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See Me, Feel Me

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See Me Feel Me_sheilaSelby

My granddaughter loves her Touch and Feel books. They’re filled with fuzzy animals and gaily-coloured creatures. My grandson enjoys jigsaw puzzles, patiently maneuvering the pieces into place by sight and touch. Imagine him doing so while wearing mittens, or that darling girl reading those children’s books with the bits of cloth and plastic shapes removed.

For the past thirty years or so, that’s how shops have been inspecting their parts—measure the hard features with a touch probe, and check everything else with non-contact optics and vision machines. Moving parts between two machines, however, wastes time and sacrifices accuracy.

Carl Zeiss Industrial Metrology LLC looks to change all that. The company claims to have integrated the functions of four machines—profile projector, coordinate measuring machine, contour measuring instrument and microscope—into a single shop floor measuring device.

Long Phan is the product sales manager at Zeiss’s Irvine, CA, office. He says the O-Inspect was designed for shops that need the best of all metrology worlds. “Multi-sensor machines are becoming increasingly popular. Medical, electronics, even oil and gas are calling for smaller and smaller parts, with features that can’t be measured with mechanical probes. As a result, shops are finding there’s a huge advantage in having a machine that offers tactile as well as visual measuring capabilities.”

In these situations, says Phan, shops can utilize the O-Inspect’s adaptive lighting and zoom lens for non-contact measurement, and then switch to Zeiss’s Vast XXT scanning sensor for taking individual points, multi-point form scanning and areas the camera can’t see. With some features—deep ribs, and bores with long length to diameter ratios—a more high-tech approach is needed. “White light provides a spot size of 12 microns, and can measure features impossible to reach with probes or cameras. It’s also an excellent choice for complex 3D structures, and glossy or transparent materials, which are sometimes difficult to measure.”

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