RISE ICT stories: High-precision measurement with fiber optics can increase manufacturer productivity

Picture of fiber interferometer

The growing demand for inexpensive, high-quality optical components for consumer electronics, such as mobile phones and digital cameras, puts pressure on the manufacturing industry. The Swedish company System 3R International partnered with RISE Acreo to develop a flexible, high-precision measurement system based on fiber optics technology.

“In 2014, we presented the prototype of a new Fiber interferometer at trade shows and to key customers, all with positive response”, says Håkan Dahlquist at System 3R International. “Successful tests have been done in real industrial environments, and the experience was implemented in a serial version, in which improved dust resistance and usage of a Tablet computer are key elements”.

“The manufacturing industry is often pressured to make new moulds within a short timespan, in order to manufacture components on-demand. In production mode, equipment must function with consistent accuracy. High-precision measurement, for high yield, is therefore a key factor in the production process. System 3R International is a supplier of clamping tools for the manufacturing industry. They needed a flexible method to measure distances with great precision, in order to perform tasks like locating work pieces or calibrating machines. In 2006, Acreo and System 3R began collaborating to find out if fiber optics-based sensor technology could be used. Together, we developed a measurement system for high-accuracy positioning.

“This is a flexible and easy-to-use system. The core is a patented signal-processing algorithm, which makes it possible to obtain high resolution from a cost-effective design and a selection of hardware equipment. The sensor measures the absolute distance between a fiber tip and an object, within tenths of nanometers,” said Magnus Lindblom, project leader at RISE Acreo.

With the fiber interferometer, System 3R International is planning to extend their market to include mould-making and direct manufacturing of components that require even higher precision, such as mass production of optics.

“We have ordered three more units of the new serial version from Acreo. These units will be lent out to pilot customers for testing in early 2015. After that, the system should be ready for release to market,” Håkan Dahlquist concluded.

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Fiber Optics at RISE Acreo

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