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New digital radiological techniques have been developed which may replace classical
techniques in medical and industrial radiology in the coming years. However, a slow
standardization process could hamper the application of these techniques. The rapid
development of proper application guidelines and minimum requirements promotes their
safe and successful application in the industrial sector. Significant differences between
industrial NDT and medical needs and usages have to be considered. Careless application
of techniques which were optimized for medicine may lead to considerably reduced
probability of industrial flaw detection compared to the classical film radiography.
During the last decade, several joint committees have developed European standards on
industrial radiography from the previous national standards. They include guidelines on
the measurement of instrumental parameters, as well as minimum requirements for
instruments, practice and evaluation.
New digital radiological techniques are compared with the potential of classical film
radio-graphy. The major parameters are spatial resolution, contrast sensitivity and optical
density range. Derived from the properties of X-ray NDT film systems and application
ranges minimum requirements are defined. An European standard committee works out a
standard on radiographic film digitization systems. Due to the required international
harmonization the standard reference film is taken over from ASME/ASTM.
Additionally, minimum requirements for digitizer systems are derived. Three system
classes are currently proposed with different requirements for density range, density
contrast sensitivity and spatial resolution.
Good workmanship criteria for industrial radiography were developed during the last
decades in all countries[1]. The corresponding rules are defined in a system of
radiographic standards. But these rules are not harmonized in the different countries,
because of differences in the traditions and training contents. This leads to deviations in
the understanding of requirements for quality and expense of testing. European countries
were forced to spend extraordinary efforts for the harmonization of rules due to the
process of European centralization. The traditional European schools of NDT had to
agree on common standards which allow a harmonized procedure and mutual agreement
of NDT quality and certificates. These standards are generally submitted to ISO on the
basis of the Vienna agreement between ISO and CEN. This provokes a new process of
international harmonization. Nevertheless, we still observe differences in the standards
between USA, Japan, Europe and others, which complicates the international mutual





E 1316

E1165 EN12543,

EN13068- Draft Draft

Source EN12544,
E 1000

IQI's and ist
E142, E592,
E94, E1742

Draft Draft

Welding E1032 EN1435 E1416


Casting E1030 prEN 12681 E1734


Casting, ref.

Steel tubes



[EN 25817/ISO5817]- Quality
levels, EN12062-General




Electronics E431

Table 1: Comparison of most important industrial radiological standards in Europe and USA
A new proposal on "general principles for examination of metallic materials by
Computed Radiography" was worked out in a committee of the German Society of NDT
and has been accepted as European standard project at CEN TC138/WG1. The concept of
the standard is the classification of systems and the definition of minimum requirements
to ensure a certain spatial resolution and contrast sensitivity, which shall be similar to
those as defined by ISO5579 and EN444 (film radiography). It is required to carry out all
measurements with two IQI types, the wire IQI for contrast and the duplex wire IQI for
the spatial resolution. This concept was taken over from the European standard proposal
prEN 13068 for industrial radioscopy. Tables define the minimum wire and duplex wire
read out values in dependence on the testing class, the wall thickness range and radiation
Basic Differences between European and North American Radiography
Of cause there are no differences in Physics on both sides of the world, but traditions and
rules for radiography are quite different. This is due to the historical development and
national specialties.
The most important standards for radiography can be found in tab. 1. In Europe each
radiographer must know the following basic standards:
EN 444 General rules() ISO 5579
EN 1435 Welding
prEN 12681 Foundry (Casting)
The idea behind this standards is: Standards shall guarantee a minimum image quality
by 'Minimum Requirements' for the testing procedure. This is basically:
Contrast- opt. Density, IQI-values, max. X-ray energies,
wall thickness limits for gamma sources
Film system classes-definition of film system classes in dependence on energy
and wall thickness
Unsharpness- minimum focus-object-distances
Handling- Radiation geometries,
Filter, Shielding, Masking, Marking
The radiographic techniques are subdivided in Europe into two classes:
Class A: basic technique;
Class B: improved technique.
Class B technique will be used when class A may be insufficiently sensitive. All test
tasks shall be preferably performed by class A or class B testing.
ASTM standards (E 94, E 1742, E 1032, E1030) do not require testing classes. The
quality of testing is basically defined through the Image Quality Indicator (IQI)
perceptibility, defined by the responsible person of the company (or cognisant
engineering organisation). This IQI's are mostly step hole penetrameters corr. to E 1025.
1997 ASTM issued a standard for wire type IQI's, E747, which corresponds to the old
British standard but does not correspond to the valid European E 462.
The ASTM standards do mainly describe the method and workmanship. They do not
consequently work with minimum requirements. The background is: People widely
believe that testing problems are very different and specific. Therefore, a simple
subdivision into two testing classes was not accepted. For each problem a written
procedure shall define the needed IQI perceptibility and geometric unsharpness. The
standard is the broad basic for all testing tasks. Well educated personal shall carry out the
radiography with a quality corresponding to the requirements.
New Standards on Digital Industrial Radiology (DIR)
Nevertheless, new developments in the field of industrial digital radiology (DIR) open
the opportunity to bring up the discussion about harmonisation of standards on upcoming
technologies. A new tendency of harmonisation can be observed in the field of
qualification standards for old and new methods.
An example for harmonisation in the classical field of radiography is the new set of
standards for classification of industrial X-ray films. Tab.2 shows the comparison of
national and international standards for film classification.
The basic difference in the testing philosophy cannot easily be overridden in the new
field of DIR too. But in principle there exist no obstacles for harmonisation of the
qualification and classification standards for the new methods and new digital equipment.
The new digital detectors (e.g. flat panel detector, like o -Si or o -Se detector, imaging
plates and others ) are world wide conquering NDT-applications. Due to the industrial
globalisation, there exist also a serious need for harmonised standards.
Unfortunately several countries started already own standardisation activities. Also in
USA and Europe different standard proposals were worked out. Since four years common
discussions led to better harmonisation. Beside the classical film radiography three fields
are of importance:
1. Radioscopy
2. Computed Radiography with phosphor imaging plates
3. Film digitisation
All digital methods have the problem, that their spatial resolution is considerably lower
than provided by film radiography. Therefore, it was necessary to have a better measure
for spatial resolution and to measure it separately of contrast resolution. For this purpose
the British duplex wire IQI (CERL B) was included in the European standard EN 462-5
and in the American standard ASTM E 2002-99.
System Class
gradient at
ratio at
granularity at


