42 Technology develops automated scratch detection system for INFICON

42 Technology develops automated scratch detection system for INFICON

March 2021

Scratch detection

42 Technology and INFICON AG – one of the world’s leading industrial sensor companies – have worked together on a new automated inspection technology.

The technology can detect scratches of more than 10 microns in width on polished glass surfaces in under a second. It is being used by INFICON to partly automate a critical quality-control task involved in the production of helium leak detection sensors.

It will help to make the current manual inspection process used for glass sensor components easier, faster and less tiring for manufacturing technicians. The system will also help INFICON to further improve product quality and boost its manufacturing efficiency and production capacity.

42 Technology has developed a very practical and easy-to-use inspection tool that will help INFICON’s manufacturing team to more clearly identify scratches, and to decide whether to pass specific glass components into the next stage of production. The new system will also be invaluable in providing more comprehensive and timely feedback as part of our continuous manufacturing process improvement programme.

Michael Voss, Head of Industrial Engineering at INFICON

What sets it apart

42 Technology’s new visual inspection system uses a specific alignment of the component being tested, collimated light, optics and a camera to illuminate and capture high contrast images of minor defects on its glass surface. Unless these defects are identified early enough, they can lead to sealing issues later on when a silicon-based sensor is subsequently bonded to the glass. The resulting captured images are automatically processed and displayed on screen to the operator. Scratches are circled in yellow and any other areas of potential concern highlighted in red.

We faced two particular challenges when developing the new visual inspection system. Firstly, finding a better way to identify defects on the glass bonding surface. Just improving the image wouldn’t improve the resolution. Secondly, how best to analyse the resulting complex images.
Scratch detection
42T’s role included initial development of a microscopy-based technology before recommending the use of collimated light to improve image contrast.  The consultancy team then designed and built a demonstration unit. We then developed the system and image analysis software, and developed and commissioned the final system. This was then integrated onto INFICON’s production line.

In this case the visual inspection technology developed by us is being used during electronics manufacturing. But a similar approach could easily be applied to other major sectors such as automotive.  For example, to identify scratches on pistons or other engine components. Or to inspect polished or metallic surfaces where it is often difficult for operators to assess their final finish.

For further information please contact:

  • Press enquiries or requests for supporting images should be directed to Simon McKay on +44 (0)1353 741075 or email to simon.mckay@42T.com
  • All other enquiries to our marketing team at 42T marketing@42T.com


INFICON is a global leader in the development, manufacture and supply of instruments. Also sensor technologies, and process control software for use in the semiconductor and vacuum-coating industries. The company’s product range include advanced instruments for gas leak detection for use in air conditioning/refrigeration and automotive manufacturing processes. INFICON is headquartered in Switzerland. It has manufacturing facilities in Europe, the US and China, as well as subsidiaries in 16 different countries.

For further information please visit inficon.com

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