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Nikon Metrology News

Case Studies and Product News

Volume 08

Glass moulds produced faster and less expensively Nikon microscope supports world-leading rock analysis

Multi-sensor metrology for better insights and more productivity

University of Leuven applies metrology CT for new manufacturing techniques 3D laser scanning advances tool creation

CAMIO Multi-sensor software The right sensor for every measurement task 2

Content Glass moulds produced faster and less expensively using modern multi-sensor metrology 4 Automated Nikon photo-microscope supports world-leading rock analysis


University of Leuven applies metrology CT to research geometrical accuracy of inner and outer features of industrial components


ALTERA bridge CMMs Excellence, now and in the future


CAMIO8 Better insights and more productivity


Laser scanning opens new business opportunities at diecasting company


New VMZ-R series CNC Video Measuring Systems


Scanning electron microscope supports development of next-generation ceramics


SMZ25 & SMZ18 A giant step forward for stereo microscopy


Rapid Manufacturing bureau advances tool creation using 3D laser scanning


Cover picture: Dual horizontal arm CMM system with Cross Scanners at Warwick University Send your feedback and topic suggestions to +32 (0)16 74 01 00 Nikon Metrology NV Geldenaaksebaan 329 - 3001 Leuven - Belgium Order your free copy of Nikon Metrology News through

News I Volume 8


Omco Group

Glass moulds produced faster and less expensively using modern multi-sensor metrology Nikon Metrology laser scanner cuts project approval from 2 weeks to 24 hours Omco Group, the largest manufacturer of glass container moulds in Europe is leading the way within its industry by using laser scanning to digitize customers’ bottle designs, shortening the lead-time from receipt of order to delivery of the finished moulds. Manufactured by Nikon Metrology, a pioneer in 3D laser scanning and part of the renowned Nikon group, the digital line scanner is fitted to a coordinate measuring machine (CMM) in one of Omco’s seven mould shops, located in the north east Romanian town of Iasi.

Intended for mass production of glass bottles and jars, the cast iron moulds are sold mainly to fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) manufacturers and their supply chains in the beverage, food, pharmaceutical, cosmetics and tableware industries. Anyone reading this will almost certainly have consumed a soft or alcoholic drink from a bottle produced in an Omco mould, as just a few well-known users are Coca-Cola, Pepsi Bottling Group, Heineken, Carlsberg, Absolut Vodka, Bacardi and many châteaux in Champagne and elsewhere.


Glass container producers face tough consumer demands as well as rising energy costs and increased competition from alternative packaging, notably plastics. As a consequence, glass mould suppliers have to meet exacting customer requirements for top quality and short lead-times, whilst maintaining competitive prices. One way that Omco achieves these objectives is by adopting new methodology near the start of the mould manufacturing process, in which its new Nikon Metrology laser scanner plays a central role. The first stage in a contract is for Omco to input a customer’s design details, which may include decoration and perhaps also lettering that has to be superimposed on a bottle’s curved surface. Such bespoke data arrives as a drawing or electronically as a DXF file. Staff at the Iasi facility processes this information and machines a sample of the bottle using CNC equipment such as a DMG / Mori Seiki machining center, a Doosan lathe and a Baublys engraver. The result is a physical facsimile of the intended bottle from which an epoxy resin copy is made. In the next step, conventional practice and the process route driven by the laser scanner differ significantly, as Alexandru Geanta, ˘ Quality Manager at Omco’s Iasi site, explains. “Historically, we sent the resin model to the customer for approval, most often by air due to the urgency of such projects. However, flying a package from Romania to Argentina, for example, took several days door-to-door and the

Apart from speed and cost reduction, a further advantage of automated inspection is increased accuracy and elimination of human error. Alexandru Geant a˘ , Quality Manager at Omco

model then had to be evaluated and passed off at the other end. Overall, it used to take up to 14 days to receive any changes needed to the design plus the go-ahead to start producing the set of moulds. “Now, we simply scan the resin facsimile from several angles on the CMM using the LC50Cx scanner mounted in a Renishaw PH10M motorized indexing head. The resulting point cloud data, an exact digital copy of the physical model, is reduced in size to around 80 MB by converting it into IGES format. This is sent electronically to the customer and can be opened on many different CAD platforms. Turnaround is much faster, as approval is usually received the same day, or in 48 hours at most. In an alternative scenario, we use the laser scanner right at the start of a project to reverse-engineer a sample bottle sent to us by a customer which no longer has drawings and / or CAD data of the design. The scan data is emailed as an IGES file directly to the customer for approval, so there is no need to make a resin facsimile.” Mr Geanta˘ went on to explain that the customer is interested not only in the visual appearance of the design but also its exact dimensions. The latter are more easily extracted from digital data than by measuring a sample or model. If any small changes are needed to a dimension or indeed to the design itself, these are communicated quickly by email or over the telephone. It is the ability to compress the front-end of the mouldmaking procedure that allows around two weeks to be saved. When approved by the customer, the IGES file is loaded into a Delcam CAD/CAM system at the Iasi factory and cutter paths are generated and post-processed for CNC machining the moulds. Inspection and assembly of the mould set then takes around four weeks, so total lead-time is reduced by one-third, which translates into a considerable commercial advantage in this competitive business.

The LC50Cx digital line scanner on the CMM inspecting a resin model of a Coca-Cola bottle.

LC50Cx digitizes nearly all surfaces including reflective material

Not only is time saved but cost is also taken out of the approval procedure, as air freight charges to customers worldwide are avoided, often cutting expenditure by thousands of Euros.

Mould volume checked to ensure correct glass usage Additionally, the scanner provides an alternative and more convenient method for calculating the volume of glass in a bottle or jar that a mould will make. Traditionally, this is done by sealing the base of the preliminary mould and seeing how much water is needed to fill the cavity. LC50Cx scan data taken from the mould after it has been machined is so accurate that the volume can be calculated precisely from the virtual model.

Programming the scan path is done by teach-and-learn

News I Volume 8


Final inspection throughput of a glass bottle mould is tripled by using CNC multi-sensor CMM.