D=2 above D
D=2 above D


T1 C1 Special T1 4,5 7,5 300 0,018
4,3 7,4 270 0,018
4,1 6,8 180 0,023
C4 4,1 6,8 150 0,028
T3 C5 II T3 3,8 6,4 120 0,032
T4 C6 III T4 3,5 5,0 100 0,039

W-A W-A 3,8 5,7 135 0,027

W-B W-B 3,5 5,0 110 0,032

W-C W-C <3,5 <5,0 80 0,039
Table 2: Definition of film system classes
Here, it should be mentioned that European standards do not accept EPS (Equivalent
Penetrameter Sensitivity). Contrast resolution is measured by wire or step hole
penetrameters. The step hole penetrameter have in Europe only 1T-holes. No 2T and 4T
holes are allowed. Fig. 1 shows the comparison of the wire IQI's.
Fig a: Marking wire IQI/EN
Fig b: Duplex wire IQI/EN 462-5
Fig 1: Image quality indicators. Left: Wire IQI for contrast measurement. Right: Duplex wire IQI for spatial resolution
measurement. Both IQI's are required for radioscopy and Computed Radiography.
The basic new idea is the application of always 2 IQI's for radiological testing with
new digital detectors:
contrast by step hole or wire penetrameters and
spatial resolution by a duplex wire IQI
Radioscopy (RS)
Radioscopy standards have been developed widely independently in ASTM and CEN.
Therefore, these standards show quite cosiderable differences. Especially the new part 3
of the European EN 13068 is based on the testing class system of the EN 444 basis.
EN 13068 is confirmed now in Europe. Part 3 requires to carry out all measurements with
two IQI's, the wire IQI for contrast and the duplex wire IQI for the spatial resolution (fig.
1). Table 3 defines the minimum wire and duplex wire values, depending on the testing
class (SA or SB) and the wall thickness for metallic materials. Another table is given for
light-alloy materials. Advantages of real time testing are considered here.
Testing Class SA Testing Class SB
System Class SC2 System Class SC3

Wire no. Duplex no. Wire no. Duplex no.

