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Variety of instruments in lab space
A view of the Zeiss full-service demo lab.
Scott Hanton / Lab Manager

Full-Service Demo Lab Provides Insight into Visualization, Inspection, and Metrology Instruments

Zeiss provides access to demonstrate and train on a wide variety of measurement instruments

by
Scott D. Hanton, PhD

Scott Hanton is the editorial director of Lab Manager. He spent 30 years as a research chemist, lab manager, and business leader at Air Products and Intertek. He earned...

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Zeiss has built a new, spacious demo lab in Wixom, MI for the products of its Industrial Quality Solutions division. The lab provides access to a variety of microscopy, coordinate measuring, metrology, and tomography instruments. The dynamic range of the facility is impressive, with instruments that can image defects on analytes to the nm scale to instruments that can image an entire race car.

The lab enables existing and potential customers to bring their typical or troublesome samples and obtain data on a wide range of instruments. Doing an effective instrument demonstration can be an important step in building an asset management strategy to support the purchase of new instruments. The 82,000 square foot space is sufficiently large to house many different models so that potential customers can see which solves their technical needs, meets their budgetary limitations, and works best in their space. 

“The ZEISS Quality Excellence Center in Wixom, MI brings a modern work environment to its employees and a customer-centric demonstration area with advanced settings that welcome visitors to gain better insights on new technologies and systems for the age of smart quality assurance,” says Herminso V. Gómez, PhD, product manager at ZEISS. “In addition, the ZEISS Quality Excellence Center offers a broad range of services, comprehensive training, and customer support on industrial quality solutions for medical, automotive, aerospace, electronics, and general research among other industries.”

Microscopy

The lab contains a full range of microscopes useful in many different lab environments. Everything from simple stereo microscopes to confocal microscopes to high performance scanning electron microscopes (SEM) are available. Each of these microscopes uses the same software, which makes training and sharing images easy. One important example is being able to follow up on a feature found during optical microscopy with SEM and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). EDS provides composition information by identifying the different atoms observed in the analyte.

“The integration and correlation of light, X-ray, and scanning electron microscope techniques enables you to collect maximum relevant data to enhance productivity, bridging the gap between the micro and nano world,” says Shannon Bollin, PhD, microscopy application engineer at ZEISS.

Coordinate measuring machines

Coordinate measuring machines use physical probes to measure the surfaces of complex parts to ensure the quality and accuracy of the shapes and surfaces. These instruments use a highly polished ceramic sphere to calibrate the instruments to the exact position of the probe. Different probes can be used to measure different sizes and shapes of surfaces on a wide range of parts and products.

Optical metrology

Optical metrology instruments can use both light and contact probes to carefully examine the surfaces of different products. Light-based measurements can be very important for products that are too sensitive or too soft to be successfully examined by contact probes.

Three-dimensional scanning systems are also available that use blue light to make 3D images of complex parts for further examination and analysis.

Optical metrology instruments scale from analyzing small medical device parts to examining parts of jet engines to entire car bodies. All of this measurement diversity is available in the demo lab.

X-ray imaging

Using X-ray images of complex parts enables lab staff to visualize the internal surfaces of a product or part. These instruments execute 2,000 to 3,000 images and then combine them in the software to create 3D representations that can be investigated from any direction and digitally sectioned to see inside the product. This non-destructive testing is especially important for valuable, rare, or unique parts that cannot be sacrificed to destructive testing.

“Non-destructive inspection can reveal the hidden secrets of your parts and materials, especially with the use of X-ray technology, which provides completely new insights into the inner components of your samples, says Raghu Bhogaraju, X-ray product specialist at ZEISS.

 Training 

In addition to demo stations, the lab also has training rooms dedicated to some of the instruments where full training programs are available to customers. The training includes both hardware and software and enables users to get the most out of their investment in these instruments. The training sessions are led by product experts who are fully proficient in the use of these tools.

Contract services

The lab also performs contract services using these different instruments. For labs that have only occasional needs, building a relationship for services might be beneficial compared to buying these tools and having low utilization. The services enable highly skilled experts to run a wide range of instruments to solve periodic problems. The services are accredited under ISO 17025.