to 12 x 12 inches, uses a flat panel detector, as opposed to that smaller Cube where we use an image intensifier. Then we have our floor model unit, the Fusion, which holds standard sample of 20 x 24 on that. All of these systems have the ability to use different variations of x-ray source power, so we can use anywhere from 80 to 150kV systems in the Fusion, Prime, 80 to 130, and that Cube, 80 to 90kV. And then we have off to the right, our Parts Counter, which does inventory control, it counts reels.

Dave Phillips:

Some of the legacy systems you might be familiar with, or we’ve done a PM, or you’ve seen before are pictured here. So over to the left, the FocalSpot systems, which I originally came from, and FocalSpot was purchased by Creative Electron in 2016, and became part of the Creative Electronic family. There’s about 300 plus of these systems out there, the Verifier and the Insight series, and a few little variations of that. A very popular model in the 90s, was the Nicolet X-ray systems, this is kind of the Kleenex of X-ray systems that all of your contract manufacturers and bigger OEMs on this, and there’s probably about 3,500 of those systems.

Dave Phillips:

Down towards the bottom on the left, you have the Glenbrook RTX series, which is a very popular low cost system. You have the CR Technology in the late 90s, with their CRX-2000, and then a similar unit, the Faxitron to the Nicolet x-ray imaging systems. So again, I just wanted to point these systems out that may have been serviced by you, or you have it, or you have questions on that, and then we provide service.

Dave Phillips:

So on a preventative maintenance, the main thing we want to talk about… Well, the utmost, at the top of the list, is safety. So we want to make sure the cabinet is radiation safe. So if you take a look over onto the right, you see a lead door on an old Nicolet system with cracked lead, some delamination. So this may compromise the integrity of the cabinet and expose the user or the operator to something that’s not radiation safe. We use, on most of these systems, they have a leaded glass window. So if the glass is cracked, that again, can compromise the integrity of the system and to have a radiation issue.

Dave Phillips:

And off to the left, we have one of our Creative Electron systems, where this system was actually dropped from a second story storage bay, and it’s actually listing to the left, so this cabinet has been compromised. So again, safety, we want to ensure all the cabinets, the integrity of the lead and the construction is intact and not causing any issues. That term ALARA on the top, that’s as low as reasonably achievable, so we’re always making sure in cabinet X-ray systems that the system is, with concern to exposure radiation, is as low as reasonably achievable.

Dave Phillips:

Continuing on to safety. We talk about safety, all of the interlocks of the systems. So the system has, on a door, it’s required to have dual interlocks, if either of those interlocks fails, the X-ray system can’t be energized. We will want to make sure that those both are working correctly when the door is open, if the door is open, the X-ray is cut off immediately. We have proper grounding, and this is electrical grounding for the system, to prevent electrical shocks, and also we have grounding for ESD devices to make sure that they’re not damaged.

Dave Phillips:

We want to make sure the e-stop works, that turns off the X-rays. We want to make sure they x-ray on and off buttons work, the indicator lights on the control panel, on the tower work, and the motion safety. And that would be motion safety more on the manipulator, if the manipulator needs to stop when the doors open. Or it can’t be moved such as when conveyors could require a pinch hazard or somebody could place an arm or leg into the X-ray system and have some unduly exposure.

Dave Phillips:

So on our cabinet X-ray systems, this is the regulatory requirements that in the US falls under the Food and Drug Administration. And this happens to be, for code of federal regulations, Title 21 1020.40. And this defines what a cabinet X-ray system is, okay, what the safety requirements, and what the radiation exposure limits. I’ve also included a link to that, after if you want to take a look at it, it has the four page document. And again, it talks about the regulatory requirements of a cabinet X-ray system. And to sum it up, FDA requirements for preventative maintenance, we do yearly radiation checks and follow the manufacturer’s recommended schedule. So we happen to be a manufacturer, we do recommend an annual PM and radiation survey, but a lot of our customers are looking at doing it semi-annually or even the quarterly, depending on the usage of the machine and their internal safety requirements.

Dave Phillips:

Radiation limit within the US, based on these FDA requirements, is 0.5 mR at 5cm from the surface of the cabinet, using a radiation survey in the air. It needs to have an X-ray on light, that dual interlock on the door that we discussed, both working independently, an emergency stop, stop the X-ray source from emitting X-rays or X-ray photons and radiation, and a removable on off key to make sure somebody doesn’t use unauthorized use of the system.

