Nikon’s MCT225 Brings CT Clarity to Tamron’s Lens Analysis

The decision to choose Nikon’s MCT225 has been a triumph for Tamron. Since its implementation, the system has been widely adopted across various divisions within the company, with more than 100 employees now proficient in its operation. This widespread adoption underscores the transformative impact the MCT225 has had on Tamron’s workflows and processes.

“Initially, we mainly used the equipment for imaging lens units and molded products used in the development division for evaluation purposes. But soon we started receiving inquiries from other divisions, and the use within the company quickly increased,” says the company spokesperson.

Nikon’s MCT225 also makes it possible to check the inside of the product to see previously undetected voids.

In 2017, Tamron added another license for VGSTUDIO MAX; in 2019, the company introduced a PolyWorks unit for helical scanning and manufacturing division use.

The insights gained from these evaluations were then fed back into the flow analysis results, enabling Tamron to continuously improve the accuracy of its analysis processes.

Tamron has a history spanning seven decades. It was established in 1950 under the name Taisei Optical Equipment Manufacturing and initially provided technology for polishing lenses for cameras and binoculars.

Nikon’s proposal enabled Tamron to overcome challenges in evaluating molded products to improve flow analysis accuracy.

MCT225 workshops train more than 100 Tamron employees

In April 2014, Tamron adopted Nikon’s MCT225 X-ray CT metrology system, along with two reconditioned computers. This initial setup allowed Tamron to image and evaluate the quality of plastic molded parts and critical mechanical components of its lens units. Tamron could assess the finished product quality by comparing the design specifications with the actual measurements obtained through CT imaging using VGSTUDIO MAX software.

Operators can receive two 90-minute sessions to learn how to make full use of Nikon’s MCT225.

“Compared to other products, the MCT225 was very reasonably priced for its performance,” says Tamron’s spokesperson. “Also, the physical distance to the support location from our company was short, which gave us a sense of security in organizational terms. Not only was the product appealing, but the salesperson’s personality was also a key deciding factor. Ultimately, choosing Nikon has led to success.”

“In 2021, Nikon and Volume Graphics jointly provided consulting support for a measurement man-hours reduction project in the manufacturing division using the MCT225 macro function and VGSTUDIO MAX’s geometry correction, and for CAE implementation using assembly imaging data, achieving certain results in each case,” says Tamron’s spokesperson. “This was a major deciding factor for introducing the second unit.”

About 2021, Tamron’s manufacturing division began using PolyWorks, a 3D measurement software, to measure molded products. The following year, in 2022, it further expanded its capabilities by leveraging the geometry correction function of VGSTUDIO MAX to correct molds.

It has been a decade since Tamron acquired its first MCT225 system, a milestone that marked the beginning of a transformative journey. This system has played a pivotal role in supporting the company’s technological development: Tamron even incorporated them into visitor tours to demonstrate its innovative approach to manufacturing and quality control.

Tamron faced challenges in accurately analyzing the deformation of plastic molded lens components. Nikon’s MCT225 system solved this by enabling the company to create 3D models from CT scans that can be directly compared to CAD models and analysis results using VGSTUDIO MAX software.

Over time, the MCT225 system proved invaluable, leading Tamron to expand its capabilities in October 2023 by adding a second MCT225 unit and an additional reconditioned computer.

First published on Nikon’s website.


CT image of an interchangeable lens produced by Tamron. Even after completion, the interior can be evaluated without contact.

“In 2023, thanks also to Nikon’s consulting, we received the President’s Award for the second time for achieving accuracy improvement and man-hour reduction through CT utilization and automatic correction software creation in the manufacturing division.”

How the fibers flow into the mold is an important point in the molding process. By converting CT scan data into data, even the delicate orientation of fibers can be analyzed.

This brought in a wave of benefits, eliminated the need for aligning multiple measurement points, and enabled the observation of fiber orientation in Tamron’s fiber-reinforced plastics, a crucial development that improved analysis accuracy.

