Solving Measurement Challenges With Optical Comparators

optical comparators

Certain challenges that simply can’t be solved through other approaches can more easily be remedied through the use of optical measurement… Enter optical comparators.

But why and when is the time to use optical measurement?

As an Example…

For an example of optical measurement in noncontact technology, let’s take a look at an occasion during which the touch probe’s contact might deform or alter a part. Keep in mind, one should still proceed cautiously when using optical measurement. If the camera cannot see a feature, it cannot detect it. This would happen in the case that, behind one feature, another is hidden. This challenge can be met by recently developed and introduced optical comparator systems known as Advanced 5-Axis Digital. This system rotates and tilts parts for better viewing (in a 3-Axis System, the camera would not be able to detect certain features because they are hidden).

Optical Comparators Offer a Singular Solution

A broad range of requirements can be needed in certain applications including the ability to combine, on one platform, general inspection and measurement capabilities. Using optical technology, however, is a tremendous plus. Here’s another example of the benefits offered by vision-based measurement: digital measurements, and the ability to take them, is offered. But so are other types of inspections: i.e., absence/presence detection, surface inspection, recognition and verification of optical character, completeness of assembly verification, pattern matching, verification of color, detection of defects, and more.

When It’s All about Speed

Optical measurements are used for numerous reasons, one of those being the need for speed. Almost instantly, within a single field of few, many accuracy data points can be captured by optical approaches. When compared to touch probe CMM’s, and other contact-based methods, optical approaches are faster.

Some Optical Comparators Offer Automatic Comparisons

Certain optical comparators can not only take care of optical measurement but execute comparisons to the part’s CAD file. In many applications, this is a huge benefit. Particularly when the checking of profile tolerances is required. After a brief set up routine, the system lines up the part to the CAD data along multiple data (or along one); or carries out a best fit overall, where the particular approach to be employed can be specified by the user. A pass/fail CAD auto tool can be employed to automatically compare the CAD file to the part in question.

Can You Combine Solutions in Optical Measurement?

There is a case for the combining of certain technologies and optical measurements in some cases. Compared to using just one technique, this can produce more comprehensive results. Here’s an example of combining laser and vision: allowing for accurate and fast Z-Axis, laser does its job while accurate and fast X, Y-Axis dimensions are provided by the vision portion. Almost instantly, a laser can measure, with amazing accuracy, a part’s depth; while length and width can be measured by vision.

With over 45 years of experience in the field of metrology, inspection, and gauging, Willrich Precision offers everything from the most sophisticated of products used in metrology to basic tools used for measuring. Contact us today to see how we can be of assistance.

by George Chitos

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