Dave Phillips:

As we talked about the federal regulations, we have examples of State requirements, and most of the States follow the federal regulations, and they may be more restrictive also, too, just based on their Department of Health and what they feel is safe. So I’ve actually put a posting of a violation, and it shows two of the State requirements in California, and this was an actual customer and we blotted out the name, but to show you what some of the violations, and the States actually do these inspections. So this is a Title 17 Section 30337, and if you can see on the third paragraph in A, this system didn’t meet the radiation requirements of the 0.5 mR/hr, and it was a violation.

Dave Phillips:

The second one was, they didn’t test the interlock annually to ensure that the function, so these were two violations, there’s several more pages. So if they didn’t keep their preventative maintenance up, you can look at a possible violation. So we came in, corrected these, and then they were able to resubmit, and then start make repairs. Resubmit the violations, and say they were corrected, provided a corrective action, and then began to use the system again.

Dave Phillips:

So after we’ve talked about the PM and the radiation survey, we talked about what we actually do on each section when we do that preventative maintenance. So we’ll look at a cabinet inspection, the control panel user interface, the electrical tests, the motion and manipulator conveyors testing, X-ray imaging train, again the safety interlocks, and then radiation survey. And then if we have time after we’ve done all of the preventative maintenance, what we like to do is give the user training, and operator.

Dave Phillips:

So again, on that PM and radiation survey, the task we’re looking at, are we looking at that cabinet, we’re looking for the entire cabinet, top to bottom, cracks and damages, lead delamination. So if you look at this cabinet that had been dropped, we can see in that area where the lead, a layer between the two steel, is no longer connected and also bent, so we know there’s an issue there. Obviously this is a gross issue on that, but we want to see a lead delamination, maybe lead has been welded or has adhesive and it’s being removed or falling down.

Dave Phillips:

And so we want to make sure that, again, the integrity of the cabinet, to avoid any unnecessary radiation exposure, and that within those limits. The control panel, on the bottom you’ll see a graphical user interface with one of our TruView systems. This over here, you can see the X-ray on indicator on the computer, it’ll also have a tower light, but you can see the kV and the mA readouts for the source, and then also the X-ray on off, and then the manipulation control, so we want to make sure all of those to work correctly.

Dave Phillips:

Once we’ve checked that on the system, we’re going to do an electrical test. So first thing we’re going to do is grounding. We’re going to make sure the system’s electrically grounded correctly, so we prevent any electrical shocks. And then also, we’re going to test the system for ESD grounding to make sure we don’t damage any components that we’re inspecting. After we’ve done our grounding tests, we look at source voltage checks, so we’re looking at the X-ray source and we’re going to test the power supply to make sure it’s getting a constant voltage to the X-ray resource. If we’re not getting a constant voltage, we can see the X-ray source flash back and forth, like a light bulb where you’re not getting constant power.

Dave Phillips:

So this picture to the right, on the top, with the digital volt measure, which shows a 12V DC. And what we’re testing is actually the connection from the power supply on the cable to the x-ray source, and testing that there is a constant 12V, and then we’re also actually testing on several other pins to see that 12V turns on and off, basically, when the interlocks are interrupted. So motion in the manipulator, down on the bottom, we’re looking at limit switches for the X-Y stage sample motion and Z axis.

Dave Phillips:

So this is one of our prime cabinets of the internal, there’s a limit switch as it moves to the far left or the far right, that X-Y limit switch stops it, keeps it from moving into a hard stop, causing any kind of problems or running into something that it’s not supposed to. We also have a Z axis, usually on systems where the Z axis either moves the detector up and down or the source or both, and we want to make sure all of those limit switches work correctly. And that the motion is safe on that, and there are not points or a hazard where somebody could be injured.

Dave Phillips:

A big thing too, again, safety interlocks, it always comes back to interlocks, do the X-rays turn off when the door or the sample doors open. So, again, as I pointed out earlier, we were talking about those interlocks, this happens to be on a legacy Verifier system, in the top left corner of the opening of the door, it shows a push button interlock. And then on the bottom, you have the door BRH, which goes to the high voltage of the X-ray source. Both of those have to, again, be engaged for the X-rays to energize. If the door is open, the X-rays turn off immediately, you need a current, and a voltage, and that shuts that off immediately. They work independently, but they both have to be engaged for the X-ray source to turn on, that’s a dual interlock system, it is a fail safe. And then we also talk about panels, if there are panels on the system that can be accessed, those panels have interlocks on them, those want to be tested too, and then they shut off the X-rays immediately if that panel is open and it’s a hazard.

