Thursday, February 28, 2013

Vision Engineering Mantis Elite Stereo Microscopes: A Myriad of Magnification Options for Precision Tasks

We continue our look at Vision Engineering's Mantis line with a focus on the Mantis Elite (see our previous look at the Mantis Compact model). The Mantis Elite Stereo Microscope is a high performance viewer created for a number of precision tasks requiring magnification.

Ergonomic & Optical Advantages

As with the Mantis Compact, Vision Engineering's Mantis Elite model also features their patented eyepieceless technology designed to promote enhanced head movement for the operator and the ability to wear glasses, if needed. And boasting magnification options up to 20x, the Elite can offer long working distances and large depths of field (please refer to the Optical Data chart below). These features, along with its 3-D imaging, create an ergonomic advantage that reduces eyes fatigue and helps increase productivity.
Optical Data
Objective Lenses (Sold Separately) Working Distance Field of View
160 mm
57.0 mm
96 mm
34.0 mm
68 mm
23.0 mm
6x SLWD*
112 mm
20.0 mm
59 mm
17.0 mm
54 mm
13.5 mm
40 mm
8.8 mm
29 mm
6.5 mm
* Cannot be used together with 2x or 20x objective lens

Vision Engineering's innovations in the Mantis line come together in the Elite model to offer a high-performance stereo viewer that saves you money and boosts productivity. The Elite's combination of optical advances and ergonomic design features include:
  • A quick-change turret with 2x-20x magnification options will allow users to switch between low-magnification inspection and high-magnification fine-detail tasks
  • More than 10,000 hours of shadow-free viewing via true-color, LED illumination
  • Illumination data: Mantis Elite = 24 LEDs & 11,000 LUX, Substage (Bench Stand Only) = 13 LEDs & 1,200 - 4,000 LUX
  • Improved productivity and increased throughput via superior ergonomics
  • Superb hand-eye coordination makes inspection and manipulation tasks simpler
  • Long working distances and large depth-of-field for easy sample manipulation and rework
  • Small footprint
  • Multiple stand options

Mantis Elite Accessories & Packages

A number of accessories and packages, in addition to the Mantis Elite head unit, are available at We have a selection of objective lenses and stands (including a universal stand for flexible simplicity and a bench stand for applications requiring more stability) ready to add to the head unit. Also, as with the Mantis Compact model, Q Source has put together two Mantis Elite packages for our Web site (the MEH-001/MES-005US Mantis Elite Series Stereo Microscope Visual Inspection System w/Universal Stand and the MEH-001/MES-006US Mantis Elite Series Stereo Microscope Visual Inspection System w/Bench Stand). Please note that these packages do not include an objective lens.

Our Vision Engineering Mantis Elite Visual Inspection Stereo Microscope page has all the information you need to make a purchase or learn more about these high-tech viewers. You can also visit our main Mantis Stereo Microscopes page. For additional assistance, please contact us by email or phone at 800-966-6020.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Closer Look at CCI's Corstat Conductive Corrugated Material

Eliminating ESD from your manufacturing and handling processes is vital to creating a static-safe environment for workers and sensitive electronic devices. Conductive Containers Inc.'s (CCI) Corstat technology was created to help you meet this goal.

Corstat, first manufactured in 1978, has become an ESD solution for some of the biggest names in the Electronics, Defense, Automotive, Space, and Medical industries. Let's take a closer look at how this innovative technology addresses the challenges of ESD.

ESD Consistent Shielding
During the manufacturing process, a conductive shielding layer is applied to both sides of the Corstat corrugated paperboard material. This shielding layer is put-down at a 103 ohms to 104 ohms resistivity. CCI indicates that it is the combination of the shielding layers and the "air gap" locked between the layers that provides excellent ESD shielding that is better than industry standards. Materials that do not have the "air gap" will not perform as well. This is true of impregnated materials and solid conductive plastics. CCI believes it is much easier to control a product's ESD/electrical consistency during the coating process than it is by using loaded fiber materials to make ESD products.

Protective Sealer
After shielding layer is created, CCI also applies a proprietary sealing layer over the Corstat coatings. This is done with the aim of making Corstat the most effective conductive corrugated material available. This second coating accounts for several very important factors:
  • Controlled Discharge: Corstat raises the surface resistivity to 104 to 105 ohms to assure the material's surface will provide a slow enough drainage of static from a part that may have static build-up on it. This is done to protect delicate components from damage. The ESD standard for this function is 104 up to 1010 ohms.
  • Low Sulfur: This second coating also controls sulfur out-gassing. Regular brown corrugated paperboard is made using sulfur as a manufacturing agent, but sulfur residue can cause lead contamination and build up on sensitive parts and solder areas. According to CCI, their dissipative over coating controls/negates this affect and non-coated conductive corrugated does not offer this very important protection.
  • Clean Surface: Regular brown kraft or coated but "unsealed" conductive corrugated can generate particulates in the manufacturing environment. These Foreign Objects & Debris (FOD) are a major problem in the electronics industry. Corstat's protective layer provides the end user with what CCI calls the "cleanest conductive corrugated on the market."
  • Recyclable: Corstat is manufactured to be 100% Old Corrugated Containers (OCC) recyclable. OCC means that Corstat is the same as any brown box you might recycle at home. This is the largest family of recyclable corrugated items. The term "recyclable" can be misleading since it may simply mean that you can produce black roofing paper from it because you cannot remove the "black" color. The key is the OCC standard.
Physical Strength
CCI says that coated Corstat does not change the strength of the corrugated substrate, whereas other impregnated products might add enough carbon to the structure to weaken the physical properties of the corrugated material. Corstat is manufactured to provide stronger and longer lasting physical protection.

