Comparing the Comparators
Optical comparators have been used as a workhorse by the industry for decades. But today's accessories feature better illumination, travel, digital capabilities and user-friendly software. Quality has compiled a list of available optical comparators, software and accessories offered by companies that were included in its 2003 Buyers Guide. For more information, visit the online version of the Buyers Guide at www.qualitymag.com.
Ahlegian Precision is a manufacturer of custom chart gages that are placed over the top of the optical comparator's glass screen for viewing. Custom charts are made for a particular part based on a company's specifications. The overlay chart gage is used for accurate measurements of linear dimensions on an optical comparator. The chart will determine whether a part is accepted or rejected.
The DH 216-200LCD optical gaging system from Deltronic Inc. has a part-view screen that shows a picture of the part as it is being measured and can provide a printed copy. The software provides a total noncontact 50 millionths-step measuring system. The system allows magnification from 10X to 100X and motorized XYZ stage travel up to 6 inches by 17 inches by 3 inches. It features automatic edge sensing, an electronic screen protractor, erect optical image and optical accuracy of 0.05%.
The Model 16H optical comparator from Dorsey Metrology International has a 400-millimeter vertical screen that allows for an erect profile image with fully correct surface reflection image. It has a high resolution ground-glass screen with calibration reticle, 90 degree cross lines and chart clips. It features telecentric parfocal optics, quick-change single lens mount and is available with three axis of measurement.
Dorsey Metrology International
Gage-liney Disc Gages from Gage-Line Technology are used for inspecting features of small radii on an optical comparator. The company says that the size, form, tangent points and burrs of a small radius are difficult to detect with the use of a CMM, but can be done with a 6-inch Gage-Liney DiscGage.
Genx's 14-inch horizontal beam optical comparator has a stage workload capacity of 125 pounds, focus travel in the Z axis of 13/4 inches, deep-etched screen with cross hairs and degrees marked around periphery in 1 degree increments and 1 minute vernier scale. Surface illumination consists of two 1.5-inch beams of light that flood the inspection object with 1,000 watts of light. Horizontal movement features recycling roller bearings and 6-inch and 10-inch travel. It features precision-ground and coated optics and a choice of lens from 10X to 62.5X.
The MC 14 optical comparator from J&L Metrology does horizontal measuring of 203.2 millimeters and vertical measuring of 127-millimeter power-operated electronic digital display to 0.001 millimeter. It features 15 degree left and right helix rotation, 127 millimeter by 508-millimeter hard chromium-plated table, a single lens mount and a 355.6-millimeter diameter screen size with right angle and 60-degree lines.
Micro-Vu makes both a floor and bench model 14-inch optical comparator. The image is erected and features a range of telecentric magnification lens from 10X to 100X. Lenses are kinetically mounted for quick changes. It includes the company's Q16 Metrology Display, Profile and Surface Illumination and electronic protractor. Accessories offered include InSpec Metrology software, edge detection and fixtures.
The PG-14LS horizontal optical comparator from Mitutoyo America Co. comes equipped with linear glass scales that are factory mounted and ready for a choice of optional display counters. It has a 14-inch screen made from fine ground glass with cross hair lines. It has XY workstage travel of 8 inches by 4 inches. The workstage can handle workloads up to 100 pounds. Fiber illuminator is a standard accessory. Projection lens range included.
Mitutoyo America Co.
The V-12B series of profile projectors from Nikon accepts larger stages and increased accuracy as a result of a moveable head during focusing. The comparator, an enhanced version of the company's model V-12A, has a built-in digital XY counter and digital protractor counter. It allows for the viewing of erect images and has 305-millimeter diameter screen with etched center cross line.
GageFit is an electronic overlay and fitting software available from Optical Gaging Products. The electronic overlays can replace traditional overlay charts. Because the charts are based on the customer's CAD files, the electronic files contain an accurate, scaled part master against which actual images are compared. The software works on both manual and motorized optical comparators. On stages with manual translation stages, GageFit does real-time data collection and CAD file comparisons. On motorized systems, it can be used with the company's SmartCheck software for automatic data capture and fully automated fitting analysis.
Optical Gaging Products
The Series 20 Gage Master from Quality Control Solutions is a horizontal bench-style optical comparator for inspection of small- to medium-size components. It features a lens focusing system that allows for a fixed distance between the lamphouse and the part being inspected. It features a standard tungsten halogen light and a standard single dovetail slot to locate fixtures and components.
Quality Control Solutions
The 1600 Series 16-inch horizontal beam comparator from S-T Industries features a 5-inch by 20-inch nickel-
plated stage with 150-pound load capacity. It has 12-inch X-axis and 7-inch Y-axis travel, 0.00005-inch precision glass scales, quick release on X axis, ± 15 degree helix on stage, erect image, duplex fiber optics surface illumination, fully useable 16-inch diameter glass screen, digital screen protractor and a standard swing away-lamphouse. It is available with digital readouts, motor drives and CNC controls.
The OV2 Optical-Video Adapter from Starrett can upgrade their optical comparators with a special video camera that is attached to a 13-inch color video monitor. It uses a 6.5:1 zoom lens with 32 millimeters of working distance, allowing for maximum use of the stage travel of the comparator. The cross line generator allows for multiple crossline images including solid, dashed and matted.
The MV-14-FD optical comparator, part of the Master-View line of comparators from Suburban Tool Inc., features the FAGOR NV-200 QCF, which is a full-featured 3-axis QC readout with geometric functions. Standard features on the MV-14-FD include fiber optic edge detection, 360-degree digital protractor markings, 5-micron glass scales and output to printer or PC capabilities.
Suburban Tool Inc.
Sidebar: Tech Tips
1. Optical comparators come in horizontal and vertical models, as well as floor and benchtop models.
2. Both manual and automatic models are available and many models feature advanced software and digital readouts.