Wall thickness

Wall thickness
1.2 - 2.0 mm W17 11D W19 13D -1.5 mm
2.0 - 3.5 mm W16 10D W18 12D 1.5 - 2.5 mm
3.5 - 5.0 mm W15 9D W17 11D 2.5 - 4.0 mm
5.0 - 7.0 mm W14 8D W16 10D 4.0 - 6.0 mm
7.0 - 10 mm W13 7D W15 9D 6.0 - 8.0 mm
10 - 15 mm W12 7D W14 9D 8.0 - 12 mm
15 - 25 mm W11 7D W13 9D 12 - 20 mm
25 - 32 mm W10 7D W12 9D 20 - 30 mm
32 - 40 mm W9 7D W11 9D 30 - 35 mm
40 - 55 mm W8 7D W10 9D 35 - 45 mm
55 - 85 mm W7 6D W9 9D 45 - 65 mm
Table 3: System performance for metallic materials testing class SA and SB
The equipment is subdivided into three system classes SC1 - SC3, which depend on the
test problem. Lower requirements for spatial resolution than in film radiography (EN 444,
ISO 5579) are compensated by increased requirements for contrast.
Computed Radiography (CR)
ASTM has already issued two standard part on CR. The part "Qualification of CR" is
under development [3]. A new proposal on "General Principles for Examination of
Metallic Materials by Computed Radiography" has been developed in a committee of the
German Society for NDT. Again, the concept of the standard is the definition of
minimum requirements to ensure a certain spatial resolution and contrast which should be
similar to the requirements of the EN444 (or ISO5579). In analogy to radioscopy,
measurements are needed with two IQI's, the wire IQI for contrast and the duplex wire
IQI for the spatial resolution (figure 1). Table 4 defines the minimum wire and duplex
wire values depending on the testing class (IPA or IPB), the wall thickness and radiation
energy. The values were derived from the measured film unsharpness as function of
energy and the geometric unsharpness corresponding to the wall thickness, on the basis of
EN 444 and ISO 5579. The requirements for spatial resolutions are higher than those for
radioscopy and are similar to film digitization.
Radiation source
Wall thickness
w [mm]
Class IPA Class IPB

Max. Pixel[1]
Size [m]
Double wire
Max. Pixel[1]
size [m]
Double wire
X-ray Up s 50 kV
w < 4 40 > 13[3] 30 >> 13[4]
4 s w 60 13 40 > 13[3]
50 < Up s150 kV
w < 4 60 13 30 >> 13[4]
4 s w < 12 70 12 40 > 13[3]
w > 12 85 11 60 13
150 < Up s 250 kV
w < 4 60 13 30 >> 13[4]
4 s w < 12 70 12 40 > 13[3]
w > 12 85 11 60 13
250 < Up s350 kV
12 s w < 50 110 10 70 12
w > 50 125 9 110 10
350 < Up < 450 kV
w < 50 125 9 85 11
w > 50 160 8 110 10
Yb 169,Tm 170

85 11 60 13
Se 75, Ir 192
w < 40 160 8 110 10
w > 40 200 7 125 9
Co 60

250 6 200 7
X-ray Up > 1MeV

250 6 200 7
1. If magnification technique is used, duplex wire IQI-readout is required
2. The given IQI-numbers indicate the readout value of the first
unresolved wire pair corr. to EN 462-5.
3. The symbol ">13" requires the 13th wire pair to be resolved.
4. The ">>13" is not readable with the double wire IQI corr. To EN 462-
5. Up - Tube voltage.
Table 4: Required spatial system resolution in dependence on energy and wall thickness
Phosphor imaging plate system classes are derived from EN584 (or ISO 11699, ASTM
E1815-96, JIS K 7627-97) on the basis of the Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) (see Table 6).
Detailed guidelines are given on how to determine the exposure time to provide the
specified SNR. Even with the same CR-phosphor imaging plate (IP) and scanner,
different IP-classes can be obtained by using different exposure times, if the homogeneity
of the phosphor layer is
sufficient. Furthermore, a minimum lead filter thickness is specified to reduce the
influence of scattered radiation (table 5), which is generally more intensive than for X-ray

