Insights from industry

Ensuring High Quality Cleanliness Inspection

Francesco Piscani

Francesco Piscani, Applications Specialist, Olympus Corporation of the Americas, Scientific Solutions Group, talks to AZoM about the CIX100 turnkey technical cleanliness inspection system for maintaining the highest quality standards for the cleanliness of manufactured components.

What impact do residues on the surface of technical devices have on the performance and life span of a component and how does this differ across various industries?

Filter residue analysis is an essential part of analysing cleanliness for liquids and high precision parts. Detecting, visualizing, identifying and reporting residual particles found on filter media help automotive and aerospace engineers quantify contamination that in turn affects the performance, lifetime and reliability of final products. Previously, the mass of residue particles was used to characterize the residue. The standards in use today demand more detailed information about the nature of the contamination such as the number of particles, particle size distribution, and particle characteristic.

What traditional methods for contamination control exist and what are the major challenges manufacturers face in this area?

Traditionally Optical Microscopy with manual counting, laser diffraction, and dynamic light scattering have been used.

Manual counting takes significant time and typically does not provide repeatable results. Operators spend significant time looking into a microscope and hand counting particles, a calibrated eyepiece reticle helps them determine size.

Laser Diffraction and Dynamic light scattering only see particles at a single angle.  This can cause the size to be sometimes documented smaller than actual size.

What does the CIX100 system offer that these traditional methods don't?

The OLYMPUS CIX100 system offers high-performance image acquisition and accurate live analytics of both reflective and non-reflective particles ranging from 2.5 µm up to 42 mm in a single scan thanks to an innovative polarization method. This unique all-in-one-scan solution enables scans to be completed twice as fast as other optical inspection systems.

OLYMPUS CIX100 - high-performance image acquisition

How have international standards such as ISO 16232 (VDA 19.1) or ISO 4406 developed over recent years and what does the CIX100 system offer users to ensure the characterization of impurities is carried out in accordance with these standards?

The OLYMPUS CIX100 system’s functionality can be enhanced with a height measurement solution consisting of a 20X objective and special software to fulfil the VDA 19 requirements for height measurements.

What is the typical workflow for detecting particles on a filter membrane?

Extraction – Cleaning the products to capture the particles, Filtration – running the rinse fluid through the filter for visualization, Weighing – recording gravimetric weight to understand the mass of the contaminants, Inspection – Placing filter on CIX100 system and executing the inspection,  Results – review data in the CIX100 software, Analysis - explanation of findings to determine passing or if and how to react to an issue.

What fail safes are in place to allow the user to double check detected and classified particles using the CIX100 system?

You have the ability of double check particles by using different objectives and thus making sure of what you are looking at. CIX100 also includes a standard that can be used to recheck the system at any time. This standard is used during production to test the system and is provided to the customer with a certification from the manufacture.

How easy is it for users to install the CIX100 system into their process?

The system comes pre-installed in an Olympus provided computer.  It also comes with the microscope frame, controller box, monitor, and computer tower. With simple guidance to put in your specific pass fail criteria, the system is ready for use.

Are there any case studies you are particularly proud of that demonstrate how important using the CIX100 system is for removing foreign matter produced during manufacturing?

NASA is able to put satellites into space that last for generations. These satellites need an energy supply that guarantees enough power during their lifetime. The manufacturing of these solar cells require the most sophisticated cleanliness manufacturing process, because the most minute fibre or foreign matter residue will block enough sunlight to affect the lifetime of these solar cell batteries, thus affecting the entire mission. The CIX100 is currently used to count particles and fibres during the manufacturing process of these solar cell panels.

Where do you see the highest demand for true turnkey systems that ensure cleanliness of manufactured components and why?

Currently the automotive and aerospace industries. As the globalization of the manufacturing of OEM parts overflows country borders, there continues to be a push for standardization of manufacturing norms that supply these giants. The cleanliness standards established by these companies continue to be demanded from any company that would like to be an OEM supplier.

What are the next steps of development for the CIX100 system?

The ability to export data to easily accessible programs, for better data manipulation and data visualization.

How do you see contamination control during manufacturing developing over the next decade?

I see every major company knowing what part came from where, and if it is failing, knowing real-time when it was made, what it is causing it to fail, and where in the process is this contamination taking place.

About Francesco Piscani

Francesco Piscani, Applications Specialist, Olympus Corporation of the Americas, Scientific Solutions Group

Francesco Piscani provides Olympus customers and sales staff throughout the Eastern United States, Canada, and Latin America with product and applications support for industrial microscopy products including metallurgical, measuring, and digital microscopes; semiconductor equipment; and image analysis software.  

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of Limited (T/A) AZoNetwork, the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and Conditions of use of this website.

Stuart Milne

Written by

Stuart Milne

Stuart graduated from the University of Wales, Institute Cardiff with a first-class honours degree in Industrial Product Design. After working on a start-up company involved in LED Lighting solutions, Stuart decided to take an opportunity with AZoNetwork. Over the past five years at AZoNetwork, Stuart has been involved in developing an industry leading range of products, enhancing client experience and improving internal systems designed to deliver significant value for clients hard earned marketing dollars. In his spare time Stuart likes to continue his love for art and design by creating art work and continuing his love for sketching. In the future Stuart, would like to continue his love for travel and explore new and exciting places.


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