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Optical Comparators

Optical Comparators Product Lineup

Discontinued Series:
  • Image Dimension Measurement SystemIM-8000 series

    IM-8000 series - Image Dimension Measurement System

    Capable of high-definition imaging, the IM-8000 Series Image Dimension Measurement System has triple the detection performance of conventional systems without sacrificing its simple operation; just place the part on the stage and press one button. With a 20-megapixel CMOS sensor and a new algorithm for stable edge detection, high-accuracy measurement on up to 300 features within seconds is now possible. A newly developed, optional automated rotary fixture allows for 360' multi-surface measurement on diverse part sizes and shapes. Achieve accurate and repeatable measurements instantly with its 'place and press' operation; this ensures consistent results regardless of operator experience. The fast, accurate, and easy-to-use interface of this product solve various measurement-related problems.

  • High Accuracy Image Dimension Measurement SystemLM series

    LM series - High Accuracy Image Dimension Measurement System

    The LM Series High-Accuracy Instant Measurement System is an automated inspection system that can perform measurements to +/- 0.7μm accuracy and +/- 0.1μm repeatability at the push of a button. Similar to the IM Series, the unit has built-in edge detection with automatic focus and lighting. The unit also automatically records measurement data and creates detailed inspection reports. The image showcases our latest LM-1100 model which houses high-resolution double telecentric lenses for precision optical inspection and a large 9 x 5” field of view.

  • Image Dimension Measurement SystemIM-7000 series

    IM-7000 series - Image Dimension Measurement System

    The IM Series Instant Measurement System is an automated optical comparator that can perform up to 99 dimensional measurements in 3 seconds or less at the push of a button. The unit also automatically records measurement data and creates detailed inspection reports. Our latest IM-7030T model has an 8x12" measurement area for large or more space for multiple small parts. The unit also has a built-in automated height gauge for Z-axis measurements.

Discontinued Series

  • Image Dimension Measurement SystemIM-6000 seriesDiscontinued

    IM-6000 series - Image Dimension Measurement System

    The images showcases our IM-6025 model, the unit that transformed the traditional optical comparator into today's visual inspection system designed for speed, accuracy and ease-of-use. With fixed telecentric lenses, advanced optics, and high-precision cameras, this system helped modernize the optical comparator and has helped countless companies significantly reduce inspection time and increase throughput.

What is an Optical Comparator?

An optical comparator, also commonly known as a profile projector or shadowgraph, is a type of measuring instrument that projects a part's shadow on a screen, and the dimensions of the part are measured against design standards. The part is placed on the stage, and a light is shined on the part from underneath. This causes the part's shadow, or profile, to be projected on the screen and inspectors manually inspect the outlines of the targets. The most technologically advanced versions utilize software that automatically analyzes the part image to report measurements.

Benefits of Optical Comparators

Multi-Dimensional Measurement

A primary feature of optical comparators is that they have two dimensional measurement capabilities (X and Y directions), unlike hand tools such as micrometers, vernier calipers or height/depth gauges, which are limited to measurement in only one direction at a time.

The benefit is that it enables inspectors to double their output compared to the one direction hand tools. Operators can line up the lower left-hand corner of the image with the screen centerline to set up an origin point and get a simultaneous reading of both length and width helping to streamline inspection processes.

Non-Contact Inspection

Optical comparators use a non-contact measurement that doesn't skew the measurement of flexible parts or damage sensitive parts. During the inspection process, nothing but light touches the part, so the part doesn't have any potential to warp or change shape.

A major benefit beyond part integrity is that non-contact gauges also eliminate the "feel factor" and resulting human error of hand gauges. With this subjectivity removed, companies see an improvement in the consistency of their measured values.

Reduce Inspection Time

Companies can see cost benefits through optical comparator utilization. One way is that they can reduce inspection time with optical comparators by measuring faster than conventional handheld gaging.

With the time saved and increased throughput, there can be a significant impact on profitability. Another cost saving comes in the form of hard gauges. By using optical methods more, you greatly reduce the wear of hard gauges. Also with more wear and need for periodic recertification, there's a requirement for additional substitute tools to use during these down periods which can now be eliminated with optical methods.

Optical Comparators Case Studies

Medical Industry

See case studies and white papers from medical companies that have implemented the IM Series automated optical comparator into their inspection processes. Many medical companies require FDA validation for use, so KEYENCE has made a normally difficult quick and easy with the help of their dedicated support staff. Example applications include medical tubing, stents, needles, vials, orthopedic screws, and more.

Aerospace and Defense Industry

See case studies and white papers from aerospace and defense companies. The system's built-in SPC software automatically collects data and generates detailed inspection reports to help with AS9100 requirements. Example applications include precision machined and turned components like flanges and fasteners.

Automotive Industry

See case studies and white papers from automotive companies. Companies utilize the IM Series to meet the production part approval process (PPAP) design and specification requirements. Example applications include electrical connectors, springs/stampings, o-rings, gears, valves, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions About Optical Comparators

Optical comparators are designed for visual two dimensional inspection. For this reason, a part would need to be reoriented and remeasured for three dimensional features. Another method would be to use a combination of tools such as an optical comparator, calipers/micrometers, and height gauges. For example; you can measure any two dimensional feature using the optical comparator, but then move the part over to a height gauge to get any required heights or depths. The final measured results can be manually written on a report or typed into an existing reporting platform.

KEYENCE's IM Series automated optical comparator measures up to 99 dimensions on a part in 3 seconds or less at the push of a button to +/- 2um accuracy. Once the part is measured, the system automatically records the data and creates an inspection report. Our latest unit has a built-in height gauge for Z axis measurements. When compared to a traditional optical comparator, companies see a significant reduction in inspection time, operator subjectivity and scrap and rework. The advantages in measurement speed, accuracy, and ease-of-use are immediate.

Knowledge About Optical Comparators

"Measurement Fundamentals" is an informative site offering knowledge related to dimensional measurements in manufacturing, including optical comparator basics.

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