ROBOTAG Focuses on Robotic Aerospace Inspection

Strict requirements from the aerospace industry necessitated the development of a robot mounted optical inspection system by Mitutoyo, capable of imaging defects in critical components

Mitutoyo’s Technology Solutions Group has developed the non-contact quality assurance device. Labeled as ROBOTAG, the solution combines Mitutoyo’s Tunable Acoustic Gradient Index of Refraction Lens (better known as the TAGLENS) with a robot arm and specially developed software for automated defect detection systems. Due to the unification of the lens’ vast depth of focus and the accuracy of the robot arm, demanding inspection tasks can be drastically improved while minimizing the movement of the arm at the same time.

Ultra-Deep Focus Eliminates Conventional Lens Limitations.

There are traditionally major problems with optical inspection of three dimensional targets using conventional lenses, including variable distances, inclination, movement, and multiple reflections. The result of these problems is that some surfaces are out of focus in every image.

The ultra-high-speed TAGLENS has ground-breaking ultra-deep focus, which allows completely in-focus images of the target to be captured instantaneously. This revolution in optical inspection dramatically improves productivity and efficiency. The large depth of focus eliminates the need for focus adjustment, speeding up the inspection process by allowing observation regardless of the angle.

The patented technology powering the TAGLENS series of products was invented at Princeton University by a team led by Professor Craig B. Arnold, a world-renowned material scientist and laser expert. In 2016, Mitutoyo acquired a controlling interest in TAG Optics Inc.

Mitutoyo’s TAGLENS-T1 represents a new and improved embodiment of the technology, capable of being used in demanding industrial and harsh environment while maintaining nano-second level resolution due to its state-of-the-art controller. The TAGLENS-T1 has the unique ability to change focus in 70 kHz enabling productivity and cost improvement across a wide range of quality assurance processes. Focusing speed is much faster than mechanical systems allowing TAGLENS-T1 to increase the depth-of-field of any optical system. The TAGLENS-T1 is also the first variable focus lens capable of withstanding large amount of vibrations and shock while being mounted on robotic arms maintaining optical performance.

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