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Queen’s Award – Precision Inspection Machines for Industrial Applications

InspecVision’s industry-leading reputation on the international stage was further underlined in 2021 when it was bestowed the Queen’s Award for Enterprise. The developer and manufacturer of 2D and 3D measurement systems for inspection of manufactured components, was one of five Northern Ireland firms to receive the prestigious honour for its outstanding export performance.

Established in 2003, InspecVision was conceived by Dr. Jan Antonis who, following advanced research in computer vision systems at Queens University Belfast, discovered a gap in the market for high speed, easy-to-use, lower cost inspection machines. This saw the development of Planar, the world’s fastest measurement tool for 2D parts.

Ideal for shopfloor use, Planar can effectively increase production throughput across a variety of applications including flat and folded formed-sheet metal components, laminations, O-rings, gaskets and seals, paper acetate and electronic drawings, as well as other opaque and semi-transparent flat materials.

Reverse engineering can be accomplished in a matter of seconds with existing parts created as dxf or dwg CAD files. Users can edit and clean the data, standardising hole sizes and clean edges while the need for hand measurements and CAD programming is eliminated.

Be it physical part, paper, acetate or electronic image file, reverse engineering can be accomplished to create CAD files. Optional 3D modules offer further versatility alongside InspecVision’s Opti-Scan 3D (for full 3D capability) and SurfScan (extending Planar to 2.5D).

Over the last few years, the Opti-Scan 3D has grown in prominence as components and software have allowed for the same level of automation in 3D as has been achieved in 2D. The density of measurement points capable of being achieved is particularly attractive in the sheet metal industry where the location of edges is the critical conundrum.

The range has more recently been expanded with the introduction of Accuity, an automated, large field of view, telecentric gauging system that can scan in both 2D and 3D. Possessing a certified accuracy from 6 microns, Accuity is capable of scanning parts greater than 160mm diameter. It also boasts unrivalled setup and inspection time for a new part at around 4 seconds.

3D scanning is included as standard, allowing inspection of each feature in both 2D and 3D. Parts can then be compared to both 2D and 3D CAD models, or inspected without a CAD model. 20MP cameras and HD projectors produce accurate measurements traceable to ISO10360-4.

InspecVision’s recognition at the Queen’s Awards is indicative of its expansion overseas with export growth of 129% over the last three years, with its main markets being the United States, China and Europe. Indeed, in 2020, it became an official partner of TRUMPF, one of the world’s leaders in machine tools and lasers for industrial manufacturing, in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

It’s also reflective of how the business has evolved, complementing its solutions with further innovation. This year it has, for example, developed a solution for its 2D system in which, instead of backlighting to create a silhouette to be measured, the product is lit from above to measure surface features. Currently a major car manufacturer in the USA is using the system to measure weld seam locations.

With technology moving at a rapid pace, one of InspecVision’s current challenges is to leverage the capability of cameras with 3-times the resolution of those it currently uses. While these have clear advantages, the processing power needed to analyse the data – up to 600 million measurements – is significant.

What’s clear is that InspecVision continues to go from strength to strength. The Queen’s Award for Enterprise is further indication of that. Jan noted his pride at achieving the recognition and says it “celebrates the dedication and commitment of our team and the immense contribution and support of our distribution partners which has enabled us to deliver world-class quality control solutions to manufacturers across the globe.”

 

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