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July 2020

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Safe Inspection Processes Post Lockdown

As the immediate threat of Covid-19 subsides, several states are lifting the lockdown restrictions for manufacturing businesses. This means many companies are creating plans for introducing safe working practices in line with OSHA guidelines, ensuring the workforce is confident to get back to work and begin production.

"Preventing infection by instituting safe working distances is one of the measures needed to put into practice," said a Vision Engineering spokesperson. "In a manufacturing environment `Back-to-Work' plans will also need to consider how production staff use equipment and address processes where there is a potential risk of cross-contamination. This is particularly crucial where operators are in close contact with tools or machinery or when more than one person is required to share equipment."

One instance is where inspection personnel use conventional inspection microscopes to carry out re-work and detailed inspection procedures. "Even when wearing facemasks and gloves, users of conventional microscopes have a high risk of cross contamination, as their eyes are in direct contact with the eyepieces," said the spokesperson.

"With conventional `eyepiece' microscopes, the image formed in front of the eyepiece (the `exit pupil') is a few millimeters in diameter and typically about 10 mm to 15 mm in front of the eyepiece," continued the spokesperson. "To get the optimum view, the user's eye pupils need to be at the exit pupil. This requires the eyes to be in contact, or very near contact, with the eyepieces and presents a very obvious cross-contamination risk; eyepieces need to be thoroughly cleaned before and after use. The question then becomes, how can this be avoided."

The answer to this question lies in the technologies behind eyepiece-less microscopes. Patented "expanded pupil" technologies of spatial imaging, Dynascope technology and Deep Reality Viewer (DRV) offer a number of equipment options that allow inspection personnel to use a microscope without coming into direct contact with eyepieces.

The exit pupil in eyepiece-less microscopes is about 10x larger and is further from the instrument. Because no eyepieces are required, the user's eyes are several centimeters from the equipment, decreasing the risk of infection.

"The small exit pupil diameter in conventional microscopes limits the use of safety goggles since operators are unable to position their eyes at the exit pupil, which results in a restricted field of view," said the spokesperson. "With the larger exit pupil in eyepiece-less microscopes, the user is further away from the instrument and wearing protective eyewear will not impact the field of view. A larger exit pupil also means users are not in a fixed position when using the system and lateral head movement is possible without effecting the field of view (this enhances the 3D quality of the image)."

"Eyepiece-less microscopes can protect the user from unnecessary risk of infection and with several models available they can meet most technical requirements to ensure inspection and re-working processes or inspection and measurement protocols are carried out accurately and efficiently," added the spokesperson.

There are a range of optical eyepiece-less microscopes from Vision Engineering available to meet particular inspection needs: the Mantis series offers a low magnification solution (up to 20x) and the Lynx EVO offers a higher level of magnification (up to 240x). "All provide superb 3D imaging, together with a long working distance and large field of view, necessary for inspection and re-working," said the spokesperson. "Both systems offer simple dimensioning capabilities and for inspection with high precision measurement the Swift PRO series, eyepiece-less toolmakers microscope, combines inspection and high accuracy measurement."

The most recent advancement in eyepiece-less inspection technology is Vision Engineering's DRV-Z1, which incorporates digital 3D viewing technology. The DRV-Z1 offers inspection teams the ability to view components in vivid 3D without having to wear specialist headsets or glasses. Additionally, the connectivity options of the DRV-Z1 allows these 3D images to be shared in real-time across multiple sites, avoiding the need for unnecessary travel.

For more information contact:

Vision Engineering Inc.

570 Danbury Road

New Milford, CT 06776


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