Computer vision scanner for diamond production

January 7, 2020

For a system provider active in the diamond industry, APIXA developed a dedicated computer vision solution that supports the slicing process of synthetic diamonds. In a production batch of synthetic diamonds, one item is set aside to be laser cut into thin slices. In a subsequent production, each of the slices serves as the starting point for a new batch of lab-grown diamonds. Synthetic diamonds, which are manufactured, are in contrast with natural diamonds, which are created by geological processes and extracted by mining.

Metrology-grade diamond hull imaging

APIXA's computer vision solution consists of dedicated hardware, to accurately capture the 3D shape of a particular synthetic diamond, and specific software, which allows for efficiently defining the optimal planning for the slicing process.

The hardware is set up around the diamond, which rotational position is indexed to capture still silhouette images from all around. A camera captures the diamond from one side, while being illuminated by a backlight positioned at the opposite side. Both the dedicated backlight and the high-resolution camera are telecentric in order to obtain metrology-grade imaging. From these images, distance measurements can be deduced with a precision of 5 micron.

Diamond scanner - Hardware set-up

Optimizing and automating the slicing process

On the software side, a 3D diamond surface model is reconstructed on the basis of the acquired 2D images using a convex hull algorithm. The software interface displays the diamond hull in an interactive manner, which allows operators to flexibly define the optimal location and orientation of the first and last slice. Based on that information, the software interface automatically defines all slices in between.

Diamond scanner - Software user interface

The intelligence related to the applied high-tech laser cutting technology has been incorporated into the software. This prevents excessive heath accumulation and other undesired phenomena which may potentially damage the structure of the slices during the cutting process. In conclusion, the software developed by APIXA maximizes the size and quality of the slices and minimizes the risk of causing diamond damage.

Altogether, the computer vision solution of APIXA optimizes and automates the planning process for laser slicing a synthetic diamond to initiate new lab-grown diamond production. It ensures a more efficient and higher quality slicing process of economically valuable synthetic diamonds, which are ultimately used in various types of industrial tools.

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