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 MEMS-enabled precision digital levelling, two-dimensional surface plane angular measurement/alignment, and Wireless & Cloud-based proximity/remote-authorization 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, particularly to the automotive, aerospace, medical, energy, building, semiconductor and consumer electronics industries.
Leveling and angular measurements are vital functions for precision machine alignments, equipment setup/installation, and metrology in many industries within the precision engineering cluster. Imprecise leveling a machine affects its structural stability thus severely reduces the accuracy, functional and quality performances of a machine/equipment. In fact, precision levelling, angle measurement and alignment tasks essentially involve simultaneous 2-dimentional planes rather than conventionally conducted as two independent single-axis orthogonal lines. Dual-axis concurent angles display and real-time continuous tracking of tilted-plane angular readings are required to guide field engineers in aligning precision object/machine to a required position speedily, accurately and effectively.
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 levels 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 at JIMTOS in Tokyo. In fact, field engineers and scientists are often constrained by using traditional spirit bubble levels or single-axis digital inclinometers to accomplish these basic leveling tasks one axis at a time with tedious trial-and-error iterations, because adjusting one axis of a plane's angular position would inevitably affect the other axis's angular position within this plane. In precision leveling, angle measurement, and alignment tasks essentially involve a plane or simultaneous two-dimensional (i.e. 2-axis), while conventional leveling tools/instruments are limited to single axis. Alternative used of highly precise laser angular interferometer are constrained with fragile structural construct, sensitive to vibrations or shocks, cumbersome set up process, thus unsuitable to operate in open fields or hostile application environments. Digi-Pas® technology and innovation have empowered many engineers by eradicating constraints associated with using single-axis level/instruments. Further, at higher precision and a wider range of angular measurements, conventional single-axis inclinometers becomes susceptible to compounding errors & cross-axis errors. Digi-Pas® 2-axis ultra-precision inclinometer embedded with advanced MEMS and proprietary algorithm compensation process technologies effectively prevents cross-axis error and simultaneously displays tilted-plane surface angles with greater accuracy. In 2014 Digi-Pas further pioneered the industry by first introducing Digi-Pas Machinist Level Mobile App to wirelessly linking smartphone/tablets with leveling instruments providing greatest convinience and fast with high-quality leveling tasks at 28th CONTROL – International Trade Fair (Stuttgart, Germany).
In 2014, we launched eGeeTouch® NFC smart locking device that utilizes state-of-art proximity access and remote-authorization security technologies and it was the world's first of its kind, which subsequently receiving numerous Innovation Awards from Japan and USA. These patented (on 2010 and granted by USPTO on 2016) smart locks effectively resolve disadvantages associated with conventional keyed/digit-wheel-dial locks, providing enhanced security as well as hassle-free experience (zero risks to key-bumping & key-picking) to users. The novel innovation of eGeeTouch® smart locks wirelessly link to the internet via smart devices to the Cloud-computing infrastructure, deploying highly secured technology via smart devices such as smartphones, smart tags etc., validated us as the world pioneer in introducing Internet of Things (IoT) into security locks and travel luggage industries by prestigious world's largest Consumer Electronic Association (CEA) at 2014 CES Unveiled New York. eGeeTouch® smart padlock tracks, WHO, WHEN & WHERE an access was made providing an audit trail (audit log - a security relevant chronological record), containing documentary evidence of the sequence of access history which is a highly useful new feature unmatched by any conventional keyed and combination-dialed padlock.
Digi-Pas® continues to collaborate with world-leading metrology laboratories and our product's ACCURACY performance to specification has been verified utilizing ISO/IEC 17025:2005 and/or ANSI/NCSL Z540 standard(s) by accredited 3rd party independent certification bodies in USA, Japan, Germany and UK traceable to NIST, JIS, DIN & UKAS. In over 20 years, we have attained over 40 Intellectual Property (IP) rights (incl. patents and trademarks) in U.S, Japan, Europe, China and many other countries in the world. Our product development roadmaps have unveiled numerous world-first innovative new products in leading international trade shows.
For over two decades, 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 Transformative Innovation creating radically new products that seek to replace their respective conventional counterparts/products and in collaboration with numerous world-leading research institutes have successfully developed and turned cutting-edge research findings into world-leading innovative new products.
Single-axis inclinometer is also susceptible to cross-axis error particularly when measuring at larger angles and at higher precision. In fact, 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 semiconductor MEMS technology, with NO-moving part thus no wear-and-tear, provides simultaneous 2-axis and wide angle measuring range capabilities unmatched by those traditional single-axis 'bubble' levels, pendulum, optical or servo-based electronic inclinometers.
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 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.
Digi-Pas® DWL5000XY tilt-sensor module survived over 3,000g to 6,000g Shock/Impact Test in both X&Y directions thus makes it possible to be integrated in equipment/structures for high shock/impact applications, particularly in hostile environments inoperable by conventional pendulum, optical (e.g. laser interferometer) or servo-driven tilt sensors. There is no moving parts inside the sensor module.
The contact base surface finish quality of a typical conventional leveling instrument or inclinometer is one of the critical determinants of accuracy performance and common rectangular-shape flat surface often suffer from geometrical deviation resulting from:
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.
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
Often, dents are easily generated on smooth metal base area of an instrument 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.
On the other hand, dents formed at the both ends of the instrument may not necessarily 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Granite table & angular instrument - JAPAN & USA
The quality of Digi-Pas® products are calibrated for level (zero datum at 0.1 arcsec. or 0.00002°) and plumb (90.000°) & tested for high precision and accuracy to conform to product technical specification traceable to NIS, JIS, UKAS & DIN. These calibration and tests results were further verified by accredited 3rd party independent certification bodies in USA, Japan, Germany and UK with laboratories conforming to ISO/IEC 17025:2005 and/or ANSI/NCSL Z540 standard(s).
Moore Nanotechnology Systems NanoTech 350FG - USA
Angular resolution of 0.03 arcsec and accuracy for < 0.2 arcsec were tested for Digi-Pas® product specification conformance. Sensor non-linearity characteristics such as cross-axis error and hysteresis behaviours could be verified for full 360° with great confidence.
High Precision Granite Straight Edge & Bridge-type Straight Edge - Germany
Digi-Pas® 2-axix Ultra-high Precision Inclinometers with resolution of 0.2 arcsec. (1.0µm/m) are calibrated, tested and laterally compared against using these 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.
Labwork inc. Servo Vibration Generator - USA
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.
Mitutoyo Quick Vision Systems - JAPAN
Very high magnification resolution of 1000X vision imaging system is used for Quality Assurance & product specification conformance on structural dimentional accuracy during manufacturing and testing.
Length & flatness dimensional measurement resolution is 0.1 µm and measurement accuracy is (1.5 + 3L/1000) µm where L is the measurement length.
Nikon High Precision Metallurgical Measuring Microscope - JAPAN
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 matrial surface unifomity or Cracks & Failure Analysis.
Humidity & Temperature Chamber - JAPAN
Digi-Pas® product area calibrated and tested to reliably withstand operating in stringent environments. Each product is compensated and tested to operate in accordance to full operating temperature range.
Taibai Thermal Shock Chamber (TSE-10) - JAPAN
Digi-Pas® products are subject to accelerated temperature test for reliability and performance conformity to specification utilizing Taibai Thermal Shock Chamber.
Tektronix DSA8200 & Agilent HP 81130A - USA
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.
Agilent ESA-E Spectrum Analyzer - USA
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.