Optical Comparator Description
An optical comparator makes use of optics for the measurement and inspection of parts that have been manufactured. The comparators have been around since 1925, but the technology in place today has made them more accurate and easier to use. They have high quality optics in place that help in make taking accurate measurements of parts and pieces to help ensure quality and consistency.
Features of optical comparators
You will find that the comparators that are available all work in much the same way, and that they are all simple to use. It only takes a small amount of training to get to the point where you can use the machines properly. However, you do need to make sure you have the right machine for the job. Consider the size of the pieces you are trying to measure and find one that will work well for those pieces. You do not always want to choose the largest comparator possible though, as they can take up a lot of space and the smaller options will do the same work with a smaller footprint.
How optical comparators work
The comparator works similarly to an overhead projector, although the level of detail is far greater with the optical comparator. They have a light attached to a box, along with a display screen. The part you are comparing or measuring will go onto the projector plate, and the light will shine through from beneath. The device will then project the image onto the screen at a magnified size so you can inspect it closely.
The screen will have an overlay or crosshairs on it, which make measurement possible. The operator will center the feature of the piece they are looking at and trying to measure on the crosshairs and record that point. They will then move the image and record another point. They can create multiple points that can then be used to get a mathematical measurement.
The optical comparator is a simple device that is still useful. While many may use visual inspection systems that are automated and computerized, these tools can be helpful for looking at and measuring two-dimensional parts. The manual optical comparator can take a long time to use since you need to go from point to point, but you may want to have one available for certain tasks.