An advanced digital optical inspection system is used on three insert injection-molding machines. These real-time inspection systems prevent improper loading of inserts and ensure that they are loaded. The systems feature three different types of optical sensors for specific applications. One uses fiber optics and infrared light, which filters out interference of ambient lighting; another is a laser-detection system which can focus a split-second light beam on a part less than 0.25 mm in diameter; the third system employs compact digital cameras with built-in processors.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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