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SBIR Phase I: In Situ Three-dimensional Surface Roughness Gauge

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1746302
Agency Tracking Number: 1746302
Amount: $225,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: MI
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2017
Award Year: 2018
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2018-01-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2018-06-30
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
 Brad Kimbrough
 (520) 294-5600
Business Contact
 Brad Kimbrough
Phone: (520) 294-5600
Research Institution

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will demonstrate feasibility of the first metrology system capable of quantifying surface roughness in three dimensions in situ in production environments. Current shop floor systems are almost entirely two-dimensional stylus-based systems that are fragile, incapable of measuring complex geometries and have high cost of ownership. A shop-floor, 3D roughness system will enable greater sampling, faster process feedback and improved time-to-results which will enhance competitiveness across a wide range of U.S. industries including medical devices, aerospace, transportation, and defense. All precision machined components call out surface roughness or texture, yet achieving consistent results with existing contact gauges is difficult and time consuming. It is believed that a shop floor, non-contact roughness measurement device could gain significant market share, with sales upwards of $50M/year upon proving correlation with existing trusted laboratory techniques. Also, trusted, readily available roughness information on almost any machined surface will enable enhanced quality, lifetime, and aesthetics for precision manufacturers, improving competitiveness and reducing waste across a variety of industries. The intellectual merit of this project is due to its leveraging of recent advances in a variety of fields including additive manufacturing, precision optics, microprocessing, image sensors and interferometric algorithms to achieve nm-scale vertical resolution in a vibration-immune device deployable in manufacturing environments. The closest similar product has vertical resolution more than 100X worse than is proposed here and the proposed performance goals present significant challenges to achieve both high resolution and hand-held capability. A successful Phase 1 will prove that significant synergies between advances in various fields can be combined to significantly advance performance over prior generation products. Also, if successful, manufacturers will have access to a far greater range of process control parameters on more types of surfaces and will be able to improve quality and yield significantly via faster and more accurate feedback into their production cycle. The output of this Phase 1 program will be a first article device that can be brought to customers for demonstration in a shop floor environment. The device will correlate with existing techniques while solving many key issues, such as alignment difficulty, scratching surfaces via a contact measurement, and lack of three-dimensional surface information.

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

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