A digital microscope – also known as a digital scope or digital inspection system – uses a digital camera as a microscope instead of using an eyepiece. It is used for inspection and analysis of micro objects and samples. Digital microscopy is used in different industries such as agriculture, electronics, foods, and forensics and it is used to examine e.g. metal, plastic and medical devices.
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What is a digital microscope used for?
A digital microscope is used to inspect and analyze different samples such as crops in agriculture and PCBs in electronics. Digital microscopes use specialized software for the visual inspection process and automates and optimizes many quality control processes.
How does a digital microscope work?
A classical optical microscope uses lenses viewed via an eyepiece to magnify the investigated objects. A digital microscope uses a digital camera and optics to show captured images of small objects to a computer monitor.
There are different variations of digital scopes. Some of them are more or less handheld and others are very advanced microscopes with several measurement functions and observation methods. Using modern technology, digital microscopes combined with the right software can take and adjust pictures, record and edit videos, analyze 3D samples, make precise measurements, and create adequate reports.
Are digital microscopes better than optical?
The main difference between a digital microscope and an optical microscope is that a digital microscope doesn’t have an eyepiece. Instead of looking through an eyepiece, objects and samples are displayed on a monitor. Benefits of using digital microscopes instead of optical microscopes include:
- Easier documentation of your work
- Healthier and less painful setup, since you don’t have to bend your neck to look through the eyepiece on the optical microscope
- Possibility to see and discuss samples together with colleagues
As opposed to stereo microscopes, digital microscopes have auto-focus. This makes it easy to move samples around to inspect them from every angle without needing to adjust the stage or lens. The microscope will focus on its own. If you look at samples with big changes in height or uneven surfaces, this will be of great advantage.
Some of the most important advantages of using a digital microscope are:
- Great user experience
- Endless possibilities
- Automatic saving and storing of data
- Reducing work pain with ergonomic use
Digital microscopes have an improved user experience when creating documentation and finding focus. The computer monitor helps the user to have a good work posture. And the lower buy-in costs combined with the many software capabilities take visual inspection processes to the next level.
Using a digital microscope in different industries
Digital microscopy is used to optimize business in many different industries. In general, the results are better workflows, increased efficiency and optimized quality control.
Let’s have a look at how digital microscopy is used in different industries.
Seed analysis in agriculture is very specialized and relies on the required image quality in combination with the operator’s knowledge. A digital microscope will let you capture findings easily, collaborate with colleagues with a computer monitor, work more comfortably with traditional magnification tools, and optimize processes.
Use the digital microscope for quality control of seed or as a grain magnifier. When you are able to magnify samples in agriculture, you can easily inspect seed samples to identify fungal disease, mites, foreign varieties, etc.
Processes like Quality assurance, Quality control as well as Repair and Rework can be improved with a digital microscope. And being able to see the PCB, solder paste and components clearly – without a hurting neck from sitting still or your hands being in the way – is crucial.
When inspecting PCBs, connectors, bare solder boards or other components, the operator is able to zoom in on the object to detect and document mistakes, defects, or proof quality.
Perform efficient analyses and quality control in the food industry with a digital scope. In a matter of seconds, quality control of fish feed, milk powder, flour, etc. can be improved. This will help the operators obtain lower claim rates and achieve higher quality.
Detect even the smallest cracks, broken edges and burrs in metal. Within metallurgy, the 60 frames per second and 1080p image quality helps you spot even the slightest defects in metal.
Check the quality of your injection molded plastic components with a digital microscope. The high image quality of digital scopes makes it easier to approve plastic components and identify runner system wear.
Medical device inspection
Improve overall efficiency and create consistency across inspections. By saving settings as presets, changing settings happens in a matter of seconds. The digital microscopes allow the operator to verify product shape/size and ensure that no defects go unnoticed.
The easy documentation processes, high image quality and compatitiblity with various ring lights make digital microscopes important tools to analyze and document microscopic forensic evidence.