Day: January 26, 2019

Optics How-to: The Makings of a Successful Imaging Lens

Imaging and machine vision technology is under more pressure than ever to meet the increasingly demanding needs of a diverse set of markets, and truly understanding imaging is becoming quite the valuable skill. The first part of this article series reviewed how to create a specification to meet your application need and finding the proper balance between cost, development time, system size, and weight. In part two, we reviewed how those earlier decisions translate into a design and the possible trade-offs between performance-based specifications that could be required. Finding balance between the perfect nominal design and a design that can be manufactured is critical. Finally, in this article we will cover lens testing methodology and creating alignment between validating your desired performance and your suppliers production and testing processes.


Once you have your final lens design, it is critical to set proper expectations with your supplier about everything that will happen next before you cut the orders for prototypes or production units. In the earlier parts of this series, we saw that there are many details required to create your full lens specification. The specification document for your project could be 50 or 100 entries long. What is your expectation about testing every line in that matrix? Do you actually desire or require testing on only a few critical parameters? Do you want detailed, highly granular testing reports, or is pass/fail data sufficient? Is the testing methodology, philosophy, and equipment utilized important to end goals?

Taking the time to answer these questions now can prevent issues and delays from occurring later. Make sure you and your supplier have a detailed, written understanding of how you will both validate that the supplier delivered what you both agreed to at the end of the design process…

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Image: Interferometry is used to quantify the surface accuracy of individual glass components.

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Students Schooled on Careers in NDT and Manufacturing

Current worker shortages nationwide have begun changing community conversations about the future of the next generation and the value of trade-based occupations, according to Kate Lufkin with the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce. On Wednesday, Flathead High School sophomores, juniors and seniors got the opportunity to explore some of those trades through hands-on learning with professors at Flathead Valley Community College and tours of local businesses.

Dubbed “Pursuing the Trades,” the event, organized by Lufkin, Mike Kelly of the Flathead High School Career Center and the Occupational Trades Department at FVCC, offered an educational first look at some potential careers for the students selected to attend.

“I dare you to look around and find something that wasnt manufactured,” Lufkin said. “You cant do it. Everything has to be made and somebody has to make it.”

Todays job market, according to Lufkin, supports seven trade jobs for every one position that requires a masters degree.

The majority of the students in attendance, according to Lufkin, expressed little to no interest in pursuing a college career, but show aptitude and interest in more vocational skills.

FVCC offered a unique opportunity for those students to learn about some of the training, equipment and real-life applications for trades such as welding, heavy equipment operation and electrical work…

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Eckhart Acquires PRI Robotics & Automation

Eckhart, Inc. announced today that it has acquired PRI Robotics & Automation, a specialty robotic systems integrator located in Plymouth, Minnesota. Eckhart is an Industry 4.0 leader that designs, builds, and integrates turn-key systems for the largest industrial companies in the world. Eckharts suite of solutions includes AUTOCRAFT autonomous guided vehicles, collaborative robotics, 3D printing, automated conveyance & assembly systems, mechanical & electrical design services, simulation, and specialized ergonomic assembly line tools and equipment.

PRI Robotics & Automation, established in 1995, designs, builds, and integrates robotic systems for applications that include machine tending, assembly, dispensing, material removal, arc welding, and quality inspection. Located in the heart of the Twin Cities with direct access to nineteen Fortune 500 headquarters, one of the largest privately held companies in the world, and the 2nd largest medical device manufacturing center in the United States, PRI Robotics serves a diverse customer base spanning many industries and end markets.

John Quinn, President of PRI Robotics & Automation, said, “Our team has been designing and integrating highly engineered robotic systems for over 24 years. From welding safety critical products used out on the oil fields of North Dakota to completing the assembly of high precision medical devices in Puerto Rico, our team of technical experts deliver reliable solutions that make customers lives easier. As companies accelerate the adoption of Industry 4.0 technology, our team helps them build flexible manufacturing systems that improve safety, quality, and productivity by automating repetitive tasks.” Quinn continued, “With an installed base that exceeds 500 systems, we sought a partner with an established track record of bringing innovation and new ideas to coworkers and customers. The integrity of Eckharts leadership team, their proven commitment to invest locally, and their desire to expand solution offerings was compelling. Their continued investment in service and support represented a significant opportunity for both my coworkers and our customers to succeed.”

Eckhart President & CEO Andy Storm said, “This acquisition signals our unwavering commitment to Industry 4.0 and the systems expertise we believe is requisite to accelerate the adoption of advanced technologies across the manufacturing spectrum. PRI Robotics & Automation will help us expand and grow our footprint in the Twin Cities region, enable unmatched local service & support for our growing list of customers across Americas heartland, and provide direct access to some of Eckharts most valued technology partners who are also located in the Twin Cities.”

Storm continued, “The unprecedented growth and continued geographic expansion of our company is a testament to the hard work of all Eckhart employees. As a team we will continue to seek out opportunities to help customers solve difficult problems and together we will rapidly accelerate the deployment of Industry 4.0 technologies to industries that we believe will shape the future of the world.”

