Thanks to the rapid acceptance and integration of automation technology in the workplace, many industry-critical processes have improved efficiency and output quality. Automated imaging, or the process in which high-definition images are taken of a manufactured product or biological specimen for examination or quality checking, is one of these processes. In this article, we will be talking about automated imaging and how a specific component in– is integral to this particular process’s existence and ongoing success.
What is Automated Imaging?
As earlier mentioned, automated imaging is an industrial process that involves taking close and high-definition images of an object for various purposes. The said images are usually taken with a powerful microscope or a similar image-capturing tool attached to an automated motion solution, such as an XY stage.
This motion solution system is in turn programmed to move or shift the imaging tool in specific increments or planes, allowing the imaging tool to capture images of a specimen or product automatically, without the help of a human operator or worker. In some cases, it is the specimen or object tray that is affixed to the motion system.
Examples of industries that require automated imaging include the following:
- Medicine. Hospitals require precise and repeated examinations of bodily fluid and tissue samples, among other specimens, for diagnosis purposes.
- Manufacturing. Small and complicated products/components, such as microchips, chipboards, and watch parts, necessitates automated imaging to check for defects and issues.
- Microbiology. Automated imaging can help researchers and scientists get clearer and bigger images of microscopic specimens much more easily and efficiently.
What is an XY Stage, and How is It Involved in Automated Imaging?
An XY stage is a motion solution component that restricts an object affixed to a single plane of movement. Explained more simply, it is a motor-driven platform that can move anything affixed onto it in a designated path or line.
In the context of automated imaging, it is essentially the part that moves either the imaging system (i.e., the microscope) or the specimen itself for a clearer and more accurate picture. It can also be programmed to move in a specific way without needing an operator, which facilitates true automation in this particular industrial process. There will be nothing to move without an XY stage, either the imaging system or the specimen.
What are the Benefits of Automated Imaging?
The benefits of automation in imaging are obvious. First, it removes the chance of operator error or operator skill gap from affecting the imaging results, as a programmed machine handles all movements and adjustments of the imaging tool’s position.
Second, the motors that power the motion system’s movement – in this case, the XY stage – can make excellent movements in exact increments, giving the adjustments a degree of precision and accuracy that even the most experienced and highly trained employee may find challenging to match.
Finally, having the automated solution do all the work means that each succeeding imaging job is done in the same way as the first, right down to the minuscule specifications. This ensures high result repeatability, i.e., each imaging job will turn out with the same quality desired, rather than have variations or errors, no matter how slight, due to worker error or fatigue.
With the help of motion solutions like XY stages, professionals from various can reap the full benefits of automation.