Introduction of affordable digital
microscopes is transforming
production practices across a
host of industry.
Microscopes are required across many aspects of industry for inspection purposes. Products coming off electronic, agricultural, medical and automotive production lines need to be carefully scrutinised. Passports need to be manually looked at, PCB and IC’s need to be checked for integrity. And while machine vision can automate the rapid inspection of an ever-expanding spectrum of products, many aspects of this process, the majority in fact, still rely on a look-see from a real human.
Until very recently this meant an operative in, say, an electronics assembly line, looking through an analogue, optic microscope and making a visual judgement on the integrity of the product. This remains the way in which 90% of inspection requiring medium magnification is carried out in the world today because it is affordable and reliable. Operators hunched over into stressful positions, squinting into little holes. This results, inevitably in bad posture and reduced productivity.
The other end of the magnified inspection market involves Advanced Optic Inspection (AOI) machines. These are excellent digital systems in use on automotive production lines and PCB inspections. They capture a magnified image and display that on a screen for indexed inspection and analysis. The one drawback is that AOIs typically cost upwards of 100,000 euros and are not viable for the majority of industrial inspection in which a trained human may suffice.
Now, due to advances in digital camera technology there is a solution from Visus Technology which has created potentially huge market.