Conventional X-ray machines use planar image recording devices, for example, flat panels or phosphor imaging plates (CR). These are usually 43 cm x 43 cm in size. Therefore, to examine a 1.5 m x 1.5 m painting, 16 individual images are required. The detector needs to be repositioned after each image is taken, which is a tedious and laborious job.
After all the individual images have been taken, they have to be stitched together on a PC to form one large overall image. Only then it becomes apparent whether the detector was positioned carefully enough. If not, visible seams, geometric distortions or, in the worst case, even gaps will appear in the overall image.
In our Art X-Ray machines, we use direct digital, high-resolution line-scan X-ray cameras instead of area detectors. The object is X-rayed in a scanning process. For the exposure, the line-scan X-ray camera is moved along the object without touching it, and the connected PC captures the X-ray image line by line.
The length of the line-scan camera defines the height of the X-ray image. Typical for the Art X-Ray machines are line scan cameras with a length of 80 cm. Therefore, one scan can capture the object at a height of 80 cm. The width of the X-ray image is only limited by the width of the machine. Even the smallest Art X-Ray unit offers a width of 1.5 metres.
Let’s look at the example above. The Art X-Ray is to X-ray a painting of 1.5 m x 1.5 m. To start with, the bottom 80 cm of the painting is X-rayed in one single scan. Afterwards, the line-scan X-ray camera is moved upwards on its stand and the upper 80 cm of the painting is X-rayed in the second pass. This results in two long X-ray images which are merged to one large image, fully automatic by just one click in our software. Due to the precise mechanics, the two halves of the image are perfectly parallel with one another, so that there are no visible transitions in the merged X-ray image.
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