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OPAQ project coordinated by tecmath AG

The smallest surface faults on any formed surface can now be detected by an optical inspection system, exposing invisible defects.


Surface inspection is gaining in importance in the light of the current ‘no faults’ product policy. The OPAQ project was created to develop a new technology in order to discover defects during forming operations. OPAQ stands for ‘Optimization of Product Automation by means of optical inspection sensor systems for the detection of “invisible” defects

In OPAQ, a 3D inspection system has been developed that can be directly utilized during the forming operation (of steel plates, for example), making quality more transparent at the boundaries of the process and vastly reducing both the number of defects that slip through quality control and spiraling additional costs. The system can detect irregularities as small as 10 micrometers in the surfaces of free-formed parts and that is much superior to what the human eye is capable of. It helps manufacturers to ensure a constant degree of high quality for their products, saving on resources and costs. Moreover, in the case of mass-produced items, defects are often only detected after large quantities have already been produced. In many production processes, final visual inspection is often the only step still done manually, with great effort and expense. Seidel GmbH Co. of Marburg, Germany, the pilot users of the system together with AUDI, experienced this first hand. The company produces aluminum components for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries (lipstick cases, caps and seals) as well as for typewriters and cars. The time-consuming and error-plagued visual spot-checks revealed that a significant number of defects in the production process were still slipping through…the OPAQ system will play a major role in reducing inspection costs with respect to the time and effort involved and the number of defects that escape notice.

Bringing with it a wealth of experience in the Scanner technology sector, tecmath AG is coordinating the project and developing the software for system control and the classification of surface defects. Additional research partners in Germany are: Steinbichler Optotechnik GmbH of Neubeuern near Rosenheim (Sensor development), the Fraunhofer Institute (ITWM, Kaiserslautern) for Technological and Economical Informatics (image analysis) and the Münster Technical College, Faculty of Physics Technology, Steinfurt, (system evaluation). Project sponsor is the Research Center, Karlsruhe.


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