U.S. Army buys software-driven scratch-and-dig inspection system

Sept. 16, 2010
Savvy Optics Corporation has completed the installation of an optical scratch-and-dig measurement system at the Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey.

Chester, CT--Savvy Optics Corporation has completed the installation of an optical scratch-and-dig measurement system at the Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey. The system provides the U.S. Army with a more objective approach to evaluating scratch-and-dig standards.

Certifying the standards used in all government contracts

The system, a SavvyInspector SIF-4, has been purchased by the Product Quality Management group of the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC) to allow software-assisted scratch evaluation and certification of surface-quality standards. This group at the Picatinny Arsenal is responsible for maintaining the supply of certified scratch-and-dig comparison standards for use in all government contracts in accordance with MIL-PRF-13830B.

"This sale is extremely important," noted Dave Aikens, president and founder of Savvy Optics Corp. "The system has been set up in the QA lab at Picatinny, on the same bench as the master limit standards, and we'll be working closely with them to update their standard operating procedure to use the SIF-4 for calibrating the surface-quality standards." The system was installed on August 5 and has since been used by Army personnel in evaluating optical surface-quality standards returning from the field.

For all government contracts that involve optical components, MIL-PRF-13830B, the scratch-and-dig standard, is used for surface quality. The scratch standard is a visibility-based comparison standard that uses a set of certified artifacts provided by Picatinny Arsenal. The subjective nature of the standard has long been a source of problems in the optics community; the standard is nevertheless the de facto standard for optical surface quality for the U.S. and much of the world. Moving towards a more objective measurement of scratches would make the evaluation of surface quality significantly easier.

Significant for commercial optics, too

"Not only is this important to the defense community, but also for the commercial optics community at large, which now has access to the same technology used by ARDEC," said Allen Krisiloff, president of Triptar Lens Company (Rochester, NY) and chairman of the Optics and Electro-Optics Standards Council (OEOSC), which oversees voluntary commercial surface-quality standards for optics in the United States. The American National Standard for surface quality, ANSI OP1.002-2009, is based in part on MIL-PRF-13830B, and includes the same subjective visibility standard for scratch-and-dig evaluations.

Savvy Optics Corp. is an optical design and engineering company in Chester, CT. For more info, go to www.savvyoptics.com.

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About the Author

John Wallace | Senior Technical Editor (1998-2022)

John Wallace was with Laser Focus World for nearly 25 years, retiring in late June 2022. He obtained a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and physics at Rutgers University and a master's in optical engineering at the University of Rochester. Before becoming an editor, John worked as an engineer at RCA, Exxon, Eastman Kodak, and GCA Corporation.

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