The importance of these measurements cannot be overstated. The preliminary mould produces a small, solid glass parison (a preshaped mass of glass) that is blow-moulded to produce the bottle. Measuring parison volume is critical, as too little glass might lead to the bottle breaking and too much would result in enormous wastage of glass during subsequent mass production. Interestingly, mould volume calculation was the test that Omco gave to several metrology system suppliers before placing the order. Mr Geanta˘ said that from the mould data supplied, which was for producing a baby food jar, the volume results achieved by Nikon Metrology were spot on. None of the other potential suppliers could achieve an acceptable level of accuracy and one calculation was 30 per cent too large!

Final inspection is three times faster The same CMM platform is used for quality control of all individual mould components after manufacture, complementing SPC (statistical process control) on the shop floor. Omco, which is accredited to the ISO 9001:2008 quality management system, derives significant savings in final inspection thanks to Nikon Metrology’s CAMIO software, which enables a programmer to produce a fully automatic measuring cycle directly from a part’s CAD model, quickly and easily. A touch probe mounted on the Renishaw PH10M indexing head feeds back the 3D data of each point as the cycle is executed. Castings from either of Omco’s two foundries in Belgium and Slovenia are CNC turned and milled to produce the mould halves, but many other components also go into mould sets, such as blanks, baffles, blow heads, thimbles, funnels and distribution plates. This increases the total number of parts that need inspecting to between 30 and 100, depending on the size and complexity of the customer’s blow moulding equipment.


Instead of flying the resin model to the customer the electronic 3d surface data is delivered electronically in seconds.

Previously, ever since the Iasi operation was set up at the end of 2005, conventional metrology equipment such as micrometers and vernier calipers had been used to measure the parts manually. The pre-existing CMM on site used a fixed touch probing head and could not complete the measurements automatically, so would have taken even longer to do the job. Therefore operators would spend an entire 8-hour shift inspecting typically 30 mould parts each by hand. Now, 100 pieces per shift can be inspected on the CMM with one operator, so there is a three-fold reduction in labour in the metrology department, again helping to keep down the cost of mould production. Between 10 and 20 critical dimensions are measured on each part in cycles ranging from two to five minutes, and some 80 per cent of mould components undergo such inspection. Batch size ranges from one or two test pieces through normally 40-off to exceptionally 150-off. Mr Geant a, ˘ continued, “Apart from speed and cost reduction, a further advantage of automated inspection is increased accuracy and elimination of human error. It is easy for a hand gauging instrument to slip in use and with a tolerance of ±10 microns on a 30 mm diameter mould, for example, such a measurement would be invalid. Customers also like the wealth of metrology data that is now available. Even if they do not request all of it – perhaps just 15 critical dimensions from 20 pieces – they have the reassurance that comprehensive information is within reach.”

Automated nikon photo-microscope supports world-leading rock analysis Computerized PETROG inspection system provides better understanding and faster analysis of rock samples Founded in 1997 by Dr Barrie Wells and his partner, Mark Gorst, Conwy Valley Systems in North Wales has become a global leader in the supply of computerized photo-microscopy systems for inspection, statistical analysis and classification of rock samples to assist oil and gas exploration.

Known generically as a digital petrography tool and marketed under the trade name, PETROG, the inspection system is powered by a Nikon Eclipse 50iPOL binocular microscope equipped with a DS-series digital camera. The advance in this branch of technology has been so profound that it has become almost essential for petrophysicists and remote sensing geophysicists to use it for calibrating and ground-truthing their measurements of rock structures. Rock sample structures are described in a quantitative and unbiased way with a statistical technique called point counting.. A thin section of rock sample is therefore viewed under the microscope to identify a large number of points on the slide, recording exactly what is seen at each point and then assembling a description from all the information recorded. In order to be a statistically valid representation, the number of points that need to be described is typically 300 - 500, a significant task. The automated point-counting system is a much faster and more accurate alternative to visual microscopy accompanied

News I Volume 8


The heart of a PETROG system is the low profile, motorized, rotating stepping stage, seen here fitted to the Nikon microscope.

by manual tick-box recording of results. The user has a much better understanding of the rock sample, its constituent minerals, oil-bearing capacity and extraction potential. PETROG displays results almost immediately on the screen and has the added advantage of storing all photographic images for future reanalysis, if required.

The PETROG system comprises a Nikon Eclipse 50iPOL binocular microscope fitted with a Nikon Digital Sight DS-Fi2 5-megapixel camera which relays overlapping photographs of the rock sample to a computer for analysis via a Nikon FireWire control unit, DS-U3.

Another alternative way of testing rock is crushing analysis, which simply calculates the porosity of the sample and hence the amount of oil it could contain, but it gives no indication of how the holes were interconnected and thus how well oil would flow. The uniqueness of PETROG derives from the invention of a stepping stage which allows the polarizing microscope stage to rotate automatically. Unlike a conventional microscope on which the slide and stage are fixed, apparatus for looking at rock has to view light at different angles through a polarizing filter. Only in this way it is possible to distinguish between different constituents such as feldspar, quartz and clay, hence the need to index the stage in known increments. The system is equally suited to studying samples illuminated episcopically (by reflected light) or diascopically (by transmitted light). A further application in the energy sector is the analysis of coal samples to assess the quality of a sample. It enables a mine to determine how to blend its output and where it should be sold. For instance, a steel mill is able to use information on the coal’s microstructure to calculate how long it will burn at blast furnace temperature, allowing the steelmaking process to be controlled and optimized.



The automated point-counting system is a much faster and more accurate alternative to visual microscopy with manual tick-box recording of results.

A photo-micrograph of sandstone from an oilfield, with the pores highlighted by the addition of blue dye.

A photo-micrograph of a concrete sample taken by CEDEX, Spain. The pores appear yellow because the concrete is impregnated with epoxy and a fluorescent dye has been added. The porosity in this sample is quite moderate. The aggregate is limestone, which can be granitic, while the brownish matrix is cement paste. Picture height is 13.6 mm.

