Martorell, 25/11/2016. – A man wearing a white lab coat is examining a CT scan: “There aren’t any fractures, it’s perfect”, he says. But today we aren’t in a hospital, and the technician isn’t analysing a chest x-ray or a broken bone; we are in the Quality department of SEAT, where scientific techniques are used to verify the condition of the materials.
Every year a million CT scans and X-rays are carried out. This is high technology that enables us to “extend the service life of the parts and ensure the quality of the materials”, explains materials engineer David Patiño while he picks up a wheel and places in inside the booth.
Just as if it were a medical test, Patiño has the result in under a minute: the material is compact and that ensures its durability. “Not many people are aware of the fact that a single tiny pore only half a millimetre across can cause a dent on this wheel if the driver runs into a kerb. Here we make sure that won’t happen”, he adds.
Using these techniques, which enable parts to be seen in 3D and in cross sections, technicians can analyse from individual metallic material to sets of electronic components. Testing can only be carried out by specialist engineers. A personal dosimeter hangs from David’s lab coat, which would emit a warning signal in the event of exposure to radiation. The safety measures are very strict: “we’re engineers, but we also have a special licence to work with nuclear energy, which is necessary to carry out this work”, he says as he shows us his licence.
Above the ‘radioactive testing’ symbol on the booth, the red light gets turned on again, meaning that a new test is being performed. There’s science behind every detail.