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Widening Our Vision

Industrial Photonics
Jan 2017
MARCIA STAMELL, ASSOCIATE MANAGING EDITOR, marcia.stamell @photonics.com


With another holiday season behind us, it’s staggering to think about the number of parcels and packages that passed through shipping facilities around the world in recent weeks. And each one of those parcels had to be sorted — by color, size or bar code.

It’s a job uniquely suited for industrial vision cameras. As we learn in our cover story, “Liquid Lenses Bolster Package Inspection,” by Pixelink’s Shilpa Varghese, many facilities have relied on traditional fixed-focus lens cameras, often requiring multiple units placed next to fast-moving conveyor belts. Use of autofocus cameras with an integrated liquid lens can convey significantly sharper images from less than 2 cm to infinity in less than 20 seconds.

To get the most out of vision systems, picking the right filter can improve contrast, color and subject recognition and otherwise control light reflected from the object under inspection. Don’t miss “Select an Optical Filter to Suit Changing Conditions,” by Barry Warzak of Midwest Optical Systems (read article). It’s the first of a new column we’re calling “Picks,” where we invite industry experts to deliver practical tips on how to best use cutting-edge photonics technologies.

Imaging of another variety is the subject of an article by LightForm’s Jeremy Lerner on the use of wavelength-dispersive hyperspectral imaging microscopy. Too often, potential problems with coatings such as automotive paint stem from interactions of nanoparticles, dyes and pigments at the micron or even submicron scale. Hyperspectral imaging microscopy can catch abnormal changes that could pose “time to failure” problems down the line. Don’t miss “New Imaging Technique Reduces Time to Failure in Auto Paint, Cosmetics” (read article).

Contributing editor James Schlett contributed “Laser Paint Removal Takes Off in Aerospace,” (read article). The laser stripping of aircraft paint is fast moving into commercial use — generating comparatively little harmful waste and replacing environmentally harmful methods such as solvents and abrasives.

Finally, there are some micromachining applications where ultrafast lasers have no equal. Don’t miss “For Glass and Silicon Wafer Cutting, Shorter Pulse Widths Yield Better Results,” by Dirk Müller of Coherent (read article).

January offers the inherent promise of new beginnings. Industrial Photonics wishes you a happy, prosperous and innovative 2017.

PixeLinkMidwest Optical SystemsLightformCoherentMarcia StamellEditorial

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