The construction industry also benefits from PETROG, since a sample of man-made concrete can be analyzed as easily as natural rock. It is an important new target market for Conwy Valley Systems. A recent success was the purchase by CEDEX, a Spanish government research agency in Madrid, of the digital petrography tool for monitoring the integrity of civil engineering structures in Spain’s built environment, including critical structures such as dams, looking for early warning signs of failure in the concrete structure. The first application in this sector dates back to 2004, when a PETROG system was installed in Cornwall, UK, to support mortgage providers by checking for a specific impurity in locally made concrete that can potentially cause cracking. The so-called mundic tests are needed because, before 1950, houses in the South West of England were often built with concrete block containing aggregate consisting of copper or lead mine waste which in turn contains sulphides that can oxidize and accelerate degradation.

A polished thin section of rock sample from the Chicxulub meteorite impact site in Mexico, which is suspected of having caused the dinosaurs to die out 65 million years ago. The rock shows the effects of high stress and high temperature alteration.

Conwy Valley Systems won “The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise” in the Innovation category in 2011 and has today installations in more than 40 countries. Key to the company’s service are the supply and fitting of the stepping stage to the microscope, the digital camera and PETROG software. The latter interfaces with the Nikon digital cameras’ control software and enables that images can be captured remotely and embedded for petrographical analysis.

News I Volume 8


University of Leuven applies metrology CT to research geometrical accuracy of inner and outer features of industrial components Complex manufacturing drives the need for internal inspection

Many components and assemblies have internal features that are difficult to inspect nondestructively, as conventional metrology requires them to be sectioned. Examples are a hollow hydroformed camshaft, a 3D printed mould with conformal cooling channels, or a plastic injection moulded electrical connector with metal inserts. Now, the PMA division of Leuven’s university is using X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) machines to research measuring the interiors of such components in 3D.


CT has been widely used for many years in medicine for imaging and diagnosis, and to inspect materials to identify the presence of internal features, such as unwanted inclusions in a casting. Now, research is being carried out by Prof Jean-Pierre Kruth and his team at the University of Leuven, the oldest and largest university in Belgium, to broaden the application of CT into the field of dimensional metrology. With CT, components can be inspected externally, as traditionally done with a touch probe or laser scanner, but internal geometry can also be measured non-destructively in the same set-up. The university, called Katholieke Universiteit Leuven or KU Leuven, is close to the European headquarters of Nikon Metrology. The two organizations are collaborating closely in the development of CT as a tool for geometrical measuring and quality control. Two Nikon Metrology CT machines were recently installed at KU Leuven, enabling Prof Kruth’s PMA division, which is responsible for production engineering, machine design and automation to carry out in-depth research.

Prof Jean-Pierre Kruth, full professor at the Production engineering, Machine design and Automation division (PMA) within the department of mechanical engineering at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

Such complex products presented us with a challenge, as it is impossible to nondestructively inspect the internal features without X-raying the parts. Prof Jean-Pierre Kruth , University of Leuven

One of the PMA division’s X-ray machines, a 225 keV model XT H 225, includes a microfocus X-ray source, linear scales, better cooling and other enhancements that provide increased accuracy, making it suitable for metrology CT. The second machine is a large cabinet microfocus XT H 450, the highest power CT machine currently installed in Belgium and the Netherlands, providing sufficient X-ray penetration for thicker metal parts to be inspected. As a guide, 450 keV microfocus source can penetrate 35 mm of steel or 110 mm of aluminium. The Hercules Foundation in Brussels, established by the Flemish Government to offer funding for scientific research, provided a grant to help the university purchase the machines. Prerequisites for receiving the money were that the equipment had to be unique in the area and that it be made available for research by other companies and institutions.

Conventionally machined parts measured as well as 3D printed components Prof Kruth commented, “Our PMA division has a long tradition in production research, starting in the 1960s with milling, drilling and grinding, progressing through spark erosion in the 70s and implementing additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing techniques in the 1990s.

CT is an ideal tool to inspect a servo valve with complex internal channels

Dimensional metrology and quality control for components produced using the earlier machining techniques resulted in the installation of coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) with touch probes and laser scanning heads. Today, production techniques including five-axis milling, additive manufacturing and hydroforming make it possible to produce complex products, often with internal features or channels. Such complex products presented us with a challenge, as it is impossible to non-destructively inspect the internal features without X-raying the parts. Often, one-off prototypes or small batches of components are produced. Sectioning even one component to inspect it conventionally would result in an unacceptable scrap level in percentage terms. CT offers a solution but also brings its own challenges. Dense metal parts require high power to penetrate the material, but the X-rays will also tend to scatter. Moreover, the standard machine platforms are not developed with sufficient rigidity and accuracy for precision measuring, as they are traditionally used for material inspection. In fact there is a general need of understanding within the CT community regarding the accuracy and repeatability problems associated with the use of CT technology for measurement and traceability of the results.”

News I Volume 8


The XT H 450 X-ray source is suited to scanning small castings to gain an insight into the inner details of the part.

The curved linear diode array detector (CLDA) optimizes the collection of X-rays by eliminating scatter phenomena that typically corrupt 2D radiographs of blades and other metal parts.

depending on the application-, measuring uncertainty (maximum permissible error) both internally and for outer dimensions of the part can be below 10 microns using the Nikon Metrology CT system. This means, its accuracy lies close to that of a typical coordinate measuring machine. For example, one of the CMMs in the laboratory has an uncertainty of 5 microns plus 5 microns per meter of component length. CT allows to slice through an object for internal analysis

To help achieve this level of CT scanning precision, the team at PMA houses its two Nikon Metrology machines in a temperature controlled environment, and each machine has its own internal cooling system for maintaining thermal stability.

Working principle To research the possibilities of using CT for metrology, KU Leuven enlisted the help of two partners, local engineering college, Group T, and the DeNayer Institute which merged with the university in October 2013. Three groups of components were targeted – additive manufactured parts, conventionally produced precision components and assemblies, and highly complex parts also produced by traditional machining, such as a servo valve that goes into the F16 fighter jet and the Ariane rocket. As an example the valve has hundreds of intersecting channels whose dimensions need to be measured. There is also a need to check for internal burrs where holes meet, a job that would be difficult without destructively testing the part. Clearly 100% inspection, which is demanded for many such safety-critical parts, is an impossibility without some form of non-destructive testing.

