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Because an RTR system requires a number of system components, it generally costs more than a film radiography setup. The RTR systems are generally self-contained. In other words, the parts come into one area, are X-rayed, imaged, and dispositioned all in the same area.

In film radiography, the part or source of radiation is brought to an area that may or may not be shielded. If not shielded, then precautions must be taken to protect personnel against radiation hazard. This may mean loss of production time if personnel must leave the area. The part is X-rayed with the use of film and the film is developed a darkroom where manual or automatic processing can take place. Real-time radiography usually takes place in a cabinet designed to keep exposure to radiation within regulations and so the operator and others can work in proximity to the unit. This eliminates the loss of production time. Also, since there is no darkroom needed to develop film, RTR save floor space. With RTR, there are no hazardous film developing chemicals to dispose of.

Depending on what is to be inspected and the resolution needed, RTR systems consist of various components. Cost depends on how elaborate the system is and can run from approximately $50,000 to more than $200,000. Some microfocus X-ray tubes can cost more than $100,000 apiece. To learn the exact cost of systems or components, the manufacturer must be contacted.