Technology, R&D Capabilities

Digi-Pas® R&D composes a team of multinational, interdisciplinary and highly specialized professionals focusing on the development of core capabilities and competencies within niched domain expertise of precision digital levelling, two-dimensional surface plane angular measurement/alignment, and proximity access security technologies. We relentlessly perform R&D activities to innovate global-leading intelligent angular measuring instruments and eGeeTouch® smart locking devices in contributing to the advancement of the precision engineering and consumer solutions, particualry to the automotive, aerospace, medical, energy, building, semiconductor and consumer electronics industries.

In 2009, Digi-Pas® pioneered the world's-first dual-axis precision digital level and in 2011, we further pioneered the world's-first 2-axis intelligent machinist level that have greatly simplified any high precision machine levelling and planar angle measurements tasks. In 2012, we sustained our innovation by presenting the world-first Digi-Pas® 2-axis ultra-precision inclinometer in Tokyo. As leveling and angular measurements are vital functions for precision equipment installation, machine alignments and metrology in many industries within the precision engineering cluster, field engineers are often constraint by using traditional single-axis spirit bubble levels or digital inclinometers to accomplish these basic leveling tasks one axis at a time and tedious trial-and-error iterations. In fact, modern precision leveling, angle measurement and alignment tasks essentially involve a plane or two dimensional (i.e. 2-axis), while traditionally leveling tools/instruments are limited to single axis, Digi-Pas® technology and innovation have empowered many engineers by eradicating constraints associated with using single-axis instrument. Further, at higher precision and wider range of angular measurements, conventional single-axis inclinometer becomes susceptible to cross-axis error. Digi-Pas® 2-axis ultra-precision inclinometer embedded with advanced MEMS and proprietary compensation process technologies effectively prevents cross-axis error and simultaneously displays tilted-plane surface angles with greater accuracy.

Digi-Pas® continues to collaborate with world-leading metrology laboratories and product's accuracy performance to specification has been verified by accredited 3rd party independent certification bodies in USA, Japan, Germany and UK traceable to NIST, JIS, DIN & UKAS. In over a decade, we have attained over 30 Intellectual Property (IP) rights (incl. patents, registered designs and trademarks) in U.S, Japan & Europe. Our product development roadmaps have unveiled numerous world-first innovative new products in leading international tradeshows. For over a decade, our R&D have been strategically focusing on applied research in the area of advanced technology deployment to electronic devices based on the concept of disruptive innovation and in collaboration with many world-leading research institutes have successfully developed and turned cutting-edge research findings into global-leading new products.

Advantages of using Digi-Pas® 2-Axis precision digital inclinometer over conventional single-axis levelling instruments:

Traditional spirit 'bubble' level, pendulum-based digital level and inclinometer were often constrained with (i) single axis, (ii) narrow angle measurement range and (iii) large footprint/size. Single-axis inclinometer is also susceptible to cross-axis error particularly when measuring at larger angles and at higher precision. However, precision levelling, angle measurement, alignment and surface flatness profiling tasks essentially involve 2-dimensional plane rather than two independent orthogonal single-axis lines. Digi-Pas® 2-Axis precision inclinometer utilizing advanced MEMS technology provides simultaneous 2-axis and wide angle measuring range capabilities that traditional single-axis digital/'bubble' levels are unable to offer.