CT measuring accuracy rivals that of conventional metrology Initial results from using X-ray CT to measure these parts have proved very promising, according to Prof Kruth. Research carried out at the PMA laboratory indicated that - for some metallic components and


In operation, a source produces X-rays by projecting electrons onto a target. As X-rays penetrate the workpiece, they are attenuated due to absorption and scattering. The amount of attenuation is determined by the distance travelled into the material and by its composition and density (i.e. attenuation coefficient), as well as by the energy level (keV) of the X-rays. After penetrating the workpiece, the attenuated X-rays are typically captured by means of a flat panel detector, resulting in a 2D grayscale image. Such 2D images are taken for many rotation steps of the workpiece. Reconstruction of an industrial component based on the projected image slices leads to a voxel model (a voxel is the 3D analogue of a pixel), where the grey value of the voxels is a measure of the linear attenuation coefficient of the material. The voxel data is postprocessed using algorithms to detect the edges and features of the workpiece, allowing dimensional measurement and quality control. The XT H 450 installed in PMA’s laboratory also features a 1D curved linear detector in addition to a conventional 2D flat panel detector. Using the linear detector requires the workpiece to be moved along the rotational axis in order to measure successive cross-sections of the object in a similar way as medical CT scanners. Typically, the linear detector allows higher power (higher voltage, current or exposure

Often, one-off prototypes or small batches of components are produced. Sectioning even one component to inspect it conventionally would result in an unacceptable scrap level in percentage terms.

A reference test object is used to investigate dimensionel accuracy of metrology CT

time) hence deeper material penetration) and is less sensitive to X-ray scatter. Research is currently being carried out at PMA to determine whether large, dense components can be more accurate inspected with the linear detector than with a flat panel detector.

Technical challenges Various issues are being investigated by Prof. Kruth and his staff, such as optimizing the X-ray illumination parameters and adjusting the grey level thresholding parameters for traceable dimensional measurements, lowering the X-ray spot size for greater accuracy and increasing the power of the X-ray source for greater penetration into large metallic components. Another research topic is beam hardening, a common problem with a polychromatic CT source whereby lower energy photons are more easily absorbed by the workpiece material. It results in chromatic aberration and deformation of the image, mainly at the edges, causing an erroneous grey value to be detected which gives the impression that the skin of the component is of a different material from the core and can imply wrong edge detection. Beam hardening is undesirable when studying material composition and is corrected by beam filtration and software. But for metrology applications, the beam hardening effect can help to increase edge definition, making it easier to measure the outside dimensions of the workpiece more accurately.

Collaboration The close relationship between KU Leuven and Nikon Metrology, which originated from a former company spun off from the university to commercialize its work, was celebrated recently by the inauguration of the PMA’s CT facilities by Kenyi Yoshikawa, CEO of Nikon Metrology. Other university spin-off enterprises, like LayerWise, which specializes in metal additive manufacturing, and Materialise, a world player in rapid protoyping and 3D printing, are today working with the university on how to apply metrology CT to inspect complex parts produced by additive manufacturing. It is indicative that Prof Kruth was a founding board member of all three companies.

Kenji Yoshikawa, CEO of Nikon Metrology, inaugurates the CT facilities at PMA, KU Leuven.

These are just a few of a large number of collaborative affiliations that PMA has with companies and academe internationally, mainly at a European level but also in the US and Japan. Research activities are very much driven by industry and are thus of a practical nature. A recent European-wide metrology CT collaboration involved 15 companies and laboratories measuring the same objects and comparing results, sharing knowledge and best practice in metrology with a view to optimizing accuracy and traceability of measurements. Another European cooperation has just started with the help of a grant from the European Union Marie-Curie programme. KU Leuven has joined Nikon Metrology, the NPL (National Physical Laboratory – the UK’s national measurement institute), the PTB (PhysikalischTechnische Bundesanstalt – Germany’s national metrology institute), Materialise and a number of other companies and universities in the training of engineers and researchers in metrology CT.

News I Volume 8



Coordinate Measuring Machines

Excellence, now and in the future 10 years original accuracy guarantee

The new Nikon ALTERA range of bridge coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) have been developed to meet the varying needs of manufacturers, both today and in the future. Improved productivity, enhanced metrology and greater flexibility are the hallmarks of this new generation of premium quality CMMs.


For 50 years the LK brand of CMMs has been synonymous with high quality and enduring performance. ALTERA combines this experience with the latest technology to define a new generation of advanced CMMs which provide exceptional flexibility and enduring performance across all manufacturing environments. Ceramic, used for key structural components within the CMM metrology frame, uniquely provides three benefits vital for high speed measurement and long term accuracy; a near perfect stiffness-to-weight ratio, a greater resistance to temperature shifts and long term dimensional stability. Due to the use of ceramic in the ALTERA metrology frame, Nikon Metrology is the only manufacturer to guarantee the original accuracy specification of its CMMs for a period of 10 years.

path planning with real time work-piece and probe simulation, plus smart probe selection with collision avoidance, simplifies the most challenging inspection job to a few mouse clicks.

Multi-sensor CMM for best-in-class combination of productivity and flexibility

Ultra-stable ceramic bridge and spindle guideway with closedloop stainless steel belt friction drive and high resolution 0.05Âľm optical scales for enduring accuracy.

Precision dove-tail table guideway and unique single orifice grooved pre-loaded wrap-around air bearings for smooth and controlled high speed motion.

A CMM for every task By working closely with its large and experienced customer base, Nikon Metrology has developed the ALTERA to meet the current and future needs of customers. In response to the increasing trend of using CMMs in the manufacturing facilities. ALTERA is a shopfloor ready solution with passive anti-vibration and fully enclosed covers protecting the guide ways from contamination and accidental damage. Temperature compensation, for the work piece and CMM uniquely to the probe tip, and active anti-vibration are available for consistent measurement in more harsh environments. ALTERA CMMs are available in three probing configurations, ESSENTIAL Series, OPTIMUM Series and ULTIMATE Series. Each configuration offers a different level of popular functionality to suit a broad range of metrology applications with additional options available to meet individual customer needs. series essential The ALTERA ESSENTIAL Series of premium quality touch trigger probe CMMs are available with a range of motorized and manual probe heads and accessories, including automatic stylus changing, and are an efficient solution for a range of general measurement and inspection applications.