Dave Phillips:

So we’ve got the safety portion out of the way, or the safety for the cabinet, and we wanted to talk about the resolution of the system, so we wanted to make sure the system is performing to its original specifications. So over on the right side, we have this labeled line pair gauge. What a line pair gauge is, is a gauge that has line pairs per millimeter, as at the top, those lines move down, as you can see, they get smaller and smaller on that with the number down to the 20 as they converge. And you can see farther down that line pair gauge, you have the higher resolution. In cabinet X-ray systems, we measure resolution by line pairs per millimeter, and most all systems have a specification of line pairs per millimeter. So when we do a PM, or a service technician does a PM, we do a line pair resolution.

Dave Phillips:

We use that and we do it before we start the PM, and then we do it after to see if there’s any changes or we can make improvements, also to make sure it’s working in specifications. We archive these images annually, or semi-annually depending on your PM. When we archive those images, we can see if there’s any degradation from year to year from the PM services, and that might be a cause of an X-ray source, a detector, a camera system that’s not operating to specification. We also want to make sure the X-ray source is aligned or in alignment. So from the X-ray source to the detector, that they’re in line, meaning if we look at something, an object in the center of the screen, that if it’s around object that appears round, it doesn’t appear elliptical or deformed on that. That could be an indicator that the X-ray tube and the detector are not aligned or they’re offset. We don’t want that, we want to have objects appear as true shapes.

Dave Phillips:

And then finally, what we look at in this, is we look at a clean image. And the clean image, if you look at the center image here where it says burned detector, we want to make sure there’s no artifacts that could obscure the sample that the operator is looking at. Well, this happens to be, this image, the X-rays were turned on for a very long time, and it has a burned circle and a dark circle in the center of the phosphor of the image intensifier. So if you were to look at an image on this, you would always see this shadow. Similar to a burning when you burn an image that stayed on a CRT monitor for a long time. So this won’t ever be able to be removed, and it’ll make it very difficult to do any inspection in the center of the screen. So we want to make sure, like I said, that the image, when there’s no sample in there, is clean and free of artifacts.

Dave Phillips:

And finally, in our PM or the portion where we’re doing task, we’re going to do a radiation survey. We want to make sure it follows that code of federal regulations, 1020.40, and the radiation limit is less than 0.5 mR/hr at 5cm from any surface on the cabinet. So we use a radiation survey, this happens to be a Fluke 451P Ion Chamber that we use to survey it. As we also use what we call a Rat IgG on that. And to the right of it, we have an actual radiation survey for one of our TruView Prime systems, where we’re looking at 22 points of the system, that meaning the top, front, back, left, right, and bottom, and we’re exposing or we’re doing a radiation survey with the X-ray source at max power, max current. And then we do an entire cabinet and then measure each of those points, making sure that all of them are below that legal limit of 0.5 mR/hr.

Dave Phillips:

What we find in our cabinets, in most legacy systems, is that we are actually looking at ambient or background radiation. If you were put in place through radiation survey meter at next of cabinet, at the five centimeter mark, you are going to see no change whether you moved it outside, and the same ambient radiation that you’re getting. So cabinet X-ray systems are very safe on that, as the exposure compared to, say you were to go to the dentist and give an X-ray of your tooth, or go to a doctor and have a chest X-ray where the X-ray photons and the radiation are penetrating through your body.

Dave Phillips:

After that, we’ve completed the task on this system. If we have time, what we’d like to do is do X-ray training for the operators. And what we do with that is we explain, again, the X-ray theory, where the X-ray tube is located, how the manipulator works, how the X-rays pass through the part, creating X-ray photons, creating a shadow on a detector, either an image intensifier or flat panel detector. That’s turned into a gray level scale, either digitized or picked up by a CCD camera, and then piped over to an image processor. The image processor then takes that and puts that into real time, where a user or operator can look at the images and look for possible defects or issues, or also do measurements.

Dave Phillips:

So we go through that with this training, and basically a refresher on how to use this system, and if they have any questions on safety or any questions about the system in general. But we also like to take their samples and put them in the X-ray system, or what they’re using to inspect, and give them a little reeducation on how to inspect those or how to best techniques. And then we also sometimes learn a lot from how they inspect them, that maybe we can use that in other system training.

Dave Phillips:

So if for some reason, during this process, the system needs a repair or an upgrade, as we said, maybe the X-ray source is not performing to the correct specification, we can do a replacement or we could do an upgrade depending on how the system and the cabinets configure. We can also talk about replacing a detector and a camera, as we saw that burn image on that image intensifier, this happens to be the image intensifier right here, that burn image, that’s not going to be repair and we would recommend replacing that if the customer continues to use it in that inspection. We can replace the CCD camera or the flat panel detector, depending on resolution or what the customer needs.