Digi-Pas® 2-Axis Machinist Digital Level on 2D (X-Y plane) of a 2-axis Sine Table
Digi-Pas® 2-Axis Machinist Digital Level on 2D (X-Y plane) of a 2-axis Sine Table
  • 2-axis MEMS technology enables simultaneous 2D (X-Y plane) leveling and angles measurement (i.e. pitch & roll), completely eliminates tedious trial-and-error (i.e. going back-and-forth taking reading one-axis at a time) experienced when using single-axis levels to align precision machines/objects. No costly need for owning 2 units of single-axis digital levels to do the same task as one unit Digi-Pas® dual-axis. i.e. effective & time saving. The repetitive yet monotonous trial-and-error activity of using single-axis levels is also time-consuming, non-productive and promote boredom that often succumb engineers to resort for compromising works.
  • Digi-Pas® 2-axis MEMS driven inclinometers are compensated and calibrated for non-linearity and wide operating temperature variation utilizing company's proprietary advanced manufacturing patented processes. Angular accuracy and stability performance over a very wide measurement range are externally verified by numerous accredited 3rd party independent certification bodies traceable to NIST, UKAS, DIN & JIS. i.e. accredited & reliable. Because of its 2-axis, wide angular measuring range and vibrometer functions, Digi-Pas® inclinometer is more than just a leveling tool. It is an instrument that provides a comprehensive solution for precision machine leveling, tilted-plane angle measuring, machine structural stability diagnostic and alignment needs.
  • angular linearityangular deviaton vs. temperature
    Compensating and calibrating Digi-Pas® 2-Axis Machinist Digital Level
  • Digital Bull’s Eye with numerical/graphical data and a built-in VibroMeter enable machine installer to track/guide alignment in real-time and instantly verify positional stability of the levelled/aligned machine by comparing machine's status profiles before and after setting up. Dual axis smart Bull's eye also prevents parallax error that is prone to experience when viewing the 'bubble' of a traditional spirit level, i.e. accountability & quality works.
  • Wireless/USB connectivity to PC/mobile device enables field engineers to perform with ‘one-man-operation’ when conducting levelling and machine alignment tasks, i.e. speedy & cost saving.
  • One-man-operation can be performed when levelling machine using Digi-Pas® 2-Axis precision Digital Level via wireless Bluetooth connectivity
    ‘One-man-operation’ can be performed when levelling machine using Digi-Pas® 2-Axis precision Digital Level via wireless Bluetooth connectivity

Utilizing Digi-Pas® 2-axis inclinometer translates into speedy machine installation and productive maintenance works with professional quality that maximizes precision machine performance. Thus, leads to improved user’s product quality (e.g. accuracy & yield) and higher customer satisfaction.

Digi-Pas® 2-axis digital inclinometer provides a comprehensive solution for precision levelling and 2D angular measurement, and serves as a superior alternative that seeks to replace the use of outdated spirit levels and limited angle-measuring range of conventional single-axis digital levels.

©2014 DIGIPAS USA LLC. All Rights Reserved

Accuracy & Reliability of Digi-Pas® Precision Digital Level & Inclinometer

Three-Point Contact Base of Digi-Pas® 2-axis Precision Inclinometer

  1. Limitations of conventional rectangular 4-point contact base levelling instrument

    The contact base surface finish quality of a typical conventional leveling instrument or inclinometer is one of the critical determinants of its accuracy performance and the common rectangular-shape flat surface often suffers from geometrical deviation resulting from:

    • Waviness and unevenness
    • Irregularities due to distorted or worn surface
    • Dust and dirt trapped or surface roughness

    Figure 1 illustrates three typical poor surface finishes of conventional rectangular surface four-point contact base. The unstable surface-to-surface contact causes 'rocking' which results in measurement inaccuracy derived from inconsistent readings. A common practice to improve the outcome under such constraint is by taking more samples to obtain an averaged reading. However, this time-consuming and repetitive activity often promotes boredom that succumb engineers to resort for compromising works, especially when the instrument is located at some distance.

    Figure 1 Poor surface finishes of typical levelling instrument contact base and implications
    Figure 1: Poor surface finishes of typical levelling instrument contact base and implications

    Although high quality surface requires both flatness and smoothness, it is difficult and expensive to control in machining of metal alloy surface particularly when involving relatively large area. Increasing the flatness and smoothness of a few microns would usually increase exponentially on its manufacturing costs. This often results in a trade-off between the manufacturing costs of the instrument and thus compromises its accuracy performance.

    In addition, the rectangular contact base surface of a conventional leveling instrument is also susceptible to target measuring surface unevenness, which is another factor affecting levelling and measurement accuracy. Figure 2 illustrates issues associated when a rectangular contact base of a traditional single-axis spirit level is placed on a typical machined surface having low frequency, long wavelength flatness variation. It is clearly shown that full and stable surface-to-surface contact could not be achieved between the instrument base and the measuring surface. The contact may cause rocking that results in measurement errors, hence affects the accuracy and reliability of the leveling outcome. E.g. a 3µm of surface unevenness along the length of a typical 20µm/m resolution spirit machinist level of 130mm would result in 0.001° error

    Figure 2: Conventional single-axis contact base on a two-dimensional uneven plane
    Figure 2: Conventional single-axis contact base on a two-dimensional uneven plane
  2. Digi-Pas® concave contact base versus 'perfectly flat' contact base structures