series ultimate The ALTERA ULTIMATE Series of advanced multi-sensor ready CMMs provide a class leading combination of productivity and flexibility. As The ALTERA ULTIMATE Series are both touch-trigger probe and scanning probe ready, users are able to take full advantage of scanning as and when the need arises. Scanning provides a more complete and detailed insight, dimensional deviation is displayed graphically and easy-to-understand while CMM throughput is significantly improved. For the ultimate in CMM flexibility Nikon Metrology non-contact laser scanners can be conveniently added at any time, without the need for additional wiring or controllers. Laser scanning extends the application scope of the CMM to new parts, materials and geometry with further productivity gains. The ALTERA ULTIMATE Series are supplied as standard with CAMIO software. CAMIO is a comprehensive CMM software package, with advanced integrated multi-sensor capability for touch probes, scanning probes and laser scanning. Inspection programs and reports can be created for a wide range of common or specialist applications, both online or offline, using any popular CAD format. Inspection programs can be migrated from one CMM and sensor technology to another to suit the technology available or as needs change, providing a flexible solution for multiple installations or centralized programming. ALTERA CMMs are available in seven sizes ranging from small to medium and with measuring volumes from 7.5.5 to 20.10.8.

series optimum The ALTERA OPTIMUM Series of 5-axis CMMs are available with the PH20 infinite positioning touch-trigger probe head and have been optimized around four key requirements for measuring complex internal geometry; productivity, probe access, accuracy and best use of the CMM volume. Two software options are available with ALTERA, CMM-MANAGER and CAMIO. CMM-MANAGER is a highly intuitive task-oriented software package for touch-trigger probe CMMs which has been developed to make every step of programming and reporting as streamline as possible. Walk-in, measure and report, quick start dimensional checks optimize daily measurement tasks. Intelligent

ALTERA 8.7.6 with LC15Dx scanner

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Better insights and more productivity Intuitive multi-sensor programming

CAMIO offers true multi-sensor capability, allowing best-practice selection of sensor technology for each task. By combining touch trigger, analog scanning and 3D laser scanning sensors within the same inspection program, the right inspection results are obtained in the fastest way. Nikon Metrology multi-sensor solutions provide manufacturers with greater measurement flexibility and a better insight of product conformance while increasing CMM throughput.


CAMIO provides a rich programming environment, with intuitive software tools for both tactile and laser scanning applications. The program editor provides an easy to follow iconized view of the inspection program. Simply clicking on the CAD model initiates a measurement sequence. The user can select the optimum measurement strategy based on the feature and sensor. For measuring complex surfaces, CAMIO will automatically generate scan paths that result in fast and smooth laser scanning moves that closely follow the part surface. To support off-line program validation, the software provides full machine simulation and collision detection. Any potential collisions are highlighted and can be corrected before the first part is measured, avoiding costly CMM down-time when proving out new inspection programs.

When deploying laser scanning on a tactile-based CMM, the tactile probe commands of existing DMIS programs are easily converted into laser scanning commands. Reusing existing part programs not only reduces the cost of implementing laser scanning, but also enables users to directly start laser scanning based inspection plans.

Making informed decisions faster with CAMIO Standard report templates facilitate instant reporting, while configuration tools provide the flexibility to create bespoke designs. Tabulated tables, graphical reports and form plots can now be combined in one concise report, and shared with a wider audience using popular Microsoft and Adobe file formats. Both tactile and laser scanning results can be integrated into a single report. With the new CAMIO Point Cloud Analysis module, a wide variety of inspection tools including intelligent feature extraction with GD&T tolerancing, profile analysis, and full part-to-CAD are available. CAMIO is optimized for processing large point clouds, making it perfectly suited for inspection of sheet metal panels or assembled car bodies.

Investment protection CAMIO’s strict adherence to the industry standard for CMM inspection programs, Dimensional Measuring Interface Standard (DMIS), guarantees the longevity of customer investment in inspection programs.

Inspection programs can be created and fully proven offline.

Proven in the most challenging application environments, CAMIO is the CMM software of choice for many of the world’s largest manufacturers. By leveraging the productivity benefits of CAMIO, manufacturers can focus on accelerating lead times and improving product quality, while reducing costs. CAMIO’s interoperability across CMM platforms, sensor technology and manufacturing sites, is a unique advantage which guarantees the longevity of your investment in software and inspection programs for the longer term.

CAMIO interactive reporting combines part-to-CAD comparison and feature reporting

News I Volume 8


Laser scanning opens new business opportunities at diecasting company

Zinc casting specialist boosts accuracy with laser scanning

At PMS Diecasting in Rotherham, UK, products are inspected by non-contact, 3D laser scanning to an accuracy of 2.5 microns, mirroring the precision of touch probing. It has been made possible by the deployment of an LC15Dx laser scanner on an LK ceramic bridge coordinate measuring machine. The combination has proved to be the answer to the challenge PMS was facing to bring its products to market faster and reduce development costs.

Widely regarded as one of Europe’s leading and best equipped manufacturers of zinc castings, PMS has many high profile customers including returnable transit packaging specialist, Loadhog, window and door hardware supplier, Avocet, and wire joining and tensioning product manufacturer, Gripple, for which PMS makes 36 million castings annually. The diecaster prides itself on using the most advanced technology and incorporates robotics wherever possible to streamline processes and make them more efficient and cost-effective. Automated part separation, 100% quality control and management control systems ensure consistent quality. Gordon Panter, managing director of the employee-owned company, said, “To avoid zinc flash forming at the parting line when a mould closes, the maximum allowable tolerance when machining the two die halves is ±10 microns. Our optical profile projector and measuring microscope do not have the necessary resolution to inspect to this level of accuracy, but the Nikon equipment does. We considered both laser and white light scanning systems, but decided on the Nikon Metrology LC15Dx, as it was the only solution that could inspect our tooling to the accuracy we wanted.”


