for high-precision 3D metrology of edge breaks/edge radiuses

EdgeInspect is a modular, non-contact 3D metrology system that:

  • Measures, down to the micron, any type of edge: cutting edges, inside or outside edges, edges on round holes, straight edges, etc.
  • Enables user-defined specifications: for geometric dimensioning and testing (GD&T), edge break requirements, angle measurements, roughness, etc.
  • Enables fully configurable automated digital inspection
  • Detects micron-size surface defects: such as burrs, scratches, porosities, etc.
  • Can measure thickness of semi-transparent coatings.

Edge radius measurement

In this video, a drill bit is rotated on a chuck base while the EdgeInspect galvo scanner inspects the tool from top to bottom following a user-defined scanning sequence.


Overview of features and benefits


  • Optical, non-contact, non-destructive
  • 2D and 3D edge geometry of cutting edges, leading and trailing edges, edge radiuses, chamfers, bevels, notches, fillets, thread mills, etc.
  • High-aspect-ratio features: undercuts, threads, splines and gears
  • Micron-precision axial resolution and excellent sensitivity and measurement repeatability

Imaging options

  • Line profiles
  • 3D images of internal and external surfaces
  • Height and intensity images of “unfolded” surfaces
  • Cross-sections of semi-transparent materials
  • Deviation maps

Defect detection on aerospace disk edges

Defect detection on aerospace disk edges


  • Easily integrated in lab, shop, or fully-automated industrial inspection setups
  • Reduces inspection cycle time: the non-contact optical scanner (or probe, depending on the setup) obtains up to 100,000 measurements per second. Each measurement represents a 3D topographic point.
  • Flexible options for evaluating inspected parts: measured features can be compared to CAD drawings or to a user-defined set of locations, nominals, and tolerances
  • Simple scan definition and execution: The scanning sequence is defined once by teaching the system with a joystick. The scanning sequence can later be executed with the push of a button.
  • Time-saving automated reporting:Following a scan, go-no-go reports can be produced and results logged in a manner compatible with industry-standard mechanisms.
  • Adaptable to harsh environments
  • No consumables are needed: Optical probes do not come in contact with the measured samples, and therefore do not wear out like contact probes. Accidental damage is rare−probes are designed to be rugged.


Metrology Applications

3D metrology and imaging of edges for industry and R&D

  • Quality control
  • Automated 3D production inspection, geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T)
  • Statistical process control (SPC)
  • Research and development (R&D) inspection
  • Reverse engineering and part-to-CAD
  • Maintenance, repair and operations (MRO)
  • Profilometry in harsh environments

Typical measurements on edges

  • Full geometry, diameter, circularity, cylindricity, taper, runout, etc.
  • Deviation from CAD model
  • High-aspect-ratio features: teeth, undercuts, steps, grooves, threads, channels, sharp edges, cross-holes
  • Volume loss: surface wear or other damage
  • Defects: corrosion, pitting, cracking, denting, scratching, porosity
  • Surface roughness: linear or area roughness
  • Thickness of semi-transparent coating on edge surfaces: single-layer or multilayer films

Examples of edge inspection applications

Measurement, visualization, and GD&T inspection of edges on:

  • Parts made by machining (drilling, milling, grinding, honing, etc.), casting, injection molding, 3D printing, additive manufacturing
  • Cutting tools before and after treatments
  • Cutting tool maintenance, sharp edge testing, burr detection
  • Scalpels, syringes, needles, razor blades, spindles
  • Automotive industry parts, aerospace industry parts
  • Hydraulic systems, bearings, tubes
  • Sheet metal parts
  • Chamfered edges, bevel edges, filleted edges, miter edges
  • Wafer edges

Gallery (click images for close-up)

Razor blade edge radius measurement

Cutting tool measurement

3D metrology of edges using Novacam EdgeInspect

Aerospace fir-tree base edge measurement


Metrology software

Data acquisition

The EdgeInspect system comes with Novacam high-performance data acquisition software, which is

  • PC, Windows®-based
  • User-friendly for scan programming and visualization

An application programming interface (API) is available for system integrators and OEMs. With the API, a wide variety of online and offline applications can be accommodated.

Novacam data acquisition software

Data analysis and 3D imaging

The following options are available for data analysis and 3D imaging:

  • Data output options: 3D point cloud, height image, intensity image, roughness, diameter, STL file format
  • Integrated turnkey solution with PolyWorks Inspector
  • Output is exportable to turnkey integrated 3rd party CAD packages selected by the client:
    • CAD/CAM software: PolyWorks, Geomagic, SolidWorks, Creo Elements/Pro (Pro/ENGINEER), etc.
    • Imaging, visualization and numerical analysis software: ImageJ, Octave, MatLab, Mathematica, IDL, IGOR Pro
    • Surface and roughness analysis software
  • Exported data can be integrated with data loggers and SPC software

Point cloud generated for a razor blade edge with edge radius of less than 6 µm (222 µin.).

Point cloud generated for a razor blade edge with edge radius of less than 6 µm (222 µin.). A cylinder fitted within the points gives the breaking edge diameter measurement down to the micron.

Option: Novacam Volume Loss application

Novacam Volume Loss Application processes the acquired surface dimensional data to determine volume loss from abrasion and wear:

  • with micron precision
  • on samples and components of various shapes and sizes including inner diameters of bores

Low Coherence Tomography Volume Loss

Novacam Volume Loss Application

Novacam Volume Loss Application: scan control user interface

Novacam Volume Loss Application

System components

System components

The EdgeInspect is a modular system comprised of 1) a galvo (raster) scanner, 2) Microcam interferometer, 3) an inspection station, 4) a PC, and, optionally, 5) multiplexing hardware (not shown in diagram).


