Optical inspection takes a technological leap forward with Mitutoyo’s TAGLENS™


Optical inspection has taken a technological leap forward with the arrival of the new TAGLENS™ series of products from Mitutoyo.

For any manufacturer involved in optical measurement, there are several known challenges when measuring three-dimensional targets – Mitutoyo now eradicates these issues with its patented TAGLENS™. Ideal for demanding inspection applications such as non-contact ultra-high-speed inspection systems, the TAGLENS™ series reduces the need for mechanical focusing modules.

Optical inspection of 3D targets with conventional lenses often raises issues with
variable distances, inclination, movement and reflections – luckily the Mitutoyo TAGLENS™ is anything but conventional. The combination of these problems means that some surfaces will be out of focus in every image. Mitutoyo’s patented new TAGLENS™ has an unparalleled ultra-deep focus that captures in-focus images instantaneously to accelerate productivity and efficiency with optical measurement processes.

The exciting new TAGLENS™ is the first ultra-high-speed variable focusing lens capable of operating in tough industrial environments. It incorporates an ultra-fast varifocal lens that guarantees to keep your target component in focus when inspecting – delivering unsurpassed observation and measurement efficiency. The extremely wide focus range of the TAGLENS™ allows the real-time probing of multiple heights or depths without vertical (Z-axis) motion. Furthermore, the incredible new system is not sensitive to orientation around a component or surface. This makes the TAGLENS™ the perfect solution for inspecting at a variety of angles and inclinations around a sample. This enables industry to now inspect components by moving the TAGLENS™ system around the part and not having to orientate the part, which can be an issue in production line situations. To deliver results you can trust, the TAGLENS™ is available with a Pulsed Light Source (PLS) that enables a focused image in any vertical Z-axis position to be captured without a mechanical drive system within the observation range – this is a credit to the extended focal depth of the TAGLENS™.

The patented Mitutoyo TAGLENS™ technology resolves a vast array of challenges that the industry has struggled with until now. When inspecting electronic components such as PCBs and other precision parts, inspection times can be excessive and multiple cumbersome measurement devices are often required. With its large depth of focus even in high-magnification situations, the TAGLENS™ eradicates the need for focal adjustment to improve processing speed and inspection efficiency. Furthermore, the innovative new device cuts inspection costs by eliminating the need for a mechanical auto-focus unit – a feature that makes the TAGLENS™ an efficient and compact solution when compared to traditional technologies.

In addition, the new Mitutoyo TAGLENS™ is perfect for high-speed imaging. By capturing multiple deep images at a single time, the system is ideal for destructive testing applications where detailed images of moving parts, such as crash tests. Crash testing captures the aftermath of a collision and with the TAGLENS™, scattered debris or chips can be captured with credit to the large focal depth of the system.

Another application area of increasing importance is automation and robotics. When mounting an inspection device on a robotic arm, it is time-consuming to observe and measure a workpiece from various angles and distances. Once again, the TAGLENS™ resolves an ‘age-old’ industry challenge as the impressive focus characteristics eliminate the need for adjustment. This speeds up the inspection process by measuring the part regardless of the angle and orientation of the robot – increasing speed, overall efficiency, measurement accuracy and conformance.

The TAGLENS™ suite of products includes the TAGLENS-T1 ultra-high-speed varifocal lens with a resonance frequency of 70KHz and an effective aperture of 11mm diameter. The unique ability to change focus in 70kHz enables productivity and cost improvements across a wide range of quality assurance processes. Furthermore, this 0.6kg lens can be mounted at any angle and has a guaranteed operational temperature range of 15 to 30 degrees C, increasing the flexibility of the system.

To take the scope of this innovation further, the TAGLENS-T1 can be integrated with the Mitutoyo VMU-T1 video microscope unit. By incorporating the objective lens and the camera, users can configure a varifocal microscope with the option of an objective lens of 1X, 2X, 5X, 7.5X, 10X, 20X and 50X.

An additional option is the PLS light source. This LED pulse illuminator combines with the TAGLENS-T1 to achieve focused image acquisition and 2D image synthesis at the desired position. The VMU-T1 is the first commercial system to incorporate the TAG technology. The unique combination embodied in the VMU-T1 results in a powerful inspection tool which, when using Mitutoyo’s M Plan Apo Series of objectives, generates world-leading imaging depth-of-field capabilities that are up to 20 times greater than other similar microscopy inspection systems.

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