We considered both laser and white light scanning systems, but decided on the Nikon Metrology LC15Dx, as it was the only solution that could inspect our tooling to the accuracy we wanted. Gordon Panter, managing director of PMS diecasting

Measuring accuracy increased by an order of magnitude The equipment is easily capable of inspecting tolerances of ±20 microns required on cast parts as well as features down to half that limit on the tooling that produces them. Freeform surfaces as well as geometry can be captured to the same high level of accuracy, 10 times better than previously possible at PMS. As a result, time-tomarket for new products has been reduced and development costs are lower. Mr Panter continued, “Our improved measuring capability led us to become increasingly critical of the tools we were buying in from external suppliers and this led to the decision to start making our own tools to gain control over their accuracy. It resulted in the formation in 2012 of our GoTools subsidiary, which not only produces die casting tools for PMS, but also enables us to reliably design and manufacture plastic injection moulds, forging dies and press tools for other companies.”

Customers drive inspection innovation One of the drivers for PMS investing in the new metrology equipment was an increasing amount of work being carried out for the automotive sector, including Jaguar Land Rover, requiring a higher level of accuracy and repeatability than was needed in the past. The diecaster also intends to target the medical industry, which also demands top precision components. High quality tooling is key to successful die casting. The laser scanner is able to monitor the toolmaking process as it progresses to make

The Nikon LC15Dx scanning a zinc die cast actuator shaft.

sure that the moulds, and hence the cast components, will be within tolerance. Cavities, cores, slides, electrodes, ejector pin plates and other features are inspected individually after they have been machined, along with the jigs and fixtures holding components during manufacture. The approach avoids introducing errors into the tool as it is assembled. As Mr Panter pointed out, “People usually assume that what comes off a modern CNC machine tool is correct, but often it is not. With the Nikon equipment, we know definitively if each part is within tolerance, so our tools are always spot-on and right first time, guaranteeing the precision and quality of our products and those of customers using our tooling.”

Combined use of laser scanning and touch probing 3D scanning is today the default inspection mode at PMS for freeform parts and standard features, while cores and other deep features are measured with a touch probe, which is also used to align components on the granite table prior to inspection. Either the laser scanner or a probe is mounted in a Renishaw PH10M motorized indexing head for maximum flexibility when programming measuring cycles using Nikon Metrology’s multi-sensor CAMIO software platform. It supports laser scanning and touch probe scanning where needed and has highly productive reporting functionality, ideal for ISIR (initial sample inspection report) approval in the automotive industry. Using Nikon Metrology Focus software, which manages the point clouds acquired during laser scanning, inspection data can be compared against the customer’s original CAD model. Color deviation

News I Volume 8


Multiple dies forming a production tool manufactured by new PMS division, GoTools.

analysis shows how the 3D scanned model differs from the nominal CAD file. This provides a detailed insight into form and features, providing many more data points compared to touch probing. The color map scales can be adjusted to reflect manufacturing tolerances and annotations quantify deviations from nominal at selected areas. If two or more products are scanned, for example to monitor wear, multiple objects can be compared showing where each differs from the other. Dimensions extracted from sections of the scan model can be correlated with those on an original 2D drawing, creating an instant ISIR report.

Laser scanning creates new possibilities

A part-to-CAD comparison in Focus Inspection on the right hand screen and the nominal CAD model on the left. The component is a die cast Gripple D4 housing.

3D laser scanning at PMS Diecasting has given rise to a further new venture, that of providing a reverse engineering service for local firms. Highly accurate CAD files have already been produced for plastic injection moulders that did not have any digital data to work from, only physical parts, allowing faithful reproduction of the components. Mr Panter was surprised at how many enquiries he received after announcing the service on the PMS website and has decided to open a new reverse engineering division to expand this side of the business.

One half of a die casting mould being scanned on the LK V 8.7.6 (800 x 700 x 600 mm capacity) CMM.


VMZ-R series

CNC Video Measuring Systems

Incorporating the latest advancements in NEXIV technology Accurate measurements featuring high-speed image processing of advanced mass-products (such as smartphones, tablets, watches) have become a standard inspection requirement. These next-generation NEXIV systems offer fast and accurate measurement, superior edge detection and advanced operability to inspect the dimensions and shapes of mechanical parts and multi-layered electronic components.

Utilizing optical measuring technology and advanced image processing, the CNC Video Measuring Systems automatically measure the dimensions and shapes of components with precise edge detection. Three models with different platform sizes are available. The VMZ-R3020 is suitable for inspection of smaller mechanical and electric parts. The VMZ-R4540 is designed for middle size components including 300mm wafers and probe cards. The NEXIV VMZ-R6555 featuring a 65x55cm measuring platform allows for fast measurement of larger printed circuit boards, stamped metal parts or molded components. It is also suited for automatic batch measurement of many smaller parts speeding up the overall inspection cycle.

Highly accurate and fast measurements A higher level of accuracy is achieved by Nikon's in-house developed linear encoder. In addition, improvements to the image transfer technology and changes to the illumination source have shortened overall measuring time.



Measurement flexibility The new 8-sector Ring Light system enables advanced edge detection, while enhancements to the TTL (Through The Lens) Laser Auto Focus have strengthened the system’s ability to measure transparent components.

Advanced operability The renewed user interface of the NEXIV software features the Main Window, the central location to build or run teaching files, verify results or make various calibrations. With various wizards, teaching files are created more easily in shorter time.



Low incident angle / Long WD VMZ-R3020





High incident angle / short WD

New 8-sector Ring Light system with three incident angles for optimum illumination

News I Volume 8


Scanning electron microscope supports development of next-generation ceramics

Morgan inspects advanced ceramic components used in applications ranging from cancer treatment to pump technology World-leading oncology support

A JCM-6000 NeoScope benchtop scanning electron microscope (SEM) from Nikon Metrology was recently deployed at Morgan Advanced Materials’ Innovation Hub in the UK. It is a world-class facility combining technically advanced analytical equipment and development expertise to meet the technical challenges of the company’s customers.

A good example of the market-leading materials research being undertaken is the work on exciting new technologies such as ceramic injection moulding. Its complex forming capability has allowed Morgan to produce a commercially available, high precision ceramic tip for microwave ablation of tissues to remove tumors. Due to its micro design, patient trauma following surgery is significantly reduced. The extremely fine structure of the material imparts high strength and toughness, which are critical for the demanding application. Due to the material’s small grain size, its microstructure cannot be analyzed using the company’s standard 50x optical microscope, so SEM techniques were required. Dr Tim Clipsham, Technical Manager, Morgan Advanced Materials, said, “The JCM-6000 was essential to enable our scientists to develop a material with advanced properties to suit this medical customer’s specification.