Galvo scanner


Microcam interferometer


Inspection station


PC, monitor and joystick

The inspection capabilities of the EdgeInspect are determined jointly by its components:

1) Galvo scanner

Novacam galvo scanners come in several standard sizes of field-of-view and can be custom built as well.

Standard galvo scanner characteristics*

Field of view
Standoff distance
30x3087 or 95
*Only standard galvo scanner characteristics are listed in this table. Non-standard specifications are custom-built upon request.

2) Microcam interferometer

The system comes with a Microcam-3D (shown here) or Microcam-4D interferometer

The Microcam interferometer provides the light source to the galvo scanner and processes the optical signal received from the scanner.

Microcam interferometer models

General characteristics
Technologylow-coherence interferometry
Light wavelength1310 nm, infrared
Interferometer enclosure4U rackable enclosure
445 (W) x 445 (D) x 178 (H) mm
Non-contact measurements
Depth of fielddepends on the characteristics of the selected scanner (see table above)
Scanning depth range options*3.5 mm7 mm5 mm
Acquisition (A-scan) rate2.10 kHz1.05 kHz100 kHz
Axial (Z-axis) resolution< 0.5 µm
Light spot size (Lateral [XY-axis] resolution)4.1 - 146 µm, depends on selected scanner characteristics.
Standoff distance1 - 100 mm for standard probes
up to 1 m for non-standard probes
Repeatability< 1 µm
Thickness measurements
Thickness measurement range (in Air, IR = 1.0)10 µm - 3.5 mm10 µm - 7 mm20 µm - 5 mm
Typical materials for thickness measurementsglass, polymers, multi-layer films, coatings, plastics, silicone, liquids, specular or non-specular
Sample reflectivity0.1 - 100%
*To further increase maximum scanning depth, a mechanical displacement axis is available.

3) Inspection station

Inspection station configurations are application-dependent and can be supplied by Novacam.

Types of inspection stations

Lab and shop floors inspectionAutomated and inline inspection
EdgeInspect setups in labs and shops typically include an inspection station with galvo scanner displacement in 2, 3 or 4 axes.
- Motion controllers are included
- Fixturing for the part is not included
- Granite tables are optionally available and recommended for some applications
EdgeInspect galvo scanners may be integrated with
- third-party CMMs (coordinate-measuring machines)
- CNC (computer numerical control) machines
- any robots (as a robot end-effector) to support high-volume continuous flow manufacturing

4) PC, monitor and joystick

The EdgeInspect system comes with a PC (with Novacam acquisition software), a monitor, mouse, and joystick.
Polyworks InspectorTM metrology software for full GD&T inspection of the parts can be purchased with the system. Custom data processing, reporting and defect detection programs can also be written based on client requirements.See “software” tab for more detail.

5) Hardware for multiplexing support (optional)

Optical switches are available for multiplexing more than one scanner to a single Microcam interferometer.

Additional info

Standard system configuration

A standard configuration of the EdgeInspect includes:

  • Galvo scanner with a 5x5mm field of view
  • Microcam-3D profilometer
  • 2-axis inspection station and 2-axis motion controller
  • 3-jaw chuck
  • PC with Novacam acquisition software
  • 1 year warranty

Instrument safety

  • Microcam systems feature an in-probe red laser pointer (650 nm wavelength) for alignment purposes.
  • Microcam systems are Class 1M Laser products, with < 20 mW of infrared and < 5 mW of in-probe laser pointer.

MicroCam profilometers are Class 1M laser products

EdgeInspect in the news

The EdgeInspect system was recently featured in Cutting Tool Engineering magazine.


Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to scan an edge with EdgeInspect?

  • Scan time of an edge depends on the area size and aspects you need to measure. The EdgeInspect acquires up to 100,000 measurements per second, which represents roughly 1 million 3D topography points in 33 seconds. The user selects the lateral sampling distance in longitudinal and circumferential directions and the size of the area to be scanned, which together determine the number of points that will be acquired and the time that the scan will take.
  • In general, dimensional measurements (for GD&T) require the least amount of points and can be achieved the fastest. Roughness callouts may take 3 to 4 seconds each. Defect detection requires the most amount of points, of course depending on the size of defect you are looking for.
  • For help with estimating the time required to scan your part, please contact us.

Can the EdgeInspect be used to measure the thickness of a coating on edges?

  • Yes, if the coating is semi-transparent to infrared light and has optical thickness of 20 µm or higher (optical thickness = physical thickness * index of refraction).

How about inside corners – i.e. does the EdgeInspect measure inside edges in concave forms?

  • The EdgeInspect can measure both inside corner edges as well as outside edges. In both cases, it can delivers high-precision diameter, contour, profile, and coating (or material) thickness measurements.

Can EdgeInspect measure very sharp edges?

  • Yes, depending on the geometry of the features to be scanned. Various radius of curvatures as small as 6 µm have been scanned.

Is the system easy to use?

  • The scanning sequence (recipe) can be programmed with a joystick and can be recalled at later times with the push of a button.

Is the system able to work right on the production floor?

  • The system is ideally suited for both lab and shop floor inspection. Inline and robot setups are also supported. The EdgeInspect can even be used to provide metrology in hostile environments such as extremely hot, cryogenic, or radioactive.

Can SurfaceInspect give us automated measurements and reports?

  • Yes.

Related links

 Contact us or request free sample analysis to see if EdgeInspect is suitable for your application