100KeV 200KeV 300KeV 400KeV Ir-192 Co-60
Screen for film
27 m
27 m
100 m
100 m
100 m
500 m
Screen for IP's
100 m
100 m
200 m
300 m
350 m
1 mm Pb
0.5 mm Fe
Specific contrast for
IP's to film
100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 80%
Table 5: Equivalent screen thickness for IP's(BAS III)
IP System classes
System class
Signal-noise ratio
IP 2 110
IP 3 90
IP 4 70
IP 5 60
IP 6 50
Table 6: IP-scanner system classes, depending on the
minimum SNR
Further activities for DIR-standardization are the "standard data format" and "Computed
Tomography". The standard data format was the attempt to unify and simplify the
manifold of available data formats for NDT technology. This is a very difficult task,
because different data formats are already installed in a variety of equipment and used for
different applications. The original intend to develop a standard was changed to the
publication of a technical CEN report "Generic NDE data format model" published under
CEN-CR13935. The ASTM has opened a new project with a similar goal. The data
format DICOM, which is widely used in medical applications, shall be modified to NDT-
applications under the name DICONDE based on the CEN data model.
Computed Tomography (CT)
CT is a method which is routinely used in medicine. Now it can be observed that CT
becomes a more and more established method for NDT-applications. Therefore,
corresponding standards were developed during the last fife years by ASTM.
The following ASTM - Standards are valid:
CT Examination E 1570-95a
CT Examination of Castings E 1814-96
Measurement of CT System Performance E 1695-95
CT Imaging E 1441-97
CT System Selection E 1672-95
Calibrating and Measuring CT Density E 1935-97
X-Ray Compton Scatter Tomography E 1931-97
The most of these standards were submitted to ISO.
Film Digitisation (FD)
FD is used for different reasons. The applications of image processing, quantitative
analysis, and archiving are the most important tasks. While PC-based image scanners are
available for paper images, transparencies and slides in a wide variety and at low prices,
they are generally not suitable for X-ray film scanning. Industrial X-ray films are used
with optical densities up to 4 and sometimes up to 5. Only a few available scanners are
able to cover that density range. Furthermore, the NDT X-ray films are characterized by a
high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) which is defined in EN 584, ISO 11699, ASTM E1815-
96 and JIS 7627-97 by maximum granularity values related to an optical density of 2
(above fog). A suitable digitizer must not only be able to reach the density of 4 or 5, it
also must not increase the image noise by its own detector noise.
Beside the requirements for maximum density and SNR, X-ray films require a very high
spatial resolution. The limiting structure for very low X-ray energies is the grain size of
the photoactive silver based crystals, which is below 1 m. This is particularly important
for micro radiography. General NDT applications require X-ray energies between 50 and
12000 keV. In medicine, the application range is normally below 150 keV only. Due to
this large energy range for NDT radiography, it was decided to reduce the requirements
for spatial resolution to the unsharpness which is caused by interaction of high energy X-
rays with the screen film system. Measured functions provide unsharpness values
between 30 and 800 m (Klasens criterion), depending on the energy and the screen film
system. Based on these measurements, the following tables define the minimum
requirements. Table 7 defines the minimum working range of the radiographic film
digitization system[2]. In this working range, the digitizer shall provide an optical density
contrast sensitivity AD
which is AD
s 0.02 O.D. The minimum digital resolution is
given for all devices converting the digital value proportional to the optical density. If the
digital value is converted proportional to the light intensity, the digital resolution must be
increased by at least 2 additional bits.

Class DS Class DB Class DA
density range
0.5 - 4.5 0.5 - 4.0 0.5 - 3.5
digital resolution [bit] > 12 > 10 > 10
density contrast sensitivity ADCS within DR s0.02 s0.02 s0.02
Table 7: Minimum density range of the radiographic digitisation system with a minimum density contrast
Table 8 specifies the minimum spatial resolution as a function of the X-ray energy.
Energy Class DS Class DB Class DA
Pixel size
MTF 20 %
Pixel size
MTF 20 %
Pixel size
MTF 20 %
s100 15 16.7 50 5 70 3.6
s 200 30 8.3 70 3,6 85 3
s 450 60 4.2 85 3 100 2.5
Se-75, Ir-192 100 2.5 125 2 150 1.7
Co-60 200 1.25 250 1 250 1
Table 8: Proposed minimum spatial resolution of film digitisation systems
On the basis of the image quality of film radiography and the state of the art of digitizing
systems, the committee has defined three quality classes; DA, DB and DC. The user may
select the testing class based on the needs of the problem:
DS - the enhanced technique, which performs the digitisation with an insignificant
reduction of signal-to-noise-ratio and spatial resolution,
Application field : digital archiving of films (digital storage)
DB -the enhanced technique, which permits some reduction of image quality,
Application field : digital analysis of films, films have to be archived,
DA -the basic technique, which permits some reduction of image quality and further
reduced spatial resolution, meeting the needs of radiographs according to ISO 5579 and
EN 444 class A above 5 mm wall thickness.
Due to the required international harmonization, the standard reference film is taken over
from ASTM for test and evaluation as well as for long term stability tests of digitizers.
Each radiographic film digitization system for NDT applications shall be identified with
all working ranges of optical densities. It shall be classified corresponding to table 7 and
the maximum MTF 20 % value, which can be performed by this system. So for instance,
a digitization system of class DS 5 can be applied for archiving of radiographs taken with
X-rays above 200 keV or gamma-rays and can be applied for all class DB and DA
digitization tasks.
1. U. Ewert, H. Heidt, Current Status of European Radiological Standards for NDT, ASNT
spring conference and IIW micro symposium, Orlando, 03/22-03/27, 1999, proceedings
p. 171-173.
2. U. Zscherpel, Internet page: Standardization of fundamental parameters of radiography
digitizers at
3. U. Ewert, Internet page: Standardization of Computed Radiography - IP in Radiology at