Focus-Variation in Modern Manufacturing

Focus-Variation combines the small depth of focus of an optical system with vertical scanning to provide topographical and color information from the variation of focus. The main component of the system is a precision optic containing various lens systems that can be equipped with different objectives, allowing measurements with different resolution.

Globally, industry deals with the need to manufacture complex high-tech products with tight tolerances and a high degree of automation. Consequently, there is a tremendous pressure on companies to invest in state of the art manufacturing that allows for both, efficient manufacturing processes and efficient resource management. Inline metrology, achieved through the combination of a robot and a high resolution optical sensor, and closed loop manufacturing are the keys to success - especially for miniaturized products.

Both concepts are based on production integrated metrology, which is in contrast to the traditional handling of manufacturing and quality assurance as two independently achieved processes. Metrology wise, there are several requirements that have to be met in order to achieve real time data about a process of product.


First, measurements have to be area based instead of only profile based. Second, measurements have to be traceable, in a high resolution and in a high repeatability. Third, there has to be a high measurement speed together with a large number of measure points that are processed.

Focus-Variation by Alicona is designed to fulfill exactly these requirements and as a result to enable the interaction between machine and measurement. Specifically, Focus-Variation offers high vertical resolution across both small and large measurement volumes which is critical for successful interaction. Also, the capability to measure complex components with steep flanks and varying reflection properties has to be taken into account when it comes to advanced manufacturing processes. Further, Focus-Variation is suitable for high resolution measurements in production. Alicona measurement systems are robust against vibrations, insensitive to ambient light and can be easily integrated in existing systems


Products are manufactured right first time

Closed loop manufacturing is achieved through a production ready optical measurement sensor that is directly integrated in a machining center, enabling self-optimized production and an up to fourfold increase in machining accuracy. Components are measured directly in the machine, and the internal measurement evaluates possible deviations from the target geometry. Based upon internal evaluation, the machine automatically modifies the process parameters for further manufacturing. Important real-time information on the state of the process and product is received through the fast supply of reliable measuring data. Deficient workpieces are early recognized and expensive resources conserved.

Another option to achieve fully automated production integrated quality assurance can be a robot based metrology solution. A robot enables the flexible positioning of the measurement system, thereby allowing the use in an assembly line. In one measurement cycle all necessary parameters at various positions can then be measured. Also, the measurement of one selected parameter on several work pieces is possible by one simple command. Again, an immediate evaluation shows if all values are within the geometrical tolerance. Similar to the closed-loop concept, high resolution measurements of also complex components depend one more time on production ready optical metrology.

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