If you'd like to learn more about CCI's Corstat ESD packaging material line, or if you'd like to order a custom-designed ESD handling and shipping solution, please contact Q Source at 800-966-6020 or via email. Our helpful expert staff can help you find the best solution to meet your ESD protection needs.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Unitron 15854 LED Ring Light: Economic, Earth-Friendly Illumination for Stereo Microscopes

When viewing electronics, circuit boards, or highly reflective specimens with a stereo microscope, a quality LED ring light is a must. Unitron's LED Ring Light Illuminator for Stereo Microscopes (Model 15854) was created as an economic solution for users seeking to switch from the older fluorescent, fiber-optic, or halogen lights to a more earth-friendly LED light.

The Unitron 15854 LED Ring Light was manufactured to fit any stereo microscope with a diameter of 60 mm or less. While the 15854 model fits most currently manufactured stereo microscopes, it may need a special adapter to fit older models.

This ESD-safe and RoHS-compliant LED Ring Light Illuminator features sectional lighting control, which allows users to control the light from four individual sections. Other impressive specifications include:

  • Ten-step variable intensity light control with 72 LED bulbs
  • 60.5 mm inner diameter
  • 6400 Kelvin color temperature
  • 10,000-hour lamp life
  • AC900-265v 50/60Hz power supply
  • 12v 400mA output

The Unitron 15854 LED Ring Light Illuminator for Stereo Microscopes is available at, along with a variety of other quality Unitron Ring Lights. For questions and further information about these products, please contact Q Source at 800-966-6020 or by email.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Weller's WX Series Soldering Stations: Powerful Soldering, Intelligent Design

Our friends at Weller recently paid a visit to the Q Source headquarters. And, boy, did they ever bring us a couple of cool, new items to play with: The WX1 Single-Channel Soldering Station and the WX2 Two-Channel Soldering Station.

These two new ESD-safe soldering stations from Weller feature a variety of options, many of which were inspired by customer feedback. The main difference between the two is that the WX1 accepts one tool (e.g., a soldering iron) at a time, while the WX2 accepts two tools (soldering irons, tweezers, etc.). Each model has identical temperature range (adjustable temperature range varies among tools (100°C – 450° C | 200° F – 850° F)), temperature accuracy (+/- 9° C (+/- 17° F)), and temperature stability (+/- 6° C (+/- 10° F)).

Looking at these units, you immediately notice the solid, German-built craftsmanship and that trademark Weller blue color. Turning these stations on reveals a pleasant, blue LED back-lit touchscreen (made of anti-static, chemical- and temperature-resistant glass) with LCD text, which is viewable from all angles. The units are easily controlled by six touch keys and the radius finger guide that provides turn-and-click navigation. Tool temperatures are quickly and easily selected via these touch buttons and dial-like radius control.

A closer look at the screen reveals a slew of important information including which tool is plugged into the unit, what the current temperature setting is, and what preset temperature options are available. The WX2 unit is similar, except it displays information for both attached tools.

The front of the soldering station features a convenient layout of three ports (four on the WX2). First there is/are the tool receptacle(s) with quick-change connectors for attaching soldering irons, tweezers, etc. Next, we have the RJ45 port (a second one is on the back of the unit) to manage fume extractors, heating plates, etc. And, finally, a new feature is a multi-purpose USB port for quick firmware updates, data logging, and parameter configuration.

Weller's goal with these stations is to keep the cost of ownership down by helping you conserve energy and providing a system that features intelligent power management (such as the WX-Series handpieces that automatically detect movement and wake the base unit from the user-programmable sleep mode). Along with powerful soldering and an extensive degree of tool compatibility, the WX Series Stations boast the following features and benefits:
  • 200/240W Total Power – The WX1 supports operation of one 200W tool; the WX2 supports simultaneous operation of two 120W tools
  • Global Language Support – Display multiple languages via the menu
  • Automatic Energy Saving Mode – On most models, the user can select a stand-by mode through visual process control via blue LED light ring (light on = heater on, light off = heater off)
  • Increased Accuracy –The pencil’s digital sensor is optimized at short range for peak performance
  • Programmable Read and Write Memory – Allows for quick tool exchange and soldering station adjustments are reduced