Testing: First Ultra-High Speed Variable Focusing Lens for Industrial Environments

Mitutoyo launches Taglens series of variable focusing lens for industrial environments ideal for non-contact, ultra-high speed inspection systems.

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What is said to the first ultra-high speed variable focusing lens capable of operating in tough industrial environments, has been introduced by Japan’s Mitutoyo Corp. (U.S. office in Aurora, Ill.). According to the company, the new Taglens series of producs is ideal for demanding   inspection applications such as non-contact ultra-high speed inspection systems, as they reduce the need for mechanical focusing modules.  Due to its capabilities, Taglens is expected to transform the future of inspection and significantly increase productivity, says Mitutoyo.

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.  It was later developed and commercialized by TAG Optics Inc., a company co-founded by Arnold and Princeton alumnus Christian Theriault to bring the technology to market.  In 2016, Mitutoyo acquired a controlling interest in TAG Optics Inc. with the intention to further develop the technology.

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 thanks to its state-of-the-art controller. It is manufactured in the U.S.  by Mitutoyo Optics Manufacturing America Corp., Kirkland, Wash.

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.  TAG Technology already has been used in a wide range of markets and can benefit packaging and manufacturing sites in sectors such as electronics, molded parts manufacturing, medical, food packaging, etc.  Thanks to its focusing speed, which is much faster than mechanical systems, the Taglens-T1 can increase the depth-of-field of any optical system. It is also the first variable focus lens capable of withstanding large amount of vibrations and shock or being mounted on robotic arms while maintaining optical performance.

The Taglens product launch also includes the Mitutoyo VMU-T1: 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. Such an increase in depth-of-field reduces the need for mechanical z-motion and thereby reduces the time needed to inspect parts with complex geometry.