Dave Phillips:

And finally, of course, the safety repair parts. That if an interlock’s not working, we need to replace that immediately so it meets specifications, and meets both the state requirements and federal requirements for safety. We replace control boards so the system works properly, wiring harnesses, and motors, so all of those safety or repair parts that need to be replaced to make the system work to specifications and operate safely.

Dave Phillips:

And finally, we talk about upgrades. So a lot of the systems I had spoke to this before in my last presentation, a lot of these legacy systems we have are running Windows XP, seven, eight, and aren’t compatible with the network that’s currently being used, so they need to upgrade to a Windows 10 system. So that gives us the network compatibility, we also give you the improved analysis, improved archiving with the Windows 10 platform, and newer features on that, so sometimes we talk about upgrading the image processor. And then finally, you can able to track your time spent on your TPS reports.

Dave Phillips:

So with that being said, to PM or not to PM, this really isn’t a question. Yes, you want to PM. The question is, is your PM current? And if not, why? And you can reach out to me again, I put this for more office space references I use the same one, so I hope somebody got it this time. I know Bill got it. And you can reach out to me dphillips@creativeelectron.com, our support team at creativeelectron.com, and our phone number. So we’re ready to take any questions, and I thank you for your time.

Dr. Bill Cardoso:

Thanks, Dave. Actually have a few questions here on the chat line. First one is, can we buy our meter on eBay? I think this reader is saying that he’s seen meters of several different prices, and he’s wondering which one works, or if or any of them work for an X-ray machine.

Dave Phillips:

Well, I can’t say what the performance of each one, just depending on is. I would be very leery of buying something on eBay. We actually have a presentation about compensated survey meters and what the proper one is. They do need to be annually calibrated, and by a certified traceable calibration house, which we do on that. So like I said, it’s kind of like buying a used car, and if it’s not the proper meter, I think buyer beware caveat emptor on that. Like I said, this is where you want to buy from the manufacturer.

Dr. Bill Cardoso:

Right, so give you a call if they decide to buy a meter to look at X-ray?

Dave Phillips:

Yeah, yeah. It’s a very important… And we’re talking about safety. And if you’re audited, like I said, I showed you what that State, you don’t have the proper meter and it’s not calibrated, then there’s another violation.

Dr. Bill Cardoso:

Okay. Another question, the regulations that you mentioned earlier in US, are they the same internationally or the vary country by country?

Dave Phillips:

They vary country by country. In general, this is a generalization, but Europe, the regulatory requirements, usually they have a CE or TUV and they audit it and it can be country by country, and also they use sieverts for their measurement. And just in general, a lot of the countries use a one microsievert for their radiation exposure. And like I said, in Mexico, they’re using 10cm from the surface as opposed to 5cm. So like I said, it is going to vary from country to country.

Dr. Bill Cardoso:

Okay, but that’s something you take into consideration.

Dave Phillips:

Yeah, absolutely. Depending, if we’re doing PMs in a specific country, we go to their regulations and make sure we’re up to date on that.

Dr. Bill Cardoso:

Cool, thank you. One more question here, what you do if equipment has cracked window? I hope it’s something you cover, hopefully it’s not happening to the person who asked the question. But what do you do if you have a cracked window?

Dave Phillips:

The cracked window… So cracked window, just from in general, I wouldn’t use the system until it’s been tested. What we do see is that X-ray glass is, that leaded glass is kind of soft, so I do see scratches on that. Superficial, but if it’s cracked all the way through, you don’t want to use it, if that’s a safety hazard, yeah, don’t do it.

Dr. Bill Cardoso:

Yeah. And same also goes to interlock issues, right? Doors and are closing properly, just call us, right?

Dave Phillips:

So yeah, call us. Yeah, call the professionals. There’s no reason to do that. And I mean, you looking at safety and liability, safety of the users and then liability at some point too on that, so it’s a snowball effect.

Dr. Bill Cardoso:

Yeah. All right. Thanks so much for your time, Dave, it was great. Always great, appreciate sharing all this information with us. I hope you guys watching had a chance to learn a few things from Dave. And again, if you want to learn more, or if you have a system that needs a PM or need some maintenance, he’s the guy you want to call. We’re going to have another Fireside Chat with the Xperts next week, Wednesday 10 o’clock in the morning, Pacific Time, so don’t forget you tune in. And this presentation and Dave’s talks are going to be available on YouTube soon, so go ahead and check back on our website. Thanks so much and have a great Wednesday. Bye-bye.

Dave Phillips:

All right, thanks everyone. Have a great day. Bye.

Speaker 3:

Creative Electron.