Low cost confocal distance and thickness measurement system suits machine integration and high volume OEM applications


Micro-Epsilon has launched a range of sub-micrometre resolution confocal controllers for distance and thickness measurement applications. The controllers offer outstanding value for money combined with high accuracy, enabling their use in machine integration and high volume OEM applications. The all-metal, DIN rail mountable controllers are designed for use across all industry sectors, particularly glass, semiconductor, plastics, medical and other high precision applications.

Available in a single or a new dual-channel version, the new entry level confocal controllers are designed to offer a high resolution, high accuracy solution where alternative solutions such as laser triangulation and other optical measurement sensors are measuring at their limits. The new IFC2421 and IFC2422 controllers offer the high precision that comes with the confocal chromatic measurement principle yet at an affordable price, making them ideal for applications where the higher specifications of the confocal IFC2461 & 71 series are not needed.

The confocalDT IFC2421 controller is a single channel controller, while the confocalDT IFC2422 controller is a two-channel version where both channels are evaluated simultaneously.

Both controllers offer a variety of outstanding features and benefits, including ease of use via a web interface; fast configuration via pre-defined user setups; high speed compensation feature for difficult, changing surfaces; thickness calibration; adjustable measuring rate from 100Hz up to 6.5kHz; and Ethernet, EtherCAT, RS422 and analogue outputs.

The controllers can be offered as a standard version for distance measurements or as a multi-peak version for multi-layer thickness measurement. Configuration is carried out by the intuitive web interface, so there is no need for any additional software.

IFC2422 is designed as a two-channel version. The dual channel feature enables evaluations from both channels simultaneously and at the full measurement rate. This can be of particular benefit in process control tasks such as shape or geometrical measurements of glass bottles and containers, or where the cost advantages of the two-channel version are important for the customer.

The dual-channel version of the controller allows two confocal sensors to be connected to a single controller. The controller is then able to calculate and output differential measurements from each sensor, such as step height, parallelism, flatness and thickness. Having only one controller means easier installation and a lower cost solution. This is of particular interest in price-sensitive applications such as glass bottle and container production, pharmaceutical product production or any other application where confocal sensor technology was previously cost-prohibitive.

Simple set up

The controllers are simple to set up and operate, and the user can remotely configure measurement channels using the intuitive, web-based software via Ethernet. The user does not need to install any other measurement software.

The controllers can be used with all Micro-Epsilon confocal sensors. In addition, because the controllers were developed in-house by Micro-Epsilon, they benefit from the company’s vast experience in the development of high speed, high precision optical sensors. The controllers have a rugged industrial design and use a high performance CCD array as the sensor element.

In addition, whereas most conventional confocal controllers use an integral fan and air vents in order to cool the controller during operation, the confocalDT IFC2421 and IFC2422 controllers use a passive cooling system that does not require a fan or air vents. This greatly improves the controller’s protection rating and longevity.

For more information on the confocalDT IFC2421 and IFC2422, please call the Micro-Epsilon sales department on 0151 355 6070 or email info@micro-epsilon.co.uk

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