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SBIR Phase II: High-Resolution Shop Floor Video-Rate Surface Metrology System

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1556049
Agency Tracking Number: 1556049
Amount: $691,926.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: MI
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2015
Award Year: 2016
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2016-03-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2018-02-28
Small Business Information
3280 E Hemisphere Loop, Ste 146
Tucson, AZ 85706
United States
DUNS: 111037482
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Erik Novak
 (520) 294-5600
Business Contact
 Erik Novak
Phone: (520) 294-5600
Research Institution

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will develop and produce a robust, hand-held, video-rate three-dimensional surface metrology system with vertical and lateral resolution of several micrometers, in order to bridge a critical existing metrology gap for precision-machined surfaces. Many modern manufactured parts, such as turbine blades, drive shafts, orthopedics, and various additive manufactured components require in-situ metrology with high resolution for accurate characterization during manufacturing and/or maintenance operations. Current high-resolution surface measurement systems are slow, vibration-sensitive and laboratory-based and thus are impractical for everyday use by manufacturing technicians. Meanwhile, shop-floor inspection is often only visual, and thus qualitative rather than quantitative, leading both to rejections of acceptable components as well as potential acceptance of failing ones. The absence of high-precision, in-situ metrology has hindered manufacturers from applying real-time data analysis and closed-loop process controls that can improve yields and reduce manufacturing costs. This research program will yield a hand-held, easy-to-use, robust, and quantitative shop-floor measurement system, allowing manufacturers to improve lifetimes, performance, and yield as they rapidly assess the features under test and feed the results back to improve process control. During Phase I, a breadboard system was designed and implemented using a polarization-based fringe projection method and micropolarizer phase-mask technology to achieve vibration insensitive measurement in a compact package. This Phase II program leverages that research to design a video-rate, compact, robust and portable system for handheld surface measurements in shop-floor environments. This will first involve improvements to measurement resolution with an improved optical design and new self-calibrating measurement modes; new optical elements will lower noise artifacts caused by imperfections in the earlier design and to reduce system size. Once performance of the new design is verified, an ergonomic, compact, robust, wireless housing for the instrument must be created to enable shop-floor use; the system must handle drops of over one meter onto concrete, have useful battery life for extended field operations, be light enough to not fatigue users and have intuitive controls and feedback. A final, critically important development effort will create automated software routines for measurement, analysis, and system diagnostics to enable adoption by unskilled personnel in manufacturing environments. Lastly, extensive applications testing in the field will allow optimization of the system to handle a wide range of potential use cases and environments.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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