Many people are familiar with many of the microscopes that are found in science and medical laboratories. However, these devices are also used in many other applications as well. Microscopy is a technology that provides a lot of benefits to people in many other aspects of life.
There are many different types of industrial microscopes, each with a specific purpose or advantage. One thing that they have in common, though, is that they need good focusing mechanisms in order to ensure the proper and accurate observation of the samples being investigated.
Some of the most advanced microscopy systems have integrated automated linear stages, which manipulate the sample along the z axis closer or farther away from the optics—or vice versa. High-tech, ultra-reliable, and ultra-precise components are used in such z focusing applications in order to achieve the best images possible.
Movement along the z axis is also important to consider depending on the type of sample to be analyzed. Biological tissue or cultured cells, for example, are still generally small or minute, but they are relatively larger compared to other types of samples. They may also be contained in microscope slides or microtiter plates. When such items are loaded onto the microscope bed, the optics should be fully retracted in order to avoid damage to fragile components like the lens. This is where additional focus travel is necessary.
There are many different types of microscopes, but most of them share these common essential features and functionalities. To give you an idea about the most common types of industrial microscopes used today, here are a few of them:
Field microscopes are also known as shop microscopes or cordless microscopes. These types of devices are relatively easy to transport, use, and handle, hence their names. They are usually lightweight and handheld, and they possess single magnification in either 20x, 40x, 60x, or 100x total magnification.
Field microscopes are used in many traditional applications for onsite work such as those in geology, archeology, and so on. Many such products even have a built-in pen light for convenience when used in dark places. Cordless microscopes are also used by biologists and veterinarians to analyze animal matter and biological samples, mostly found in the habitat of wildlife or domesticated animals.
However, in other fields such as the manufacturing industry, shop microscopes are commonly employed to quickly inspect products and other items. For instance, microscopes enable quality control personnel to verify more closely the pattern of manufactured fabrics and garments. A built-in eyepiece reticle also allows for accurate measuring by simply placing the microscope on top of the fabric samples.
There are also specific types of microscopes that are dedicated to measuring samples more accurately. Apart from physical measurements, some measuring microscopes can even produce live images or videos courtesy of a digital camera. These are especially useful in industrial applications where micro components need to be documented before use or for similarly mentioned quality control purposes.
These types of microscopes provide a three-dimensional visualization of the sample, which is achieved by using light reflected from the object rather than transmitted through it. Stereo microscopes utilize two separate optical paths with separate objectives and eyepieces in order to provide different viewing angles for each eye.
The result is a better visualization of details and surfaces of the sample. Such 3D output is useful in traditional scientific applications such as forensic examination, microsurgery, and the like. In the manufacturing industry, stereo microscopes are also useful for minute manufacturing, inspection, and quality control, such as those applied in the production of fine jewelry and watches, as well as electronic components like circuit boards or wafers.
Microscopes and Motion Solutions
For many business owners and manufacturers today, devices such as industrial microscopes are indispensable in their day-to-day operations. Investing in these high-tech devices and systems may be a bit costly in the beginning, but they pay off in the long run as they afford the benefits of increased productivity and enhanced product quality.