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New software turns image analysis from art to science

Autotype International : 01 August, 2007  (New Product)
MacDermid Autotype, the leading manufacturer of advanced films and chemicals for the screen printing industry, has launched a software package, designed to make it quick and simple for printers to assess and improve the quality of printed images. Called Image Analyser, the new software package has been developed to run on a standard Windows based PC and, for the first time, makes it possible for printers to measure cost effectively the quality of screen printed text and graphics.
There are several analyser packages in the market; mostly are highly complex and can also be quite expensive. What is new is the fact that MacDermid Autotype is making such a powerful program accessible and available free of charge to its customers and therefore to the industry. This reflects the company's mission to bring good science to printing, in order to help its customers thrive in a competitive environment by ensuring they get the quality they require.

It is generally common practice for screen printers to assess print quality visually or by the use of instruments such as profilometers and microscopes. Although these are important tools for controlling different stages in the printing process they do not directly measure the quality of the finished image or produce results that can easily be captured or repeated in a scientifically proven manner.

By comparison the new Image Analyser software uses a standard USB connected microscope to magnify and assess the most important areas of each screen printed job, with the output being captured by the software for subsequent analysis and even output to a spreadsheet for further statistical work. This is carried out in real time and the results stored for use in quality control documentation. In addition, the new software incorporates an innovative voice help menu, with short pre-recorded voice descriptions and screen shots of all common help topics, making it even easier for new users to apply the system and interpret the results.

The captured data is analysed in a number of ways, using a range of measuring modes based on standard geometric shapes, including line, rectangle, ellipse and so on. Each mode offers the ability to measure specific criteria; for example, angle mode allows the user to measure the angle between two lines, while the polygon mode provides an analysis of area, perimeter, ellipticity and angle of any polygonal shape.

Similarly, the thresholding feature allows both the image and non-image areas to be measured, providing a reading that can be used in porosity, pearlite/ferrite, defect percentage and other standard analyses.

Throughout, the objective of the new Image Analyser software is to help screen printers develop a working methodology that is straightforward, effective and empirical. Prof. Steven Abbott, Research Director, MacDermid Autotype, explains, “Our goal is to eliminate the confusion and variables that are normally associated with printing, turning what has previously been something of a black art into a scientific, consistent and repeatable process”.

The Image Analyser software is designed to be easily calibrated using a special slide supplied and can be downloaded on a 30 day trial basis from the MacDermid Autotype web site.
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