How will NSI software upgrades and software contracts benefit your business?

North Star Imaging Blog

Justin Wisner

Trainer - Applications Specialist

Before I get into the benefits and value of how NSI software contracts will benefit your business, let’s look back at the history of NSI’s software.

  • 2007 – efX-CT
  • 2010 – efX-DR
  • 2011 – 4D CT
  • 2012 – VorteX DR/CT
  • 2014 – SubpiX DR/CT and MosaiX DR/CT
  • 2015 – Automatic Gains
  • 2016 – CT Ring Reduction, Region of Interest, Import Configuration, Automatic Reference X, Automatic Reconstruction
  • 2017 – What’s next?

As you can see over the past 10 years NSI’s proprietary software innovation and development team has been hard at work creating the “Next Big Thing”. The next big thing will make your company run stronger, safer, faster and overall more profitable. Our innovation team is dedicated to listening to you, our customers and developing new technologies to best serve your wants and needs. Each innovation is designed to improve capabilities, increase speed, or downright create a solution the industry has never seen before.

What exactly are NSI’s software modules and what do they do?

efX- DR, our Digital Radiography software is designed to make your business and your team as
efficient as possible. Programmed and repeatable inspection sequences as well as easy to use software and superior image quality lets you focus more on monitoring your product quality while also increasing throughput.

efX-CT, our 3D Computed Tomography software is the easiest to use in the industry. NSI uses five simple steps to quickly guide you through the CT reconstruction process and have you inspecting your product in no time – increasing your quality and efficiency.

VorteX spiral CT and one of the most innovative developments offered in the industry. VorteX is an automated single pass computed tomography scanning technique utilizing spiral acquisition and reconstruction with a digital flat panel detector.

MosaiX utilizes a combination of hardware and a proprietary software algorithm to stitch multiple images forming one seamless image with a much larger field of view. With mosaiX the effective imaging field of view is no longer limited by the detector panel size, and can now be expanded as large as the cabinet can accommodate. The other advantage is that you can increase the magnification factor beyond what is possible with standard imaging.

SubpiX uses a combination of hardware and a proprietary software algorithm to generate images with improved resolution that is typically double of what the detector alone can achieve.

4D CT allows users to reconstruct a complete 3D CT model that includes time and motion, creating a truly dynamic volumetric dataset. Because this technology is based on X-ray, both the internal and external structures of an object are obtained. This new and exciting technology makes it possible to study form, structure and now – function.

Production Module utilizes a simple motion programming method for automated image acquisition. Once the acquisition of an image has been completed the system will automatically send the data over to a review workstation and place it in a que for interpretation. During interpretation, the inspector has the option to Accept, Reject, or send to Engineering Review. Once the disposition of the image has been completed the system can automatically archive the image based on program requirements. The archival can be completed using the DICONDE protocol or simply sending TIFF images to specified folders locally or on a server. ASTM reports can also be generated so you have a better idea of how your system is running in real time.

Automatic Gains acquire the dark field (offset) and light fields (gains) without you being there. Just enter the kV, uA, frame averaging and amount of gains and walk away. This is a great time saver if you are doing gains that take 3 minutes each and you are going to do 10 of them for a total of 30 minutes. Now you have an additional 30 minutes catch up on your email and latest industry news.

Now that you understand some of the major upgrades NSI has made in the past let’s talk about some recent software updates. By the way, the term ‘software update’ is often confused with the term ‘software upgrade’. Though both the terms sound similar, there is a huge difference. A "software update" updates your existing version of the program to the current version, but does not upgrade it to the next major version.

Software updates NSI has recently released include: CT Ring Reduction, Region of Interest (ROI), Import Configuration, Automatic Gains, Automatic Reference X and Automatic Reconstruct.

Ring Reduction utilizes a combination of hardware and a proprietary software algorithm to compensate for the irregular response of the detector pixels during a CT scan. This increases quality by reducing artifacts that can mask indications or be misinterpreted as an indication. Also, it can improve volume surface quality. These benefits do not cost any additional time than a standard scan done without Ring Reduction.

Region of Interest allows the user to select a region of interest (ROI) on the detector that is smaller than the overall detector size. There are several benefits to this including the ability to crop out the “cone effect” or a shutter. One of the other major benefits is that it only saves the data within the ROI thus making the data set smaller when using the ROI tool.

Import Configuration works great if you need to go back into a previous project to change or redo a DR or CT scan. It also works well for repeat DR or CT scans. The software asks you if you would like to load the configuration setup from that project. By selecting “Yes”, efX-DR will automatically import all of the imaging parameters and move the manipulator to the previous location that the original DR or CT scan was acquired at. This feature will save you time and money because you do not have to redo what has already been done.

Automatic Reference X performs an image based calculation do define the proper reference x value. This compensates for any slight variation between the original reference x value and the true value for the CT scan. The reference x adjustment is the most important step during the reconstruction process to provide the best image quality. It is certainly a step that you do not want to skip. You can still override this feature, but that is rarely necessary.

Automatic Reconstruct was made for instances when the same types of parts are being scanned repeatedly. This feature automatically processes the CT projects after each scan is completed. So basically, you teach the software once what the parameters and settings are to be and it remembers that information for the next 10, 100 or 1000 parts. This is huge time saver and money maker, not to mention just downright genius.

What does the NSI software contract include besides software upgrades and updates?

With the NSI software contract you have unlimited phone and remote access to our highly trained technical service team Monday to Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. NSI also offers on-call service staff 24/7 via voicemail.

So basically, the NSI software contract gets you the latest and greatest “Next Big Thing” (within the support limitations of your system) from our innovation team along with phone and remote support from our highly trained technical team. That’s like two for the price of one! Give NSI a call today at 763-463-5658 for a free one on one consultation about making your company run stronger, safer, faster and overall more profitable with a software contract from North Star Imaging.

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