Having the benchtop SEM from Nikon Metrology on-site also allows us greater control over the equipment and the outcome from the analyses. Dr Tim Clipsham, Technical Manager, Morgan Advanced Materials

High precision ablation tips produced at Morgan Advanced Materials by ceramic injection moulding. The resulting fine-grained material cannot be optically inspected, which was one of the reasons for the company investing in the Nikon Metrology benchtop SEM. The ceramic tips are used in microwave tissue ablation equipment for cancer treatment.

Previously, when our inspection requirements fell outside the capabilities of optical microscopy, we used to subcontract SEM analysis. In recent years, the need for such analysis has steadily increased, making it critical to our on-going business activities to install this facility in house. Having the benchtop SEM from Nikon Metrology on-site also allows us greater control over the equipment and the outcome from the analyses. Our material scientists, with their high level of expertise in our materials, are able to optimize and focus the analysis to our requirements better than the microscopists working at subcontracting companies. As a result, time can be saved with in-house SEM analysis, as previously preliminary analysis sometimes had to be carried out externally and then submitted to our technical team for advice before full in-depth analysis of the samples could be undertaken.” As a direct consequence, the technical support provided by Morgan’s material scientists and engineers to production functions and customers has been optimized. With the JCM-6000, sample preparation is minimal compared to that required for more traditional SEMs or even optical microscopes. One characteristic of the benchtop SEM from Nikon Metrology is that electrically resistant materials can be analyzed without applying a conductive coating to the surface, which is not the case with most

SEMs on the market. Therefore non-destructive tests on ceramic components can be performed quickly. Moreover, the depth-of-field on an SEM is much greater than on most optical instruments, facilitating analysis on the surface and also on raised features or cavities of samples, allowing Morgan to gather a greater amount of information.”

Development of friction materials for pumps Morgan’s Stourport facility is also a major supplier of high precision components which are supplied to market-leading pump manufacturers. A new friction material has recently been developed for hard-wearing pump seal applications in demanding industrial and petrochemical processing environments. The material has a composite structure, which enabled Morgan’s materials scientists to tailor its friction performance for use in harsh field conditions. The JCM-6000, with its energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS) capability, played a key role in the development of the material. It enabled the company to tailor its elemental composition and composite structure, using both the SEM’s back scattered electron detector and elemental mapping feature. Dr Clipsham continued, “Elemental mapping within a sample, analyzed in the SEM by measuring the energy and intensity

News I Volume 8


Our quality and production engineers are finding new uses for the equipment all the time and now that the microscope is in place, we would all find it very difficult to do without it.

Ceramic mechanical seals made from Morgan Advanced Materials’ newly developed friction material. One use for the ceramic seals is in pumps for demanding industrial and petrochemical processing environments.

distribution of X-ray signals generated by focusing an electron beam on the specimen surface, yields a wealth of information that was previously unavailable to us using optical inspection. Materials development and structure tailoring is much easier as a result.”

Other applications for the SEM The JCM-6000 is currently playing an active role in both the development of new ceramic materials at the Innovation Hub and in on-going improvement projects. The instrument’s user friendly software has enabled Morgan to extend the use of this analytical equipment to a broader range of its operations. Dr Clipsham stated, “Our quality and production engineers are finding new uses for the equipment all the time and now that the microscope is in place, we would all find it very difficult to do without it.” Moreover, due to the SEM’s charge reduction mode and large chamber, oxide ceramic materials can be analyzed with less sample preparation compared to that required for research-level SEM systems, as there is no need to apply conductive coatings or to section the components to obtain essential information concerning components’ surface features or chemical composition.


Purchasing decision Dr Tim Clipsham advised that Morgan opted for a benchtop SEM because the equipment better suited its business needs due to the microscope’s versatility and ease of operation. A research-level type SEM is considerably more restrictive as regards its installation and a specialist operator is needed. Of the four benchtop models shortlisted, the Nikon Metrology JCM-6000 was chosen due to its superior image quality and the availability of an EDS attachment for chemical analysis. He concluded, “Such instruments can be used at ambient room temperature and are easy to operate. It took just a few hours to learn how to use all the functions of the JCM-6000. The 60,000x magnification covers practically all of our applications. In the rare event that we need to go above that, we would subcontract the analysis – but the need has not arisen since the JCM-6000 was installed.”

A giant step forward for stereo microscopy The SMZ25 and SMZ18 are revolutionizing stereomicroscopy with their unique zoom range, along with modularity, comfort and ultra-high-performance optics. These new SMZ systems cover a wide range of functionality, from basic stereoscopic images of unparalled quality to the most sophisticated observation.

World’s largest zoom range and in the SMZ series An innovative optical system known as “Perfect Zoom Optics” provides impressive zoom ratio, making the SMZ25 the first stereomicroscope to offer a 25:1 zoom range. Even with a 1x objective lens, the SMZ25 captures the entire 35mm dish and simultaneously delivers microscopic details.

Superior resolution Both microscopes feature the newly developed SHR (Super High Resolution) Plan Apo objectives that offer a resolution of 1100LP/ mm (observed value, using SHR Plan Apo 2x at maximum zoom). The 0.5x, 1x, or 1.6x lower magnification objectives deliver a bright field of view and brilliant images with true-to-life colors.

Injection needle

Printed circuit board (brightfield)

Bright and high contrast fluorescence images The SMZ25 series is the first stereoscopic microscope in the world to use a fly-eye lens on an epi-fluorescence attachment. This ensures bright, uniform illumination even at low magnifications across a large field of view. Breakthroughs in the optical design have resulted in significantly improved signal-to-noise ratio and crystal-clear images in fluorescence as well as normal illumination techniques.

Improved observation efficiency The top model SMZ25 is availalble with a user-friendly remote control interface and motorized focus and zoom. The easy-to-operate OCC illumination (oblique lighting method) can be controlled using a slide lever. It generates minimal heat, has a long life and enhances the contrast of uneven surfaces. A wide range accessories is available to accommodate a variety of observation methods.


