August 2014 – Optical Gaging Singapore (OGS) caught up with Vijay Patel to learn how VIEW Micro-Metrology has advanced into the world of nanoscale measurement.
Q1 Give us some background about VIEW Micro-Metrology.
Vijay:VIEW Micro-Metrology is the combination of VIEW Engineering and Micro-Metric, two pioneers in high precision video measurement systems – each with over 30 years of proven performance.
One of the world’s first video coordinate measuring machine (CMM) was introduced by VIEW Engineering way back in 1976. In 2005, VIEW Engineering acquired Micro-Metric to form VIEW Micro-Metrology, a division within Quality Vision International Inc.(QVI).
Micro-Metric brings technological expertise in high-magnification microscopy and submicron feature measurement to VIEW’s strengths in high-speed, large-area metrology systems. This extends our technology roadmap for micro-machined and microelectronic component metrology into the nanoscale realm. These are exciting times for us.
Q2. Your analogy about playing “traffic cop” in the production line, tell us how VIEW goes about policing quality in production.
Vijay:Demand for speed in measurements has impacted vision measurement technologies. Generally, manufacturing volume has gone up across industries everywhere. When sample sizes go up, people still want to produce with fewer machines (perhaps larger), fewer operators but at a faster pace.
This is where VIEW comes in. We focus on process control in mass manufacturing to give you confidence and reliability to reduce rejects and larger reworks. Machine settings don’t hold forever and depending on the process you’re doing, you’d want to make sure the production equipment is on track in terms of being optimally set. If the measurements deviate, you have that feedback, and you can do the adjustments. To meet these demands, our vision measuring machines are integrated into the production line providing precise inspection at multiple stages in the manufacturing process.
In a nutshell, people want to see results and are more open to deploying it if you can get them more yields, less repairs, less rejects, and better margins. And that’s what we’re good at.
Q3 VIEW is today one of the world’s top few vision players, what are some of the applications requiring ultra-high precision non-contact measurement.
Vijay:Our technology lends itself to many segments and that makes it interesting. We go and learn from customers what problems they have and give them tools to make their job easier. We work with people in semiconductors, data storage, electronic assembly, precision assembly and fabrication, and MEMs.
Some applications: components that go into a HDD (Hard Disk Drive) have tight tolerances and have to be made extremely precisely so end users get reliable data; medical devices such as pacemakers that are surgically inserted into bodies have to be robust as you don’t want to disturb it once it’s implanted.
In precision metal work, devices comprising many different smaller parts have to be assembled to form the whole. If these parts are not precise, they won’t fit together well, compromising specific functions. These apply to automotive, aerospace, and even in nuclear fuel.
Q4 With the challenges in microscopic manufacturing, how has vision measurement evolved over the years?
Vijay:To keep pace with shrinking geometries, machine vision measurements have to deliver high image resolution, processing performance and multi-sensing capabilities required for high-speed component and assembly verification.
Vision measuring systems today have more than one sensing device to address multi-dimensional parts using different technologies to collect data. QVI for example offers one-stop solutions incorporating advanced multi-sensor technologies in one machine – a camera to take pictures of flat surfaces, touch probes, other sensors to collect different data – all of that coexist on one machine.
Our machines are also getting more sophisticated. Gone are the days of analog. We now have digital cameras with 5-10 megapixels that will get you far better image resolutions and accuracies of machine specs. Higher computing processing power also allows us to perform at levels more quickly and at tighter accuracies of +/- 1 micron. New technologies are constantly being adopted, we envisage ultraviolet (UV), deep UV, X-rays will be used at some point to replace conventional lighting source as transistors and parts get smaller.