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Raising the Bar

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Marcia Stamell As photonics technology reaches greater levels of sophistication, inspection systems are becoming capable of identifying ever-smaller defects at ever-increasing speeds. Consumers and downstream manufacturers benefit from this because the goods they buy are safer and more durable. OEMs benefit because they can find defects earlier in the production process, decreasing costs.

As “Measuring Surface Features With High Resolution in Factory Environments,” points out, improvements in inspection also can change the very nature of what the technology can accomplish. It’s now possible right on the shop floor to quantify features from 2.5 to 2500 microns deep or tall. This greater precision in inspection systems, write Erik Novak and Mike Zecchino of 4D Technology Corp., opens a path for improving the production or repair process itself. That would be a happy example of the tail wagging the dog, and one more indicator of the profoundly beneficial impact photonics technology is having on the way we make things (read article).

Our cover story looks at another striking innovation in inspection and quality control. Dave Kelly and Andres Tamez of Coherix Inc. describe an embedded machine vision solution that enables continuous 360-degree measurement of structural adhesives at the dispensing nozzle. With adhesives coming into more common use in automobile manufacturing, such a real-time 3D bead inspection system increasingly is in demand. You won’t want to miss the valuable informtion in “Embedded Vision Propels Bead Inspection” (read article).

Elsewhere in this issue:

Contributing Editor Hank Hogan surveys some recent advances in quality control that respond to the need for more exact tolerances and more stringent specifications. Among the new techniques he describes are detection by wavelength, the use of polarization and detection involving multiple illumination approaches. “Getting the Picture on Quality Control,” (read article).

Researchers at Fraunhofer IWS give an account of dynamic beam shaping for laser cutting thick metal. This new technique, write Cindy Goppold, Thomas Pinder and Patrick Herwig, uses two superimposed layers of the laser beam. The result, they outline in “Dynamic Beam Shaping Improves Laser Cutting of Thick Steel Plates,” is improved quality and productivity (read article).

Our Picks column gives insights on how to best implement a laser line projection system by analyzing four basic triangulation configurations. Each configuration, writes Coherent Inc.’s Dan Callen, presents different trade-offs concerning such factors as height resolution, occlusion and the type of objects each can best measure. “Configuring a 3D Triangulation Vision System” (read article).

Enjoy the issue.
Jun 2017
EditorialMarcia Stamell

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