    Often, dents are easily generated on smooth metal base area of an insturment resulting from rough handling. A protruding dent formed at any location near the middle of a 'perfectly flat' metal base simply causes rocking which results in measurement error or inaccuracy. To minimize these errors, Digi-Pas® instrument metal surface base has been deliberately designed and machined to form a concave 4-points contact base specifically target to prevent rocking caused by small protruding dents or foreign particles formed at the center of device’s base. Figure 3 illustrates the inferiority of a 'perfectly flat' base of conventional instruments against the improved design of Digi-Pas® concaved 4-point base when small dents/particles exist at the center of device’s base. It is obvious that small dents or particles exist near the middle of the base shall not affect stability of Digi-Pas® instrument as it is supported by both ends having precisely machined stable contacts to the targeted measurement surface.

    Figure 3. Side view of perfectly flat contact base versus Digi-Pas<sup>®</sup> concave 4-point base
    Figure 3. Side view of perfectly flat contact base versus Digi-Pas® concave 4-point base

    On the other hand, dents formed at the both ends of the instrument may not neccessaryly cause significant rocking. When dents happen at these both ends, an offset value/reading caused by these dents can be easily removed using Digi-Pas® calibration or Absolute Level feature (see “Accuracy Performance”). In contrast, a protruding dent formed at the middle of the device’s base destabilizes the device with severe rocking during measurement which cannot be resolved by using calibration or Absolute Level feature. This phenomenon does not only affect the instrument's initial offset value, it also affects the repeatability of measurement reading.

    Thus, the contact surface approaching the base center of instrument is deliberately being designed with a concave profile to minimize the above issue, providing improved stability of measurement readings as well as enhances accuracy of the instrument.

  3. Pioneering the application of 3-point contact base in 2-axis precision levelling instrument

    In view of the constraints inherent in conventional contact base measuring instrument described in the foregoing, Digi-Pas® pioneered and patented the utility of 3-point contact base for its 2-axis precision angular and surface flatness measurement instruments. The triangular shape of 3-point contact base seeks to address the shortcomings associated with conventional rectangular contact base.

    Figure 4: Stable 3-point-to-surface contact between Digi-Pas® inclinometer and flat surface object
    Stable 3-point-to-surface contact between Digi-Pas® inclinometer and flat surface object
    Figure 5: Stable 3-point-to-surface contact between inclinometer and uneven surface
    Figure 5: Stable 3-point-to-surface contact between inclinometer and uneven surface

    When a 3-point contact base leveling instrument is placed on either flat or uneven surface object (e.g. typically machined metal surface) as shown in figure 4 and 5 respectively, the three-point frame serves as a triangle-plane platform for supporting the weight and maintaining the stability of the instrument. It provides maximum stability and strength against downward forces and horizontal forces as well as movements about horizontal axes. With the sturdy three-point stand, a most stable 3-point-to-surface contact can be established without rocking and thus achieving consistent leveling readings of the two-dimensional measuring surface. Any angular deviations on the surface area is detected by Digi-Pas® 2-axis inclinometer as sensitive contact points touch on a particular section of uneven surface area.

  4. Advantages of Digi-Pas 3-point contact base levelling instrument

    In 2009, Digi-Pas® pioneered and patented the utility of 3-points contact base to its world-first 2-axis precision digital level series that effectively prevent any surface dimensional deviation caused by unevenness of its own instrument’s metal surface contact base. Figure 6 illustrates the 3-point contact base screws made of harden steel and titanium materials that offers great stability and prevent it from ‘rocking’ when placed on either flat or uneven smooth surface for 2D levelling and planar angular measurement.

    Figure 6: Digi-Pas<sup>®</sup> patented 2-Axis Precision inclinometer utilizing 3-Point Contact Base
    Figure 6: Digi-Pas® patented 2-Axis Precision inclinometer utilizing 3-Point Contact Base

    Maintaining the 3-points contact is easy, speedy and cost effective simply by replacing the harden/titanium screws whenever they wear off, saving significant amount of time and cost as compared to maintain the instrument’s contact base surface finish through standard machining. Device accuracy performance can also be re-calibrated by performing User Self-Calibration or “Absolute Level” setting at ease. Please refer to user manual for detail instructions.

