GPAINNOVA Acquires its First Confocal Microscope for Precise Surface Measuring

April 7 , 2021

GPAINNOVA, the global leading company in dry electropolishing technology and specializing in marine robotics, medical devices and high performane power electronics, has recently acquired its first SensoFar machine. This model, a Five Axis 3D Optical profiler, allows to take automatic 3D surface measurements at defined positions or perspectives, while combining them to create a complete 3D volumetric measurement. The equipment is ideal for micromachining, additive manufacturing, tooling and medical technology applications, some of GPANNOVA’s core areas of activity. The SensoFar machine will allow to obtain highest-quality results in its current surface finishing solutions.

The so-called S neox 3D measurement technologies cover a wide range of scales, including form (Ai Focus Variation), subnanometric roughness (Interferometry technology) or critical dimensions that require high lateral resolution, as well as vertical resolution (Confocal technology).

Suitable for sharp edges and critical surfaces

The features described make the equipment extremely versatile. Using it, it is possible to measure the sample at different positions of rotation and elevation, generating individual measurements. The SensoFIVE software merges all the surfaces, providing a sample surface with high accuracy by using the stacked image information of each surface measurement. Merging several elevations, the system provides shape and form information on sharp edges and/or critical surfaces.

Regarding traditional technologies, measuring complex surfaces containing steep angles has always been difficult due to shadowing effects that prevent you from obtaining a complete measurement within a single acquisition. In fact, it is necessary to tilt the sample to measure it from two different positions and combine the two topography results in order to get the complete measurement. Five Axis rotational stage allows the sample to be positioned in opposite directions to make the surface visible. The system acquires the individual measurements and then, it merges them automatically to get a complete 3D volumetric measurement.


Easy measurements with no limitation

Another strength of the Five Axis 3D Optical profiler has to do with its facility of use. Measuring several parts of a sample with a single click is possible thanks to automation routines. A user-friendly interface helps professionals to find the right measurement position without constraints. This feature lets technicians to focus on the critical parts of any sample and add them to the automation routine. Finally, clicking on the button ACQUIRE, it is possible to obtain all parts measured in a single gesture.

Confocal and Interferometry technologies allow to measure surfaces with any type of roughness, from extremely rough —which is common in additive manufacturing applications— to highly reflective surfaces, as a diamond mirror-like surface. At its turn, Ai Focus Variation technology provides a quick response to measure slopes independently of the objective lenses.

At GPAINNOVA, SensoFar is used specially to quantify the quality of its polishing and to inform about the roughness reduction in the samples after polishing with DLyte.

Before having SensoFar, the only parameters measured were profile parameters (Ra, Rz, Rq, etc.), which are based on the profiles along the X-axis. Despite the fact that Ra is the most used parameter, it does not give any information about the spatial structure of the surface. Nonetheless, from now on, and thanks to SensoFar metrology, the surface parameters such as Sa —which is the extension of Ra to a surface— can be measured. Sa takes into account the surface of the sample to measure its roughness and it allows a better characterization of the surfaces than Ra. The main advantage of measuring an area is the possibility to scan a larger area and generate a surface of several millimeters in size to take a better overview of the sample and to get more reliable values. The 3D areal surface parameters are calculated following the ISO 25178 standard —considered as first and foremost providing a redefinition of the foundations of surface texture— and comprise the following parameters: Sa, Sq, Ssk, Sku, Sp, Sv and Sz.

In addition to the roughness parameters provided by SensoFar, it takes 2D and 3D images of the surface, which helps us to distinguish at a first glance the depth of the valleys and peaks of the samples. Moreover, the software provided by SensoFar offers a set of tools capable of displaying and analyzing measurements.

The following figures shows 2D and 3D images of a screw; just below, there is the profile of the sample where annotations can be made to highlight and measure specific features (angles, radius, distance…). SensoFar’s versatility of movement allows sampling of drills, threads and even cavities that previously we could not obtain roughness information because of the inaccessibility of the samples.

Below, there is a small example of what DLyte is capable of. A sample made of CoCr before and after DLyte polishing can be seen below together with the images taken with Interferometry. This technology allows to measure mirror finishes such as this femoral component.

As it can be seen, due to the B/W images and the color images taken with interferometry, a decrease of the surface roughness of the sample is shown after the DLyte process. Additionally, there is the Sa parameter which quantifies the reduction roughness getting a Sa <0,05 µm.



GPAINNOVA is a technology company born in 2013 in Barcelona, with subsidiaries in this city, Miami (Florida, USA), Hong Kong and Shenzhen (Mainland China) and specializing in surface metal finishing machinery, with DLyte and MURUA; medical devices with Respira Advanced, USV (Unmanned Surface Vehicles) with GPASEABOTS and high performance power electronics, with POWER INNOTECH. GPAINNOVA has a team of more than 150 professionals on staff and more than 35 engineers, and had a turnover of €15.8 million in 2020. The company has been selected by Financial Times among the 1,000 Europe’s Fastest Growing Companies in 2020 and 2021.

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