About Eckhart, Inc.

With over 60 years of experience and based in Warren, Michigan, Eckhart engineers advanced industrial solutions that enhance the quality of life. Eckharts proven portfolio of Industry 4.0 technology includes AUTOCRAFT autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs), collaborative robotic systems, traditional robotics, assembly line design & simulation, 3D printing tool development & production, and ergonomic assembly tooling solutions for the worlds largest manufacturers. Eckhart serves an established and loyal, blue-chip customer base of leading automotive and industrial original equipment manufacturers that include General Mills, Cargill, Stryker Medical, Boeing, John Deere, Bradford White, and Schneider Electric. For additional information, please visit

About PRI Robotics

Established in 1995 and based in Plymouth, Minnesota, PRI Robotics & Automation has been designing, building, installing, and servicing robotic systems for over 24 years. Core solutions include automated machine tending, assembly, dispensing, material removal, arc welding, and quality inspection for the agriculture, refrigerated transportation, medical device, automotive, and outdoor/recreational industries. As one of less than thirty FANUC Certified Servicing Integrators in the United States, PRI Robotics & Automation provides industry leading service and support to an installed base that exceeds 500 robotic systems. PRI customers include Honeywell, Medtronic, Federal Mogul, Case New Holland, ThermoKing, Toro, Horton, Bobalee, and Post Consumer Brands. For additional information, please visit

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LMI Technologies Launches Next Evolution in 3D Scanning and Inspection

LMI Technologies (LMI), the global leader in 3D scanning and inspection, is pleased to announce the official release of three new game-changing products. All three were displayed at Vision 2018 in Stuttgart.

Gocator 2500 Smart Laser Profiler Series – Blazing Speed

With dedicated FPGA processing, advanced optics, and a high speed 2.4 MP custom camera, the Gocator 2500 sensors excel at the scanning and inspection of fast-moving parts in a compact, all-in-one industrial package at rates up to 10 kHz. Users can leverage onboard processing for 3D surface generation, 6DOF alignment, part segmentation, and built-in 3D measurement tools for feature extraction and decision making to build a full inspection solutionfrom raw image data to 3D results for 100% quality control. In comparison, “non-smart” sensors have to send profile data downstream to PCs or external controllers to carry out 3D surface generation and apply measurement tools, adding data latency and unnecessary cost and complexity.

Gocator 3504 Smart 3D Snapshot Sensor – Highest Resolution

This stereo snapshot sensor offers point-and-shoot 3D in a compact, industrial form factor that delivers exceptional resolution. The Gocator 3504 leverages a number of technology advancements in order to achieve a high level of performance at 6.7 micron XY resolution with a Z repeatability of 0.2 microns, and an industry-leading speed of 6 Hz (with acceleration)making it an excellent upgrade over traditional confocal or white light interferometry measurement systems.

GoMax Smart Vision Accelerator – The Next Step In Vision Performance

GoMax simplifies how factories achieve inline production speed by leveraging a new breed of computing based on the NVIDIA TX2 Jetson module. Simply add GoMax to a single or multi-Gocator sensor network to dramatically improve overall scan and inspect cycle times. Inside GoMax is a preloaded Linux OS with the Gocator Accelerator (GoX) runtime offering 3D point cloud generation and measurement tool processing optimized for execution on the 256 CUDA cores.

GoMax offers a small form factor and a low power usage of only 15 watts. Plus, setup is quick and easy. Just power up, connect via web browser, and activate acceleration for any Gocator 3D smart sensor to get improved speed.

About LMI Technologies

At LMI Technologies we work to advance 3D measurement with smart sensor technology. Our award-winning, FactorySmart sensors improve the quality and efficiency of factory production by providing fast, accurate, and reliable inspection that leverages smart 3D technologies. Unlike contact based measurement or 2D vision, our product removes complexity and dramatically reduces implementation cost.

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Introduction to Automated Macro Indentation Testing

Industrial infrastructure components undergo time-dependent material and property degradation associated with thermomechanical loads (temperature, pressures, dynamic loads) and operating environments (corrosive media, H2) which influences the structural integrity, and in rare scenarios lead to failure. The traditional approach has been to schedule periodic inspections to evaluate defect size, location and statistics which is represented as solid line in bath tub curve.

The emerging trend is to go beyond traditional risk-based inspection (RBI) to knowledge based inspection (KBI) which aims to understand mechanisms and use information to schedule the next inspection, represented by the dotted line in the bath tub curve. The benefit of this approach is an increase in plant availability factor as well as extended operational life beyond design limits.

AMIT (automated macro indentation test) falls in the category of knowledge-based inspection system.

What is AMIT ?

AMIT, automated macro indentation test, is a technique used for in-situ determination of key mechanical properties of components, such as yield strength (YS), ultimate tensile strength (UTS), strain hardening exponent (n), hardness (BHN) and fracture toughness (KIC). This technique was jointly developed by Ducom Instruments in partnership with NML, Jamshedpur.

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