    For using Digi-Pas® 2-axis inclinometer to level an object having a very rough top surface, the 3-point harden/titanium screws can be temporarily removed and use the flat base surface to naturally average the rough surface. Absolute Level Setting is required to be performed immediately after changing the base to ensure the instrument maintains its reference accuracy. However, in high precision leveling, angular measurement and surface profiling tasks usually involve high quality flatness and smooth surfaces such as granite and metal alloy machined surfaces. Hence, 3-point contact base is still a better choice.

©2014 DIGIPAS USA LLC. All Rights Reserved

R&D Equipment Portfolio

Granite table & angular instrument - JAPAN & USA

High Precision Granite Table Calibration & Test System

The quality of Digi-Pas® products are calibrated for level (zero datum at 1 arcsec. or 0.00027°) and plumb (90.000°) & tested for high precision and accuracy to conform to product technical specification traceable to NIS, JIS, UKAS & DIN.

Granite table & angular instrument - JAPAN & USA

Nanotechnology System nanotech 350FG - USA

Ultra High Precision Nano-Technology CNC Calibration & Test System*

Angular resolution of 0.03 arcsec and accuracy for < 0.3 arcsec can be tested for Digi-Pas® product specification conformance. Sensor non linearity such as cross-axis error can be verified for full 360° with great confidence. 

Moore Nanotechnology Systems NanoTech 350FG - USA

High Precision Granite Straight Edge & Bridge-type Straight Edge

High Precision Granite Straight Edge & Bridge-type Straight Edge

Digi-Pas® ultra-high precision inclinometers with resolution & accuracy of 1 arcsec. (5µm/M) are calibrated and tested using the straight edges having flatness of measuring surfaces according to DIN874 Class 00 and DIN876 Class 1.

The DIN874 surface flatness standard is utilized as an added means to ascertain Digi-Pas products are verified for conformity to technical specification traceable to DIN within Digi-Pas laboratory.

High Precision Granite Straight Edge & Bridge-type Straight Edge - Germany

Labwork Inc. Servo Vibration Generator

Vibration Calibration & Test System

Dynamic displacement and acceleration for vibration measurement calibration and test system are utilized to calibrate the relative vibration magnitude of Digi-Pas® Precision Digital Level.

Labwork inc. Servo Vibration Generator - USA

Mitutoyo quick vision systems

High Precision Vision Measurement System

Very high magnification resolution of 1000X vision imaging system is used for Quality Assurance & product specification conformance in the manufacturing of Digi-Pas® products.

Length & flatness dimensional measurement resolution is 0.1 µm and measurement accuracy is (1.5 + 3L/1000) µm where L is the measurement length.

Mitutoyo Quick Vision Systems - JAPAN

High Precision Metallurgical Measuring Microscope

High Precision Measuring Microscope

The Nikon high precision metallurgical measuring microscope capable of magnifying up to 1.500x incorporates with digital imaging and vision processing metrology. The high resolution image and non-contact Z-height dimensional measurement are useful features for Digi-Pas® laboratory applications such as Crack & Failure Analysis or Surface Analysis.

Nikon High Precision Metallurgical Measuring Microscope - JAPAN

Humidity & temperature chamber

Programmable Precision Temperature & Humidity Calibration Chamber

Digi-Pas® product area calibrated and tested to reliably withstand operating in stringent environments. Each product is compensated to operate in accordance to full operating temperature range.

Humidity & Temperature Chamber - JAPAN

Taibai Thermal Shock Chamber

Thermal Shock Chamber

Digi-Pas® products are subject to accelerated temperature test for reliability and performance conformity to specification utilizing Taibai Thermal Shock Chamber.

Taibai Thermal Shock Chamber (TSE-10) - JAPAN

Textronic DSA8200

High Performance Digital Analyzer & Pattern Generator

Utilizing world's premier Tektronix's & Agilent's advanced and comprehensive test instrument portfolio in aids for the design, development and test of Digi-Pas® embedded electronic systems.

Tektronix DSA8200 & Agilent HP 81130A - USA

Spectrum analyzer

Spectrum Analyzer

The E4404B Agilent ESA-E Spectrum Analyzer (9kHz to 6.7 Ghz) has been effectively used for characterizing frequency response and noise performances and compliant Bluetooth transmitter measurement of Digi-Pas® embedded systems.

Agilent ESA-E Spectrum Analyzer - USA

* in collaboration with A*STAR (the Agency for Science, Technology and Research), a Singapore's lead government agency dedicated to fostering world-class scientific research and talent for a vibrant knowledge-based economy.