28 April 2006 In-process 3D assessment of micromoulding features
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Micro injection moulding (micromoulding) technology has recently emerged as a viable manufacturing route for polymer, metal and ceramic components with micro-scale features and surface textures. With a cycle time for production of a single component of just a few seconds, the proces offers the capability for mass production of microscale devices at a low marginal cost. However, the extreme stresses, strain rates and temperature gradients characteristic of the process have the consequence that a slight fluctuation in material properties or moulding conditions can have a significant impact on the dimensional or structural properties of the resulting component and in-line process monitoring is highly desirable. This paper describes the development of an in-process, high speed 3-dimensional measurement system for evaluation of every component manufactured during the process. A high speed camera and microscope lens coupled with a linear stage are used to create a stack of images which are subsequently processed using extended depth of field techniques to form a virtual 3-dimensional contour of the component. This data can then be used to visually verify the quality of the moulding on-screen or standard machine vision algorithms can be employed to allow fully automated quality inspection and filtering of sub-standard products. Good results have been obtained for a range of materials and geometries and measurement accuracy has been verified through comparison with data obtained using a Wyko NT1100 white light interferometer.
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B. R. Whiteside, B. R. Whiteside, R. Spares, R. Spares, P. D. Coates, P. D. Coates, } "In-process 3D assessment of micromoulding features", Proc. SPIE 6188, Optical Micro- and Nanometrology in Microsystems Technology, 61880Z (28 April 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.662566; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.662566

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