Watch detail (15.75x zoom)

News I Volume 8


3D laser scanning advances tool creation Multi-sensor CMM cuts 35% from cost of remanufacturing implant forging dies Laser scanning combined with touch probing on a Nikon Metrology coordinate measuring machine (CMM) fits perfectly with additive layer manufacturing (3D printing) practices at French rapid manufacturing service bureau, Applications Additives Avancées (3A). This modern metrology system is the key to reduced lead-times and lower costs in the manufacture of medical, aerospace and other mechanical components.

Located in a high technology industrial center in Nogent, France, 3A was formed in 2011 as a subcontract manufacturer of titanium alloy and cobalt chrome parts using electron beam melting (EBM) technology. The firm mainly services the medical sector, which presently accounts for 75% of turnover, producing standard and patient-specific implants and prostheses as well as medical instruments. However, contracts are also carried out for the aerospace and motorsport sectors, as EBM is ideal for producing turbine blades, for example, and lightweight, multi-piece assemblies as single components. To provide quality assurance support for these activities, specifically to ISO13485 for medical devices, 3A has purchased a Nikon


Metrology bridge-type coordinate measuring machine (CMM) with an 800 x 700 x 600 mm inspection volume. It was supplied with a Nikon Metrology LC15Dx laser scanning head capable of measuring regular and freeform 3D shapes to an accuracy of under ten microns, an order of magnitude less than the required accuracies of the parts being produced. Pascale Marié, Sales and Marketing Manager at 3A, commented, “We are very happy with the scanner, which we believe is the most accurate on the market. It is the latest version from Nikon Metrology and the first to be installed in France. Before buying the equipment, we were aware that touch probing was unable to provide effective control of the highly complex geometries, such as lattice structures, that we build in our Arcam EBM system. That is why we chose the LC15Dx. For simpler 3D printed components, however, our engineers program the CMM to inspect the parts by touch probing, as it is faster and less costly in terms of operator time.”

Laser scanning helps reduce the cost of producing forgings Ms Marie went on to explain that once the 3D scanning head was operational, it attracted a lot of work that had not been envisaged at the outset. For example, one customer that manufactures medical implants needed all of its legacy forging dies reverse-engineered to

The resulting point cloud from the laser scanning cycle.

The virtual surface of the electrode after 3D meshing.

LC15Dx scans the complete part in a few simple moves.

produce CAD files. Still in use today, the old die sets were originally either electro-eroded using copper electrodes or produced on a pantograph milling machine, so digital data did not exist. Now, the customer sends to 3A either the two halves of a forging die or the pair of electrodes that produced them. The data for reverse engineering is acquired on the Nikon Metrology CMM using its LC15Dx laser head and Focus Scan software. Turnaround time for the complete reverse engineering process is rapid at two to three days. Scanning a part takes from around 30 minutes up to 2.5 hours for a highly complex resin die, thanks to the speed of data acquisition with laser scanning, which measures 70,000 points per second at intervals of 22 microns. There are hundreds of dies that need to be digitised so that CAD files are available as tools wear out, ensuring continuity of implant production.

Programming a scanning cycle for reverse engineering a copper electrode used to manufacture femoral hip implant.

Low scan data noise results in smooth, high quality surfaces Irrespective of whether the scanner is employed for reverse engineering, or is used to inspect parts against design intent in CAD models to control the dimensional conformity of EBM manufactured components or help optimize die refurbishment, the capture of accurate point cloud data is essential. This is where the LC15Dx scores, as the accuracy of measured results is comparable with those of tactile inspection. Pascale Marié continued, “The point clouds resulting from scanning the freeform profile of a component are filtered and meshed into NURBS (non-uniform rational basis spline) surfaces that are grouped to create the CAD model.

The digital CAD models enable the customer to prepare metalcutting cycles so that the forging dies can be machined on modern, high speed cutting equipment in a process route that costs 35 per cent less and is considerably faster than when dies were spark eroded using expensive electrodes. The resulting financial advantage is significant, as the costs associated with forging die production are the single most important variable affecting the cost of forged products.

The smoothness and accuracy of the surfaces generated by the Nikon Metrology CMM, scanner and software is so good that the 0.1 mm tolerance required for subsequent forging die manufacture is easily maintained by our customer. Quality control over our own 3D additive manufactured components is similarly reliable.”

A second scanning application is the repair of existing tools. Once CAD models are available for a die set, it is possible to scan a used forging tool in order to accurately rebuild the two halves by repairing the metal in the places where they are worn. Those areas are machined and polished, after which further laser scanning allows the new profile to be referenced against the digital model. Any areas of concern can be highlighted using interactive or automatic deviation analysis with color mapping and reporting within the Nikon Metrology Focus Inspection software package.

Reflective surfaces are prevalent throughout 3A’s operations in Nogent, as forging dies are hand polished to achieve high accuracy, while some implant surfaces, notably for knees and hips, are honed mainly to optimize the friction coefficient. Laser scanning is usually susceptible to errors when inspecting such reflective surfaces, but the LC15Dx with its high quality Nikon lens handles the conditions well. Unwanted reflections are neutralized by an advanced software filter while changes in ambient light are absorbed by an optical daylight filter.

News I Volume 8


News_Volume8_EN_1113– Copyright Nikon Metrology NV 2011. All rights reserved. The materials presented here are summary in nature, subject to change and intended for general information only.

Nikon Metrology NV

Nikon Corporation

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Nikon Metrology, Inc. tel. +1 810 2204360

Nikon Metrology GmbH tel. +49 6023 91733-0

Nikon Metrology UK Ltd. tel. +44 1332 811349

Nikon Metrology SARL tel. +33 1 60 86 09 76

More offices and resellers at

Nikon Instruments (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. tel. +86 21 5836 0050 tel. +86 10 5869 2255 (Beijing office) tel. +86 20 3882 0550 (Guangzhou office) Nikon Singapore Pte. Ltd. tel. +65 6559 3618 Nikon Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. tel. +60 3 7809 3609 Nikon Instruments Korea Co. Ltd. tel. +82 2 2186 8400

Newsmagazine Vol.8  

Nikon Metrology News - Vol.8

Newsmagazine Vol.8  

Nikon Metrology News - Vol.8