Focusing and zooming an interchangeable lens, the lens elements move back and forth while the focus and zoom rings rotate. A “cam groove” mechanism converts this rotational motion into linear motion. By combining scan data and CAD models, even complex cam groove mechanisms can be evaluated comprehensively.

Over the years, Tamron evolved into a comprehensive optical equipment manufacturer, operating a globally integrated business structure encompassing research and development, planning, design, production, sales, and support. Its product range grew to include branded interchangeable lenses for digital SLR cameras catering to general consumers, OEM products, and optical components serving various industrial fields.

MCT225 provides insights into finished product quality

As its expertise grew, Tamron ventured into manufacturing interchangeable lenses for SLR cameras. It registered its trademark brand in 1958, and officially changed its name to Tamron in 1970.

Users can compare the CT scan model with the CAD model. Shape distortion can be clearly identified by color.

The MCT225 system is now widely used by divisions within Tamron for assembly evaluation and detecting defects in molded components. Since June 2017, MCT225 workshops have trained employees across several divisions to master its operation.

While Nikon’s MCT225’s advanced technology and capabilities were undoubtedly compelling factors, Tamron’s decision to adopt the system was also influenced by practical and budgetary considerations.

Tamron also adopted techniques to reduce artifacts, a type of imaging noise, by using metal filters during imaging.

Nikon’s technologies prove popular across Tamron

Nikon’s X-ray computed tomography (CT) technology has enabled digital camera lens heavyweight Tamron to gain unprecedented insights into the intricacies of its industry-leading components.

These cutting-edge tools and software have found widespread application across multiple divisions within the company. Research and development, product design, mold manufacturing, and quality assurance divisions have all incorporated these technologies into their workflows, a testament to Tamron’s commitment to technological development.

By scanning the cam groove mechanism and converting it into data, users can check it using a two-dimensional image that also makes it easier to detect voids.

“Before adopting the MCT225, we were searching for a way to three-dimensionally evaluate the deformation of plastic molded parts, which are mechanical components of lens units, in a manner similar to flow analysis,” says Tamron’s spokesperson. “To reduce the number of corrections to the molds, it was necessary to improve the predictive accuracy of flow analysis, but the results from point measurements with contact measurement devices and three-dimensional analysis were not very compatible.”

Headquartered in Saitama, Japan, Tamron has continuously pursued advanced optical technology, combining creativity and technical strength to develop and provide high-quality products trusted by users worldwide.

“Our accomplishments in improving operational efficiency were recognized, and in 2018, the research and development division received the President’s Award for operational efficiency improvement through the development of CT scanner utilization techniques,” says Tamron’s spokesperson.

“We find both the system and the software of MCT225 very user friendly,” says Tamron’s spokesperson. “The response to helping us with regular maintenance or troubleshooting has always been quick. I also feel reassured by having the option to hire Nikon’s measurement room when the system cannot be used for a certain period of time, such as during maintenance or in case of an urgent problem.”

To accurately evaluate the deformation of plastic molded parts, Tamron created 3D models through CT scans. It compared these 3D models to CAD and 3D analysis results using VGSTUDIO MAX software. This approach eliminated the need to measure multiple points and align with contact measurement devices. Instead, directly comparing the actual item and analysis at the model level dramatically increased verification efficiency. Additionally, since Tamron uses filler-reinforced plastics, observing fiber orientation through CT scans enhanced analysis accuracy.

A close-up of a plastic container  Description automatically generated

Beyond evaluating finished product quality, the MCT225 systems also facilitated assessing variability in molded products, detecting voids and cracks, observing fiber orientation in reinforced plastics, investigating defects in assembly states, analyzing competitor products, and examining defects in electronic substrates.

A step motor rotates in fixed angular steps, like clock hands, driven by electrical signals. Precise screw pitch is crucial and is now easier to evaluate. Users can also inspect the magnet elements for cracks.

Marking the milestone of a decade with MCT225