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Optical 3D Metrology Controls Complex Shapes From A To Z

Unlike contact instruments, there is no risk of damaging surfaces with optical measurement systems. The cocktail of advantages offered by Alicona optical systems, including the user not needing any special knowledge in metrology to perform measurements, is illustrated by the use of the Bruker Alicona system at C&K switches. Based in France, the company manufactures more than 55,000 standard products and 8.5 million combinations of miniature switches in many different designs, micro-switches used in many applications in the automotive, consumer electronics, telecom, space and medical industries.

To ensure the durability of its products over time, C&K chose Bruker Alicona’s InfiniteFocus G5 optical measurement system with AdvancedReal3D to significantly improve the manufacturing quality of these mini-switches.

“The main application is the validation of tools that we manufacture by wire EDM, sinker EDM or HSM (high-speed machining),” explains Laurent Gagey, specialist at C&K. “The checks are performed by adjusting and comparing the scanned data sets with the nominal shapes from the CAD files. The tolerances for the production of these elements are generally in the order of a few micrometers. By measuring the tools and stamping dies used to manufacture the micro-switches, we are able to control their service life. Thus, continuous monitoring of their wear is achieved through comparison with CAD models.” These are very difficult-to-measure subassemblies that have shiny surfaces, a complex shape and require the fusion of several 3D data sets with high accuracy.

“The Bruker Alicona system, equipped with the Advanced Real3D rotation device, automatically achieves this by producing high-quality, dense and reliable 3D models that can be easily compared to CAD data,” the C&K expert boasts. “The main advantage of the system is its ability to provide control of a complete shape. This means that users do not have to separate it into separate geometric elements, and we can adjust the machining parameters of our production facilities to the nearest micrometer.” Another feature of the optical 3D metrology system is the ability to measure surface finish directly on the 3D model created by the system.

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