Optical Measuring Methods

Non-contact measuring and non-destructive testing by utilising optical measuring methods.

State-of-the-art measurement techniques such as Digital Image Correlatin (DIC), trigonometry, focus variation or confocal microscopy, laser interferometry or white-light interferometry (WLI), high-speed digital video or also thermography enable what is hidden from the human eye to be made visible and numerically measureable. The results, which can be obtained with optical measuring technology, contribute to a significant gain in knowledge for a multitude of different examinations.

The capabilities available with the optical-based and/or camera-based measuring and analysis methods create a wide range of possible applications:

  • Traceable calibrated measurement of 2D and 3D objects
  • Standard-compliant determination of surface roughness (also on 3D curved surfaces)
  • Monitoring the most varied structures by utilising visualisation for deformations, displacements and strains while subjected to static and dynamic load cases
  • Measuring temperature distributions and detection of local load peaks by utilising thermography
  • Long-term recording of high-frequency vibration modes

Our portfolio


Medical Devices

In the approval and development of medical devices, we support in particular with strength and wear tests of joint endoprostheses, osteosynthesis products, traumatology products, surgical instruments and skin adhesives according to standard or special test

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At our testing and development center, we test all rail vehicle components and materials for strength and service life. In terms of product and operational safety as well as quality assurance, we bundle the forces of testing and test design in our company with measurement, calculation, simulation and proof of strength as well as construction.

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Whether it's for life-time certification or certification of the aircraft component, IMA engineers test, simulate, or calculate any design group of an aircraft, such as aircraft, for reliable results. B. hull works, structures, tail units, trolleys and engines and interior components.

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Powerful for every vehicle type - our strength tests, approval tests or development tests are proven to be reliable for testing the operational strength and service life of automotive components, media-conducting systems, electrical components and materials.

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Whether for quality assurance, damage analysis or for research and development - in our accredited materialography laboratories we take a close look at both metallic and non-metallic materials of different composition with qualitative and quantitative characterization methods. This also includes the sample preparation procedures and the analysis, evaluation and documentation of the microscopic examination results.

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Damage analysis

Determining causes and effects experimentally - we assess damage cases and thus support the cause clarification. Our experienced engineers help you to investigate undesirable damage phenomena in detail - for example, by materialography, acoustic damage detection or non-destructive testing methods.

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Material Testing for Plastics and Composite Materials

From the base material through the manufacturing technology to the approval of the finished product - our material tests are DAkkS and NADCAP accredited. This includes static, cyclic and dynamic tests as well as static long-term tests, including sample production.

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Materials Testing Metals

Our material specialists accompany you in the implementation of your test programs as well as standardization, approval and certification of materials or manufacturing processes. We stand by your side during the entire test procedure, from the consultation, test planning and sample production, over the test itself up to the finished test report.

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Non-destructive testing

We use numerous non-destructive testing methods to investigate the damage during component tests, in the investigation of damage cases, as a tool of quality control and especially for maintenance and repair. Qualified according to ISO 9712 and EN 4179 standards, we carry out testing and inspection activities for almost all sectors, including aviation.

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All the technologies, which are available, can be applied as standard-compliant individual inspections or tests or supportive and/or supplementary analysis methods during performing a wide variety of inspection or test scenarios. These systems can be selected for utilisation either in the laboratories of IMA Dresden, as partial systems or also mobile at your preferred location.

Our engineers will always be pleased to develop an inspection or test concept which is specifically customised to your requirements which will, of course, always incorporate our many years of know-how with optical measuring methods. Just one example for this is that, more than 20 years ago, IMA Dresden was the first German industrial company to utilise the DIC ARAMIS system relating to optical in-situ strain measurement on aircraft structures in a test environment.

Application possibilities for optical [measurement] / [test] methods [at IMA Dresden]

  • Non-destructive and non-contact measuring
  • Measuring geometric dimensional accuracy on 2D and 3D objects
  • Geometrically referenced measuring – planar and stereoscopic up to 360° circumferentially
  • Area, surfaces, volume and local resolution selectable according to requirements
  • Test frequencies of up to 2 kHz for long-term measurements (life time, fatigue, creep)
  • Displacements and deformations with 6DoF, elongations
  • Vibration shape analysis and frequency analysis for rotating and oscillating test parts
  • Standard-compliant determination of digital 3D shapes, contours, dimensions, roughness specifications
  • Comparison with and/or transfer of data records generated from/to CAD and FEM to enable reverse engineering utilising standardised data interfaces


  • 3D optical measuring and digital image correlation with ARAMIS 12M
  • Trigonometry and measurement point acquisition with TRITOP, theodolite or laser tracker
  • Measurements and documentation by utilising digital video and high-speed cameras up to 10 kHz
  • Large scale 3D surveys and reverse engineering by means of laser tracker scanning
  • Microscopic 3D surface finish analysis and roughness determination according to standard

Areas of application 

  • Materials: Plastic materials and composite materials, metals
  • Materialography, material coefficients
  • Strains, elongations, fields, inhomogeneities
  • Fatigue, failure, crack propagation
  • Vibrations, natural frequencies

Application fields according to industries

  • Aerospace: Fuselage elements, shell, tail units, landing gear, interior, assemblies
  • Railway: Carriage bodywork, bogies, wheelsets, traction units, interior, assemblies, rail systems
  • Automotive: Vehicle structures, chassis, powertrain, assemblies
  • Transport / Construction machinery: Load-bearing structures, undercarriages, transmissions, lever systems, large components, drive units, power transmission, assemblies
  • Medical products: Implants, prostheses, movement processes, OP tools, orthopaedic auxiliary aids