MIDDLEFIELD, CT –- Zygo Corporation congratulated the Zygo Automotive Precision Optical Metrology Team on winning the 2013 Paul F. Forman Engineering Excellence Award from the Optical Society of America. The team’s OSA Award cites “over a decade of outstanding engineering work in developing custom optical metrology solutions for the automotive industry, enabling ever-higher precision engineering tolerances for improved emissions, reliability and fuel efficiency.

In the late 1990’s, major automotive suppliers were driven by tightening tolerances related to air pollution, fuel efficiency, and high‐pressure diesel injector development began to seek practical alternatives to mechanical stylus metrology and mechanical CMM systems for surface topography, texture and form.

The Zygo Team began collaborative work with supplier R&D groups to find effective solutions based on non‐contact optical gaging. The engineering included demonstration of tool capability and fixturing of automotive parts, measuring roughness and shape within high precision requirements, and detailing topography of features that were difficult or impossible to adequately evaluate using then-standard contact metrology.

The team’s demonstrated successes led to installations in quality control labs, then into pre‐production lines – and finally onto the production floor as the default metrology. Among other substantive benefits, these advances in optical metrology have played a key role in enabling the industry to pass the stringent EU5 and EU6 emission laws.

The work involved cooperation with national institutes to create new calibration standards and evaluation procedures. Through their efforts, interferometric systems superseded stylus and other gage technologies to become gold standard, in‐line production tools.

This work persuaded process control engineers that there was value in “making the switch,” producing a sea change: whereas initially the challenge was to correlate to existing stylus and other pre‐existing methods, now the most advanced automotive providers demand that new metrology correlate to the interferometric solutions developed by the Zygo Team.

The Zygo Team is led by Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Frank Stanzel of ZygoLOT, Darmstadt, Germany, and is comprised of team members Dr. Robert Sachs, Herbert Grois, Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Udo Waigand  and Johann Ableitner. Their contributions – to lowered engine emissions and improved reliability through the use of optics-based metrology – well exceed the high standards established for the Paul F. Forman Engineering Excellence Award.

The award, recognizing teams who have made major contributions in optical engineering, is to be presented at Frontiers in Optics (FiO 2013), OSA’s 97th Annual Meeting, in Orlando, Florida, October 7, 2013. 

Zygo Corporation is a worldwide supplier of optical metrology instruments, precision optics, and electro-optical design and manufacturing services serving customers in the semiconductor capital equipment, bio-medical, scientific and industrial markets.