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17 June 2009 Novel fiber-based technique for inspection of holes in narrow-bore tubes
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Optical tools offer a route to increasing throughput and efficiency in industrial inspection operations, one of the most time-consuming and labour-intensive aspects of modern manufacturing. One prominent example in the medical device industry is inspection of drilled holes, particularly in narrow-bore tubes (precision-flow devices, such as catheters for drug delivery, radio-opaque contrast agents, etc). The products in which these holes feature are increasing in complexity (reduced dimensions, increasing number of drilled features- in some products now reaching into the hundreds). These trends present a number of technical challenges, not least to ensure that holes are completed and that no damage to the part occurs as a result of over-drilling, for example. This paper will present a novel sensor based on back-side illumination of the drilled hole using side-glowing optical fibers to detect, qualify and quantify drilled holes. The concept is based on inserting a laser-coupled side-glowing optical fiber into the lumen of the tube to be drilled, and imaging the light emitted from this fiber through a drilled hole using a vision system mounted external to the tube. The light from the fiber allows rapid determination of hole completion, shape and size, as well as quantity in the case of products with multiple holes. If the fiber is mounted in the tube prior to drilling, the light emitted from the fiber can be used as a real-time hole breakthrough sensor, preventing under or overdrilling of the tube.
© (2009) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Fabien Bernard, Tony Flaherty, and Gerard M. O'Connor "Novel fiber-based technique for inspection of holes in narrow-bore tubes", Proc. SPIE 7389, Optical Measurement Systems for Industrial Inspection VI, 73891V (17 June 2009);

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